Abroad with Two Yanks

Abroad with Two Yanks is a 1944 American comedy film directed by Allan Dwan and starring Helen Walker, William Bendix and Dennis O'Keefe as the title characters. It was Bendix's third and final role in a film as a US Marine and the first of Dwan's three films about the United States Marine Corps.[1]

Abroad with Two Yanks
Original film poster
Directed byAllan Dwan
John E. Burch (assistant)
Produced byEdward Small
Written byWilkie C Mahoney
Charles Rogers
Ted Sils
Tedwell Chapman
Edward E Seabrook
Based onstory bu Fred Guiol
StarringWilliam Bendix
Dennis O'Keefe
Helen Walker
CinematographyCharles Lawton
Edited byRichard V. Heermance
Grant Whytock
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
October 1944
Running time
86 mins (original)
80 mins.
CountryUnited States


Arriving in Australia after the Battle of Guadalcanal, two American Marines compete with each other by stealing the other's Australian girlfriend. Their intense rivalry leads to their arrest and escape from confinement dressed as women.[2]



Hal Roach

The film was originally announced as one of Hal Roach's Streamliners titled Yanks Down Under starring William Bendix. Due to Hal Roach's contract for filming training films for the American Army, the film and Bendix's commitment to it was sold to producer Edward Small with Roach employee Fred Guiol to be credited as a producer. The film was the end of Roach's arrangement with United Artists.[3]

Edward Small

In November 1943 the project was with Edward Small and was called Waltzing Matilda. William Bendix and Dennis O'Keefe were attached to star.[4] The film was to be the second in a two-film contract between O'Keefe and Small, the first being Up in Mabel's Room.[5]

The title was eventually changed to Abroad with Two Yanks. Small later said he mainly bought the story because this title was so appealing.[6]

In January 1944 Edward Small announced the film would be his next for United Artists. Lou Beslow and John Twist were writing the script and Lew Seiler was borrowed from 20th Century Fox to direct.[7] However, by February Allan Dwan, who had just made Up in Mabel's Room for Small, had been signed to direct[8]

Anna Lee was meant to play the female lead. She accepted the part while in Las Vegas for her divorce proceedings. However, on returning to Hollywood she decided that the part was not suitable for her and pulled out of the film. She was replaced by Helen Walker, who was borrowed from Paramount.[9][10]

Filming started March 1944.

Hedy Lamarr took a photo with Bendix and O'Keefe around the making of the film which Small subsequently issued. Lamarr then sued Small for damages.[11]


Reviews were strong.[12][13] The New York Times said the film was done in "the right spirit".[14]

Proposed sequel

Edward Small wanted to star O'Keefe and Bendix in a series of films and in August announced a sequel Two Yanks in Paris. Charles Rogers and Wilkie Mahoney worked on a story. However no film resulted.[15]

Radio adaptation

The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on April 9, 1945, with William Bendix and Dennis O'Keefe reprising their film roles [16] with Marjorie Reynolds in Helen Walker's role.

See also


  1. Abroad With Two Yanks Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 11, Iss. 121, (Jan 1, 1944): 127.
  2. p.190 Ginibre, Jean-Louis Lithgow, John & Cady, Barbara Ladies Or Gentlemen: A Pictorial History of Male Cross-Dressing in the Movies Filipacchi Publishing, 01/11/2005
  3. p.128 Ward, Richard Lewis A History of the Hal Roach Studios SIU Press, 15/08/2006
  4. Looking at Hollywood Hopper, Hodda. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963); Chicago, Ill. [Chicago, Ill]25 Nov 1943: 30.
  5. SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD: Dennis O'Keefe Signed for 2 Pictures by Edward Small -- 3 Films Open Today Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES. New York Times 25 Nov 1943: 39.
  6. HOLLYWOOD AWAKENS TO THE SHORTS: One and Two Reel Films Regaining Popularity -- Love Wins as Usual By FRED STANLEYHOLLYWOOD. New York Times 25 June 1944: X3.
  7. Of Local Origin New York Times 19 Jan 1944: 24.
  8. Betty Hutton, Bracken Comedy-Musical Team: R.K.O. Postpones Three Important Films Due Mostly to Script Trouble Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 16 Feb 1944: A10.
  9. ANNA LEE DEAL OFF FOR YANKS Los Angeles Times (1923-1995); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]15 Mar 1944: A11.
  10. "SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD: Virginia Mayo Will Be Seen in Bob Hope Film -- 'Chip Off the Old Block' at Capitol". New York Times. 16 Mar 1944. p. 17.
  11. "Hedy Lamarr Sues Producer". The Mercury. Hobart, Tas. 24 June 1944. p. 19. Retrieved 29 May 2013 via National Library of Australia.
  12. "At the Globe". T.M.P.. New York Times. 26 Oct 1944. p. 19.
  13. Schallert, Edwin (5 Oct 1944). "Bendix, O'Keefe Score in War Comedy". Los Angeles Times. p. A9.
  14. At the Globe T.M.P. New York Times (1923-Current file); New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]26 Oct 1944: 19.
  15. Schallert, Edwin (28 Aug 1944). "Comedy Yanks Plan Entry Into Paris, Too: Topical 'First Man in Tokyo' Scheduled; Marsha Hunt Joins Garson Entourage". Los Angeles Times. p. 8.
  16. "Abroad with Two Yanks (1944)". Archived from the original on 31 March 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2018 via www.imdb.com.
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