Follow the Boys

Follow the Boys also known as Three Cheers for the Boys is a 1944 musical film made by Universal Pictures during World War II as an all-star cast morale booster to entertain the troops abroad and the civilians at home. The film was directed by A. Edward "Eddie" Sutherland and produced by Charles K. Feldman. The movie stars George Raft and Vera Zorina and features Grace McDonald, Charles Grapewin, Regis Toomey and George Macready.

Follow the Boys
Theatrical release poster
Directed byA. Edward Sutherland
Produced byCharles K. Feldman
Written byLou Breslow
Gertrude Purcell
StarringGeorge Raft
Vera Zorina
Music byFred E. Ahlert
Billy Austin
Dick Charles
Kermit Goell
Leigh Harline
Inez James
Louis Jordan
Larry Markes
Jimmy McHugh
Phil Moore
Buddy Pepper
Hughie Prince
Frank Skinner
Roy Turk
Oliver Wallace
CinematographyDavid Abel
Edited byFred R. Feitshans Jr.
Chas. K. Feldman Group Productions
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • April 25, 1944 (1944-04-25) (New York City)
  • May 5, 1944 (1944-05-05) (United States)
Running time
122 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2 million[1]

Making appearances are Walter Abel, Carmen Amaya, The Andrews Sisters, Evelyn Ankers, Louise Beavers, Noah Beery Jr., Turhan Bey, Steve Brodie, Nigel Bruce, Lon Chaney Jr., the Delta Rhythm Boys, Andy Devine, Marlene Dietrich, W. C. Fields, Susanna Foster, Thomas Gomez, Louis Jordan and His Orchestra, Ted Lewis and His Band, Jeanette MacDonald, Maria Montez,[2] Clarence Muse, Donald O'Connor, Slapsie Maxie Rosenbloom, Arthur Rubinstein, Peggy Ryan, Randolph Scott, Dinah Shore, Freddie Slack and His Orchestra, Gale Sondergaard, Sophie Tucker, Orson Welles, among many others.


Tony West performs on vaudeville in a group with his father, Nick and sister Kitty, The decline of vaudeville forces the group to split up and Tony goes to Hollywood to try to make it in movies. He works at Universal Pictures, where he becomes screen partners with, and then the husband of, star Gloria Vance.

When World War Two breaks out, Tony tries to enlist but is refused because of his knee. Tony finds himself organising the Hollywood Victory Committee (H.V.C.), a consortium of motion picture, theatrical and radio personalities dedicated to help the war effort.

He puts on a show that includes performances from Donald O'Connor and Jeannette MacDonald.

Tony and Gloria have a big fight and she doesn't tell him that she's fallen pregnant. Tony organizes another show, where Orson Welles performs magic tricks including sawing Marlene Dietrich in half.

Raft goes overseas. Tony is killed during an attack by a Japanese submarine. Gloria takes Tony's place entertaining the troops.



The film was announced in June 1943. It was produced by Charles K. Feldman and was inspired by the success of Stage Door Canteen at Warner Bros. The original title was Three Cheers for the Boys.[4] George Raft signed in July 1943.[5]

The cast featured several Universal contract stars, including Donald O'Connor and Peggy Ryan, as well as some actors who had just recently made films for Universal, such as Raft and Marlene Dietrich.

The film was shot at the Naval Training Center San Diego.[1]

It was WC Fields' first movie since 1941. He performs an old pool playing job he first developed in vaudeville in 1903.[6]

The movie features a speech at the end about "soldiers in greasepaint", a tribute to those who entertained the troops during World War Two. It features an "honor roll" which lists those entertainers who died in the war, including Carole Lombard, Leslie Howard, Roy Rognan, Tamara, Charles King and Bob Ripa.


The New York Times called a "sentimental tribute... cheap screen entertainment - and hardly a tribute to the players it presents."[7]

Songs and acts

  • George Raft - several dance numbers
  • Vera Zorina - dances to "A Better Day is Coming" and "I Feel a Song Coming On"
  • George Raft and Zorina - dance to "Tonight"
  • Delta Rhythm Boys - "The House I Live In"
  • The Andrews Sisters - "Shoo Shoo Baby" and a medley of their hits including "Bei Mir Bist Du Schön", "Hold Tight, Hold Tight (Want Some Seafood, Mama)", "The Beer Barrel Polka", "The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B", "I'll Be With You in Apple Blossom Time", "Pennsylvania Polka", "Victory Polka"
  • Sophie Tucker - "The Bigger the Army and the Navy" and "Some of These Day"
  • Donald O'Connor and Peggy Ryan - "Kittens With Their Mittens Laced"
  • Jeanette MacDonald - "Beyond the Blue Horizon" and "I'll See You in My Dreams"
  • Orson Welles - performs a magic show including sawing Marlene Dietrich in half
  • Dinah Shore - "I'll Get By", "I'll Walk Alone", "Mad About Him Blues"
  • Arthur Rubenstein - performs "Liebestraum No. 3 (A Dream of Love)"
  • Louis Jordan - "Is You Is or Is You Ain't (Ma' Baby", and "Sweet Georgia Brown", with Raft performing the charleston
  • W.C. Fields - performs a comedy routine involving a billiard table
  • Carmen Amaya - "Merriment"
  • the Delta Rhythm Boys
  • Gautier's performing dogs
  • Charlie Spivak and his Orchestra - "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot " and "Besame Mucho"
  • Ted Lewis - "Good Night"


The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

Home media

  • 1994: MCA Home Video, VHS (80594), ISBN 0-7832-1096-5, 1994

See also


  1. Everett Aaker, The Films of George Raft, McFarland & Company, 2013 p 109
  2. Follow the Boys at Maria Montez Fan Page
  3. Deschner, Donald (1966). The Films of W.C. Fields. New York: Cadillac Publishing by arrangement with The Citadel Press. p. 164. Introduction by Arthur Knight
  4. Special to The New York Times. (1943, Jun 14). SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  5. Special to The New York Times. (1943, Jul 16). Russell wade, former extra at RKO, gets his first lead in 'ghost ship' -- two films open today. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  6. THE GREAT MAN IS BACK. (1944, Apr 02). New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  7. Review 1 -- No Title By BOSLEY CROWTHER. New York Times (1923-Current file); New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]26 Apr 1944: 24.
  8. "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-07-30.
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