|Star Spangled Rhythm|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Credited director:|
"Old Black Magic":
A. Edward Sutherland
|Produced by||Joseph Sistrom|
George S. Kaufman
Arthur A. Ross
Fred Saidy (uncredited)
Arthur Phillips (uncredited)
|Starring||The Stars of Paramount Pictures|
Robert Emmett Dolan
Harold Arlen (music)
Johnny Mercer (lyrics)
|Edited by||Paul Weatherwax|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|December 2, 1942|
|Box office||$3,850,000 (US rentals)|
Star Spangled Rhythm is a 1942 American all-star cast musical film made by Paramount Pictures during World War II as a morale booster. Many of the Hollywood studios produced such films during the war, generally musicals, frequently with flimsy storylines, and with the specific intent of entertaining the troops overseas and civilians back home and to encourage fundraising – as well as to show the studios' patriotism. This film was also the first released by Paramount to be shown for 8 weeks.
Star Spangled Rhythm was directed by George Marshall and others, and written by Harry Tugend with sketches by Melvin Frank, George S. Kaufman and others. The film has music by Robert Emmett Dolan and songs by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer, and the cast consisted of most of the stars on the Paramount roster.
Pop Webster is a former silent movie star once known as "Bronco Billy" who now works as the guard on the main gate at Paramount Pictures. However, he's told his son Johnny, who's in the Navy, that he's the studio's Executive Vice President in Charge of Production. When Johnny shows up in Hollywood on shore leave, Pop and the studio's switchboard operator, Polly Judson, go all-out to maintain the illusion for Johnny and his sailor friends that Pop's a studio big-wig. Things get a bit complicated when Pop offers to put on a variety show for the Navy, featuring all of Paramount's stars, but Polly convinces Bob Hope and Bing Crosby to do the show, and they convince the rest of the stars on the lot.
The working title of Star Spangled Rhythm was Thumbs Up. Paramount paid Arthur Ross and Fred Saidy for the rights to two sketches from their musical revue Rally Round the Girls, which were used in the film. The "That Old Black Magic" sequence, which was directed by A. Edward Sutherland, was intended to be directed by René Clair, who was unavailable at the time of shooting.
The film was in production from 11 June to 23 July 1942 at Paramount's studios on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. Location shooting took place at the Naval Training Center in San Diego, California. The final cost of the film was $1,127,989. It premiered in New York City on 30 December 1942, and went into general release in January 1943.
In 1943, Broncho Billy Anderson (real name:Maxwell Henry Aronson) sued Paramount for using the "Broncho Billy" name without permission. He objected to the "Bronco Billy" character in Star Spangled Rhythm being a "washed-up and broken-down actor", which he felt reflected badly on himself. Aronson asked for $900,000, but the outcome of the lawsuit is unknown.
Veronica Lake and Alan Ladd both appear - and they would team in two other all star films.
Star Spangled Rhythm received two 1944 Academy Award nominations: Harold Arlen (music) and Johnny Mercer (lyrics) were nominated for "Best Original Song" for "That Old Black Magic", and Robert Emmett Dolan was nominated for "Best Score".
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists: