Review: ‘Kiss the Boys Goodbye’

In converting Clare Boothe's satirical comedy to films, Paramount made some major revisions of the original, substituting a group of tuneful songs for the playwright's satirical barbs, and coming up with a light, humorous and breezy piece of entertainment.

In converting Clare Boothe’s satirical comedy to films, Paramount made some major revisions of the original, substituting a group of tuneful songs for the playwright’s satirical barbs, and coming up with a light, humorous and breezy piece of entertainment.

Picture effectively showcases the acting and vocal talents of Mary Martin, who ably carries the full burden of the picture with a topnotch performance.

Boothe’s play was a satire on the search for the Scarlett to portray the lead in Gone with the Wind. For picture purposes, the lead sought is a southern beauty for a Broadway show to be produced by Jerome Cowan, angeled by Raymond Walburn and staged by Don Ameche. Publicity stunt sends Ameche and composer Oscar Levant on tour of the south.

Schertzinger most ably pilots the compact and laugh-studded script. Songs are deftly spotted, and numerous spontaneous Dixie cracks against the ‘damn’ Yankees catch attention and laughs.

Ameche grooves as the play director and romantic interest in a straight line without much enthusiasm. Levant is Levant – a dour composer without a smile but withal credited with discovering the abilities of Martin about the same time the audience does.

Kiss the Boys Goodbye

Production

Paramount. Director Victor Schertzinger; Producer William LeBaron; Screenplay Harry Tugend, Dwight Taylor; Camera Ted Tetzlaff; Editor Paul Weatherwax; Music Victor Schertzinger

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1941. Running time: 83 MIN.

With

Mary Martin Don Ameche Oscar Levant Jerome Cowan Raymond Walburn Barbara Jo Allen
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