|Follow the Boys|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||A. Edward Sutherland|
|Produced by||Charles K. Feldman|
|Written by||Lou Breslow|
|Music by||Fred E. Ahlert|
|Edited by||Fred R. Feitshans Jr.|
Chas. K. Feldman Group Productions
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$2 million|
Follow the Boys also known as Three Cheers for the Boys is a 1944 musical film made by Universal Pictures during World War II as an all-star cast morale booster to entertain the troops abroad and the civilians at home. The film was directed by A. Edward "Eddie" Sutherland and produced by Charles K. Feldman. The movie stars George Raft and Vera Zorina and features Grace McDonald, Charles Grapewin, Regis Toomey and George Macready.
Making appearances are Walter Abel, Carmen Amaya, The Andrews Sisters, Evelyn Ankers, Louise Beavers, Noah Beery Jr., Turhan Bey, Steve Brodie, Nigel Bruce, Lon Chaney Jr., the Delta Rhythm Boys, Andy Devine, Marlene Dietrich, W. C. Fields, Susanna Foster, Thomas Gomez, Louis Jordan and His Orchestra, Ted Lewis and His Band, Jeanette MacDonald, Maria Montez,Clarence Muse, Donald O'Connor, Slapsie Maxie Rosenbloom, Arthur Rubinstein, Peggy Ryan, Randolph Scott, Dinah Shore, Freddie Slack and His Orchestra, Gale Sondergaard, Sophie Tucker, Orson Welles, among many others.
Tony West performs on vaudeville in a group with his father Nick and sister Kitty, The decline of vaudeville forces the group to split up and Tony goes to Hollywood to try to make it in movies. He works at Universal Pictures, where he becomes screen partners with, and then the husband of, star Gloria Vance.
When World War Two breaks out, Tony tries to enlist but is refused because of his knee. Tony finds himself organising the Hollywood Victory Committee (H.V.C.), a consortium of motion picture, theatrical and radio personalities dedicated to help the war effort.
He puts on a show that includes performances from Donald O'Connor and Jeannette MacDonald.
Tony and Gloria have a big fight and she doesn't tell him that she is pregnant. Tony organizes another show, where Orson Welles performs magic tricks including sawing Marlene Dietrich in half.
Raft goes overseas. Tony is killed during an attack by a Japanese submarine and Gloria takes Tony's place entertaining the troops.
The film was announced in June 1943. It was produced by Charles K. Feldman and was inspired by the success of Stage Door Canteen at Warner Bros. The original title was Three Cheers for the Boys. George Raft signed in July 1943.
It was WC Fields' first movie since 1941. He performs an old pool playing job he first developed in vaudeville in 1903.
The movie features a speech at the end about "soldiers in greasepaint", a tribute to those who entertained the troops during World War Two. It features an "honor roll" which lists those entertainers who died in the war, including Carole Lombard, Leslie Howard, Roy Rognan, Tamara, Charles King and Bob Ripa.
The New York Times called a "sentimental tribute... cheap screen entertainment - and hardly a tribute to the players it presents."
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists: