For those not familiar with our featured star, Betty Grable was a gorgeous blonde whose Technicolor musical comedies made tons of money for Twentieth Century Fox Studio in the 1940s and ’50s. Her shapely legs were the crowning glory that made Betty the definitive pin-up girl for many a World War II serviceman. The studio even had her legs insured at Lloyd’s of London for $1,000,000! And with the magic of home entertainment, Miss Grable’s films are now available on DVD for movie collectors, but these seven classics are not available in retail stores. Who says they don’t make them like they used to?
Coney Island (1943)
Fun musical set in Brooklyn’s “Sodom by the Bay” at the dawn of the 20th century, as saloon songstress Betty Grable becomes the center of a tug of war for her career–and affections–between boss Cesar Romero and promoter George Montgomery. Phil Silvers, Charles Winninger co-star; the plot would be recycled seven years later for Grable’s “Wabash Avenue.” Songs include “Beautiful Coney Island,” “Get the Money.”
The Shocking Miss Pilgrim (1947)
In late 19th-century Boston, business college grad Cynthia Pilgrim (Betty Grable) raises some eyebrows when she takes a typist job in a shipping company’s all-male office. Just imagine the impact on her job–to say nothing of her smitten boss (Dick Haymes)–when she becomes a full-out suffragette! Anne Revere co-stars. The score of unpublished George Gershwin melodies, given lyrics by brother Ira and completed by Kay Swift, includes “Aren’t You Kinda Glad We Did?,” “Changing My Tune.”
Wabash Avenue (1950)
In Gay Nineties Chicago, casino chanteuse Betty Grable dreams of bigger and better opportunities. While boss Phil Harris likes having her right where she is, longtime business rival Victor Mature wants to get in a dig by spiriting her away to the New York stage. Spirited redo of Grable’s 1943 vehicle “Coney Island” co-stars Reginald Gardiner, Margaret Hamilton; score includes “Wilhelmina,” “Baby Won’t You Say You Love Me?”
Sweet Rosie O’Grady (1943)
Betty Grable shines in this rousing musical effort as a Bowery saloon singer who is determined to climb the social ladder. After travelling to London, she assumes a false identity and quickly falls for a wealthy duke. But when a reporter who loves her exposes her deception, Grable must figure out what–and whom–she really wants. With Robert Young, Adolphe Menjou, Reginald Gardiner; songs include “Get Your Police Gazette,” “My Sam,” “My Heart Tells Me (Should I Believe My Heart?),” the title tune, and more.
That Lady In Ermine (1948)
In 18th-century Italy, contessa Betty Grable finds her castle commandeered by Hungarian military officer Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and his troops. Turning to the portrait of her lookalike ancestress for advice, she actually gets a response…and the counsel she receives is stranger still! Fluffy musical-comedy co-stars Cesar Romero, Walter Abel, Reginald Gardiner; Ernst Lubitsch’s last, posthumous directing credit (completed by an unbilled Otto Preminger).
After taking a potshot at tomcatting boyfriend Cesar Romero–and clipping the local judge where he sits–hell-raising saloon girl Betty Grable flees for the next town and starts posing as a prim schoolmarm. When rich local Rudy Vallee comes a’-courtin’, can she land him before her past catches up with her? Preston Sturges’ last American film co-stars Olga San Juan, Hugh Herbert, El Brendel.
Three For The Show (1955)
The Somerset Maugham play “Too Many Husbands” gets a musical revamping, with Betty Grable starring as a performer and war widow who marries Gower Champion, the songwriting partner of late spouse Jack Lemmon–then is shocked when Lemmon shows up alive and well. Marge Champion co-stars; songs include “I’ve Got a Crush on You,” “Someone to Watch Over Me,” and the title tune. Myron McCormick co-stars.
And now, sit back and relax and enjoy the theatrical trailer from another of Miss Grable’s earlier golden oldies, Down Argentine Way from 1940: