How to Be Very, Very Popular
|How to Be Very, Very Popular|
|Directed by||Nunnally Johnson|
|Produced by||Nunnally Johnson|
|Screenplay by||Nunnally Johnson|
|Based on||Based upon a play by Howard Lindsay|
from a novel by
Edward Hope, and a play
by Lyford Moore
and Harlan Thompson
|Music by||Cyril J. Mockridge|
|Cinematography||Milton Krasner A. S. C.|
|Edited by||Louis Loeffler|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$3.7 million|
Stormy Tornado and Curly Flagg are two showgirls from a San Francisco cabaret who witness the murder of one of their fellow performers and can identify the killer. Not wanting to get mixed up in a murder rap, the girls flee the scene and hide out at Bristol College, disguising themselves as boys. However the need for attention makes the girls want to stand out in their stage costumes and then the trouble begins.
- Betty Grable as Stormy Tornado
- Sheree North as Curly Flagg
- Bob Cummings as Fillmore "Wedge" Wedgewood
- Charles Coburn as Dr. Tweed
- Tommy Noonan as Eddie Jones
- Orson Bean as Toby Marshall
- Fred Clark as B.J. Marshall
- Charlotte Austin as Midge
- Alice Pearce as Miss "Syl" Sylvester
- Rhys Williams as Cedric Flagg
- Andrew Tombes as Sergeant Moon
- Noel Toy as Cherry Blossom Wang
- Emory Parnell as Police chief
How to Be Very, Very Popular was the third adaptation derived from the 1933 novel She Loves Me Not by Edward Hope. The novel was first made into the 1934 Paramount comedy She Loves Me Not which starred Miriam Hopkins as Curly Flagg and co-starred Bing Crosby. That was then remade as True to the Army for Paramount in 1942. However How to Be Very, Very Popular was based on the Broadway play of the same name by Howard Lindsay which was adapted from the original Edward Hope (Edward Hope Coffey) novel.
The character of Curly Flagg was the lead in She Loves Me Not but was made the secondary character to Stormy Tornado in How to Be Very, Very Popular to accommodate Betty Grable.
This was the last film Betty Grable made in her career. She had been the number one box office attraction throughout the 1940s and early 50s with her films making enormous amounts of money for 20th Century Fox.
Marilyn Monroe, Fox's top moneymaker at the time, was approached by the studio to star opposite Grable in this film. She wasn't fond of the script and at the time was yearning for some dramatic and challenging roles to play and therefore declined the film. She also turned down The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing and was replaced by Joan Collins. Grable and Monroe had previously starred together in How to Marry a Millionaire which is credited for basically creating the changeover in who was the top star at Fox. Grable was the top star in the 1940s and Monroe would become the top star of the 50s. However, there was no rivalry between the two bombshells, in fact Grable is said to have famously told Monroe, "go and get yours honey! I've had mine". The two became friends after that.
Monroe would later star in Some Like It Hot, which had a similar plot—two male entertainers witness a murder, then flee disguised as women.
At the time of its release, How to Be Very, Very Popular was greeted with mixed to positive press. Betty Grable's performance was generally praised, whereas newcomer Sheree North's performance drew less impressive notices. North appeared on the cover of LIFE just before the film's release. It enjoyed reasonable success, earning an estimated $1.65 million in rentals at the North American box office during its first year of release.
- Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p249
- "AT THE IMPERIAL These Girls Know 'How to Be Very, Very Popular'" (The News and Eastern Townships Advocate, November 10, 1955, page twenty two)
- "NEW FILMS by "The Age" film critic (The Age, April 27, 1956, page 2)
- "Princeton Alumni Weekly". 1957.
- Theodossin, Ernest. "CURRENT MOVIES At the State… How to Be Very, Very Popular, with Betty Grable, Sheree North and Bob Cummings" (The Michigan Daily, July 29, 1955, page 2)
- Sheree North Joining All-Star Cast at 20th Hopper, Hedda. Los Angeles Times 19 Jan 1955: B6.
- 'The Top Box-Office Hits of 1955', Variety Weekly, January 25, 1956
- How to Be Very, Very Popular on IMDb
- How to Be Very, Very Popular at the American Film Institute Catalog
- How to Be Very, Very Popular at the TCM Movie Database
- How to Be Very, Very Popular at AllMovie
- How to Be Very, Very Popular at TV Guide (1987 write-up was originally published in The Motion Picture Guide)
- How to Be Very, Very Popular film clip on YouTube