7.5/10
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Hellzapoppin' (1941)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical | 26 December 1941 (USA)
Olsen and Johnson, a pair of stage comedians, try to turn their play into a movie and bring together a young couple in love, while breaking the fourth wall every step of the way.

Director:

H.C. Potter

Writers:

Nat Perrin (screenplay), Warren Wilson (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ole Olsen ... Ole Olsen
Chic Johnson ... Chic Johnson
Martha Raye ... Betty Johnson
Hugh Herbert ... Quimby
Jane Frazee ... Kitty Rand
Robert Paige ... Jeff Hunter
Mischa Auer ... Pepi
Richard Lane ... Director
Lewis Howard ... Woody Taylor
Clarence Kolb ... Andrew Rand
Nella Walker ... Mrs. Rand
Shemp Howard ... Louie
Elisha Cook Jr. ... Harry Selby
Frank Darien Frank Darien ... Man Calling for Mrs. Jones
Catherine Johnson Catherine Johnson ... Lena - Lady Looking for Oscar
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Storyline

Ole and Chick are making a movie, but the director is not satisfied. So he brings them to a young writer, who outlines them an absurd story. They have to support Jeff and Kitty in setting up a musical revue in their garden and want to bring it up on Broadway. If Jeff is successful he can marry Kitty. But there is his rich friend Woody, who also loves Kitty, Chick's sister Betty, who's in love with a false Russian count, and detective Quimby. They all make the thing very complicated for Ole and Chick. After some mistakes they think that Kitty isn't the right girl for Jeff and they start sabotaging the show, but the Broadway producer is impressed and signs the contract. That's the story the writer tells them. For this he's sued by the director. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

AT LAST IT'S ON THE SCREEN! Greater than the Stage Show! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 December 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

De studio draait zot See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,982
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Stuntman Dale Van Sickel appears as the Frankenstein Monster in a gag cameo, making him the first person after Boris Karloff to portray the Monster on film. See more »

Goofs

Betty picks up a rifle with a bayonet attached, but in the next shot it's a double-barreled shotgun. See more »

Quotes

Man calling for Mrs. Jones: [Calling out loud] Mrs Jones! Mrs Jones!
Ole Olsen: [Firmly] Look, here, my friend, we are making a motion picure here.
Man calling for Mrs. Jones: That's a matter of opinion...
[leaving]
Man calling for Mrs. Jones: Mrs Jones!
See more »

Crazy Credits

"......any similarity between HELLZAPOPPIN' and a motion picture is purely coincidental." See more »

Connections

References Citizen Kane (1941) See more »

Soundtracks

You Were There
Lyrics by Don Raye
Music by Gene de Paul
Performed and Sung by Jane Frazee with orchestra
See more »

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User Reviews

A Festival of Lowbrow HiJinks!
26 October 2011 | by 16mmRaySee all my reviews

Okay, first let's dispatch this old nag - HELLZAPOPPIN' is NOT the stage play transferred to film. The 1938 show was a revue. A series of sketches, blackouts and musical numbers. Richard Lane, as the director, was right - "This is Hollywood, we change everything!" And, in my humble opinion, I think they did a darn fine job. The "love story" was merely a vehicle for a couple of very nice songs (the entire score is first-rate) and a goofy performance by the long-forgotten Lewis Howard. Jane Frazee and Robert Paige were both top drawer light players at Universal with excellent singing voices. So believe me, in making the necessary "changes", Universal gave it their best shot. As for the fun stuff, it's simply non-stop, from Shemp Howard and Jody Gilbert in the projection booth, to former Stooge Fred Sanborn playing tic-tac-toe on a horse's backside, to the singing and dancing devils (with chicks on a spit!) to Mischa Auer doing his very best "schnorrer" routine, to the other-worldly Hugh Herbert ("hello ma, I'll be home for dinner - have meat!"), to the myriad gags that break the fourth wall, to the eye-popping and breathless turn by Martha Raye, to the greatest Lindy Hop number committed to film, and on and on. If you roll your eyeballs at corny gags, this picture ain't for you! But if you revel at the shear audacity of pulling off such corn with absolutely no shame whatsoever, then you want to experience HELLZAPOPPIN'. If at all possible, see it with an audience. No comedy can be fully appreciated by solo viewing. But as laughter is infectious, the kinetic energy generated by this picture really cries out for a communal experience. One aspect of this picture is seldom mentioned and that is the musical direction. Universal was really tops in the early 40's of putting pop sounds in their B musicals. Well, this is definitely an 'A' picture, and Charlie Previn's orchestra is in fine form, especially in the "Congaroo" number. By the way - it has long been my contention that HELLZAPOPPIN' was not, at least completely, directed by the credited H. C. Potter. The style of the film is unlike anything else Potter did and is completely akin to the work of Eddie Cline, who was Universal's ace comedy director at the time and who directed the next three Olsen & Johnson features. Just a theory of mine and one for which I have absolutely no documentation or other type of support. HELLZAPOPPIN' has been buried in the US since 1966 when the rights reverted to the Nederlander Organization. But fortunately a UK DVD from Universal's 35mmm fine grain has been released and is a superb video version of the film. It is also shown occasionally on TV in Canada. Now - will someone PLEASE stop that woman from yelling "Oscar"!!


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