Best Foot Forward

Best Foot Forward

Director: Edward N. Buzzell, Lucille Ball, Tommy Dix, William Gaxton

Cast: Edward N. Buzzell, Lucille Ball, Tommy Dix, William Gaxton

     
 

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Five original cast members of the hit Broadway musical Best Foot Forward appear in this Technicolor MGM screen adaptation. Set at a small town military prep school, the story gets under way when movie star Lucille Ball (played by movie star Lucille Ball) pays a visit to the campus for publicity purposes. Several of the students, led by Bud (Tommy Dix), offer to

Overview

Five original cast members of the hit Broadway musical Best Foot Forward appear in this Technicolor MGM screen adaptation. Set at a small town military prep school, the story gets under way when movie star Lucille Ball (played by movie star Lucille Ball) pays a visit to the campus for publicity purposes. Several of the students, led by Bud (Tommy Dix), offer to make Lucille the queen of the upcoming prom. But the plot dictates that Bud and his pals are forced to back off from their offer, and to hide Lucille's presence from the faculty. Cast as a hoydenish blind date, Nancy Walker steals the show with her spirited rendition of "Buckle Down, Winsocki"; but of the five carryovers from the original Broadway production, only June Allyson went on to lasting film stardom. Enhancing the film's box-office appeal was MGM's decision to add Harry James and His Music Makers to the cast: James' performance of "The Two O'Clock Jump" is worth the admission price in itself.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
In 1943, two decades before musicals developed the elephantitis that eventually killed them off, studios could produce any number of minor "tuners" that pleased their intended audiences with small charms and then quickly faded from memory. Best Foot Forward belongs to this group. Titanically unambitious and utterly inconsequential, it is nonetheless a pleasant diversion. The story is classic sitcom material; unfortunately the dialogue is not snappy or witty enough and the characters are not original enough to carry the story to a higher level. The Hugh Martin-Ralph Blane score is considerably better, full of peppy, sprightly numbers, all-out rousers and winning ballads. (Interestingly, almost every song is a "list song," which tends to dull their impact a bit.) The cast is solid, with Lucille Ball deserving kudos for her knowing performance - and for allowing herself to be labeled "The Queen of the B Movies." A very young Nancy Walker is a standout, already displaying the comic timing and ease with a punchline that would serve her well later in her career. She pounces on "Alive and Kicking," and with June Allyson and Gloria DeHaven makes "The Three B's" a rollicking treat. The film's best musical moment, though, comes courtesy of Harry James and his band's rendition of "Two O'Clock Jump." Never reaching too far but never exceeding its reach, Best Foot Forward is the kind of film a viewer is always glad to come across on TV, even if he never goes out of his way to find it.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/07/2014
UPC:
0888574098667
Original Release:
1943
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Archives
Sales rank:
14,983

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Lucille Ball Herself
Tommy Dix Elwood/ Bud Hooper
William Gaxton Jack O'Riley
Nancy Walker Nancy
Virginia Weidler Helen Schlessenger
June Allyson Ethel
Gloria DeHaven Minerva Pierce
Chill Wills Chester Shoat
Kenny Bowers Dutch
Jack Jordan Hunk
Beverly Tyler Miss Delaware Water Gap
Henry O'Neill Maj. Reeber
Sara Haden Miss Talbert
Donald MacBride Capt. Bradd
Bobby Stebbins Greenie
Darwood Kaye Killer
Morris Ankrum Col. Harkrider
Nana Bryant Mrs. Dalyrimple
Robert E. O'Connor Railroad Conductor
Harry James Himself

Technical Credits
Edward N. Buzzell Director
George Bassman Score Composer
Irving Brecher Screenwriter
Edward C. Carfagno Art Director
Jack Dawn Makeup
Fred F. Finklehoffe Screenwriter
Arthur Freed Producer
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Mildred Griffiths Set Decoration/Design
Lennie Hayton Musical Direction/Supervision
Irene Costumes/Costume Designer
Blanche Sewell Editor
Leonard Smith Cinematographer
Gile Steele Costumes/Costume Designer
Charles Walters Choreography
Edwin B. Willis Set Decoration/Design

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