Hollywood Canteen (1944) Online
Two soldiers on sick leave spend three nights at the Hollywood Canteen before going back to active duty. With a little friendly help from John Garfield, Slim gets to kiss Joan Leslie, whom he has been dreaming about while in the Pacific. He meets her later at the Farmer's Market. On the third night, Slim is the millionth man into the Canteen, earning him a date with Joan. Slim thinks he's been duped when she doesn't show up at his train. Slim's buddy Sergant dances with Joan Crawford. Canteen President Bette Davis praises the canteen and the war effort. Virtually everyone Warners could spare entertains.
|Cast overview, first billed only:|
|The Andrews Sisters||-||The Andrews Sisters (as Andrews Sisters)|
|Jack Benny||-||Jack Benny|
|Joe E. Brown||-||Joe E. Brown|
|Eddie Cantor||-||Eddie Cantor|
|Kitty Carlisle||-||Kitty Carlisle|
|Jack Carson||-||Jack Carson|
|Dane Clark||-||Sgt. Nowland|
|Joan Crawford||-||Joan Crawford|
|Helmut Dantine||-||Helmut Dantine|
|Bette Davis||-||Bette Davis|
|Faye Emerson||-||Faye Emerson|
|Victor Francen||-||Victor Francen|
|John Garfield||-||John Garfield|
|Sydney Greenstreet||-||Sydney Greenstreet|
|Alan Hale||-||Alan Hale|
Joan Crawford, so the myth goes, found out that Bette Davis and Barbara Stanwyck were slated to be in the film as well; she reportedly asked about the billing. After being told it was alphabetical, she realized that "C" came before "D" or "S", and agreed to do the film.
Originally conceived by Warner Bros. as a multi-studio (like the actual Hollywood Canteen) WWII effort with rival studios (Fox, Paramount, MGM, etc.) contributing cameo appearances by its stars. But when other studios balked at having performers appear (even though profits were reportedly earmarked for war effort), Warner turned it into a single-studio affair.
In the first scene, on New Guinea, when the soldiers assemble for mail call, the first name called is "Chris Nyby". Christian Nyby was the film editor of the picture.
Ann Sheridan was supposed to have the female lead in this movie. However, Sheridan declined the role feeling the script was too unrealistic.
The first film appearance by Joan Crawford since she bought her way out of her MGM contract in 1942.
Other than her big dance number here, Joan McCracken (who was in the original cast of Broadway's Oklahoma) was only featured prominently in one other major movie: She was the lead dancer in the soda fountain musical number in 1947's Good News.
Cole Porter's genial, "unsophisticated" cowboy song, "Don't Fence Me In," via the Decca recording by Bing Crosby (who did not appear in the picture) and The Andrews Sisters, reigned as the number-one "Billboard" single for eight weeks, between December 23, 1944 and February 10, 1945.
Bette Davis and John Gar field are credited with being among of the "founders" of the actual Hollywood Canteen, organizing the entire concept into one of the highlights of many an enlisted man's memory of serving in World War Il. They also played a major role in recruiting movie stars, musical artists and celebrities of every kind to entertain the troops, dance with them, and even staff the Canteen, serving as waitresses, bus boys and dishwashers.
The striped dress worn here by Janis Page when she dances with Dane Clark was later seen on Doris Day in 1949's It's a Great Feeling, during the scene where Day masquerades as a French starlet newly signed by Warner Brothers.
This film was part of Warner Brothers' efforts to turn contract player Dane Clark into a top tier star. Although he would later co-star with Bette Davis in A Stolen Life, and got first billing in a handful of Warner B movies, Clark never quite achieved stardom, but did amass over 150 credits (many of them guest gigs on TV shows of the 50s and 60s) during his four decade career.
The Mocambo (visited by Joan Leslie and Robert Hutton) was an actual club in West Hollywood that was very popular during the 40's and 50's. The club opened in 1941 and was an immediate success. In the film, Slim and Joan Leslie bump into Eleanor Parker and Helmut Dantine outside the club, which was an accurate depiction of the Mocambo's clientele. The club was frequented by numerous film stars and celebrities, including such names as Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, Errol Flynn, Charlie Chaplin, Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardner, Tyrone Power, Judy Garland, Bob Hope, John Wayne, James Cagney, Louis B. Meyer, and Howard Hughes. The Mocambo closed its doors on June 30th, 1958.