T. ing. (Gb): The Girls He Left Behind; T. it.: Banana Split; Sog.: Nancy Wintner, George Root Jr., Tom Bridges; Scen.: Walter Bullock; F.: Edward Cronjager; Mo.: Ray Curtiss; Scgf.: James Basevi, Joseph C. Wright; Cost.: Yvonne Wood; Eff. Spec.: Fred Sersen; Canz.: Harry Warren (mu.), Leo Robin (testi); Mu.: David Raksin (per il balletto “Polka Dot”); Mus. Dir.: Alfred Newman, Charles Henderson; Coreografie: Busby Berkeley; Su.: George Leverett, Roger Heman; Int.: Alice Faye (Eadie Allen), Carmen Miranda (Dorita), Phil Baker (se stesso), Benny Goodman (se stesso), James Ellison (Sgt. Andy Mason), Eugene Pallette (Andrew “A.J.” Mason Sr.), Edward Everett Horton (Peyton Potter), Charlotte Greenwood (Blossom Potter); Prod.: William LeBaron per Twentieth Century Fox 35mm. D.: 103’. Col.
First released in late 1943, The Gang’s All Here, a visual candybox of Technicolor treats, first reemerged to dazzle audiences in the nostalgia boom of the early 1970s. One of a string of Hollywood “Good Neighbour Policy” musicals of the war years, this lavish Fox production boasted some of the most popular stars of the period: honey-voiced singer Alice Faye, who crooned two immediate wartime standards for the GIs and the girls they left behind (“No Love, No Nothin’” and “A Journey to a Star”), and Brazilian bombshell Carmen Miranda, of the ever-outrageous costumes, millinery creations, and fractured English, while bobby-soxers could jive to some swinging numbers by Benny Goodman and his Orchestra (“Minnie’s in the Money”; “Paducah”). Camera-boom-riding choreographic genius Busby Berkeley was given full rein to weave his magic in full 3-strip Technicolor for the first time, and he pulled out all the stops. The film contains two of his most spectacular, surreal production numbers: the fabulous camp classic “The Lady in the Tutti-Frutti Hat” (Carmen Miranda and chorus girls literally go bananas!), which for obvious reasons set censors in a spin, and the film’s epic kaleidoscopic finale, a triumph of special photographic effects, starting with the “Polka Dot” ballet, a Dalíesque bolero of leotarded chorus girls, neon hoops, and coloured discs, which segues into a final rendition of “A Journey to a Star” in which all the film’s principals get to participate, even gravel-voiced character-actor Eugene Pallette. All of which will leave you stunned.
Catherine A. Surowiec