Panama Hattie (1942)





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Movie Info

Cole Porter's musical hit Panama Hattie originally starred Ethel Merman on Broadway. But Merman was not a proven movie commodity, thus it was Ann Sothern who appeared in the film version as Hattie, brassy but golden-hearted proprietress of a Canal Zone hotel. Accustomed to dealing with such raucous cohorts as she-sick sailors Red (Red Skelton), Rags (Rags Ragland) and Rowdy (Ben Blue), Hattie isn't quite certain how to handle herself when she falls in love with wealthy and cultured Dick Bulliett (Dan Dailey Jr.) Socialite Leila Tree (Marsha Hunt), who'd previously set her cap for Dick, does her best to break up the romance, but Hattie is championed by Dick's kid sister Geraldine (Jackie Horner) and family butler Jenkins (Alan Mowbray). The play's original storyline, which shifted into gear when Hattie began picking up Nazi shortwave radio broadcast in the fillings of her teeth, is virtually nonexistent here, as is Porter's score, save for "I've Still Got My Health" and "Let's be Buddies" (Lena Horne does, however, show up to sing "Just One of Those Things", a carryover from an earlier Porter musical). A notoriously troubled production, Panama Hattie was completely refilmed after a disastrous preview, delaying its scheduled release by nearly a year.
Musical & Performing Arts
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Ann Sothern
as Hattie Maloney
Dan Dailey
as Dick Bulliard
Lena Horne
as Herself - Singer in Phil's Place
Marsha A. Hunt
as Leila Tree
Virginia O'Brien
as Flo Foster
Alan Mowbray
as Jay Perkins
Ben Blue
as Howdy
Jackie Horner
as Geraldine Bulliet
Carl Esmond
as Lucas Kefler
Pierre Watkin
as Adm. Tree
Stanley Andrews
as Col. John Briggs
George Watts
as Mac the Bartender
Joe Yule
as Waiter
Duke York
as Bruno
Fred Graham
as Naval Policeman
Max Wagner
as Guard
Grant Withers
as Shore Patrol
The Berry Brothers
as Themselves
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Critic Reviews for Panama Hattie

All Critics (2)

A low-brow musical that doesn't bear the stylistic signature of Vincente Minnelli, not to mention the fact that Ann Sothern is not Ethel Merman, who did it on Broadway.

Full Review… | April 26, 2011

The wartime musical/comedy Panama Hattie was a hit on Broadway for songwriter Cole Porter and its star Ethel Merman.

Full Review… | May 21, 2010
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Panama Hattie


Much-maligned MGM musical is pretty good until the half-way point when it disintegrates into a silly WWII spy spoof; based on the Cole Porter Broadway hit and including the songs "I've Still Got My Health," "Let's Be Buddies," "Fresh As a Daisy" and "Just One of Those Things" sung by Lena Horne.

Michael Troudt
Michael Troudt

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