Cast & Crew
Wealthy Irishman J. B. Bates, whose wife of forty years left him six months previously because of his parsimony, stumbles off a pier and is saved by Judy Peabody, a hat check girl at Manhattan's famous Stork Club. Bates's near-drowning causes him to ponder his miserly ways, and he instructs his lawyer, Tom Curtis, to send Judy a letter informing her that accounts have been opened for her at a bank, a hotel, and a department store because she has been "most accommodating" to her benefactor, who wishes to remain anonymous. Wearing shabby clothes, Bates arrives at the Stork Club to see Judy receive the letter, and Judy, believing he is a vagabond, gets him a job as a busboy. Bates quits within minutes, and Judy, who calls him "Pop," takes him in. Judy, meanwhile, suspects that her benefactor is her boss, Sherman Billingsley, a "wolf" with ulterior motives. Judy's bandleader boyfriend, Danny Wilton, returns unexpectedly from a stint in the Marines and assumes that Judy is a kept woman. When Judy confronts Billingsley, he merely escorts her out of his office, and Danny, who hoped to get an audition with Billingsley, sees him with his arm around Judy. Determined to help Danny, Judy tells his band to stay with her at her hotel, the Yorke Towers. She then buys them all new clothes in an effort to bankrupt her benefactor for ruining her love affair. To stop Judy from spending any more of his money, Bates confesses that he is the benefactor, but she does not believe him. Judy then calls Curtis, but he refuses to confirm Bates's story. Meanwhile, Judy rehearses with the band and gets them a job with Billingsley by posing as gossip columnist Walter Winchell. When Bates's estranged wife Edith arrives at the Yorke Towers, Judy assures her that she is not "Pop's" mistress and that "Pop" loves his wife. Edith then informs Judy that "Pop" is rich, and Judy, finally realizing he is her benefactor, schemes with Edith to get their men back during the band's debut at the Stork Club that night. When the band plays Edith and Bates's song, they are reconciled. Curtis then assures Danny that "Pop" was Judy's benefactor, and Judy sings with the band. Bates and Edith then give Danny and Judy a million dollars for a wedding present.
Harry Hays Morgan
B. G. De Sylva
B. G. Desylva
B. G. Desylva
Robert Emmett Dolan
Charles Lang Jr.
Joseph J. Lilley
Egbert Van Alstyne
Paul Francis Webster
Jerry D. Welch
Philip G. Wisdom
The Stork Club
This may be a featherweight plotline, but it's all that's needed for The Stork Club (1945), a light musical comedy starring the then-popular, now often-overlooked Betty Hutton. The Stork Club came in the middle of a string of popular Hutton comedies and musicals such as And the Angels Sing (1944), Here Come the Waves (1944), Incendiary Blonde (1945), Cross My Heart (1946), and The Perils of Pauline (1947). Released just after Christmas, 1945, The Stork Club features songs by several top artists of the day - Jule Styne, Sammy Cahn, Jay Livingston, Ray Evans and Hoagy Carmichael, whose song "Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief" (written with Paul Francis Webster and performed by Hutton) is the movie's musical highlight.
Producer and co-writer B.G. "Buddy" DeSylva was best known as a songwriter himself, having penned songs like "California, Here I Come" and "Look For the Silver Lining" as well as the hit Broadway musical Good News, which was the basis for two motion pictures. In the 1930s he turned to producing theater, then movies, finding success with Shirley Temple vehicles. As a Paramount executive, he guided films from Billy Wilder and Leo McCarey, whose Going My Way (1944) won the studio's first Best Picture Academy Award. When DeSylva stepped down as Paramount production chief, his first independently-produced project was The Stork Club, which Paramount distributed. (DeSylva would go on to co-found Capitol Records.)
The New York Times' Bosley Crowther wrote of this movie, "A bright and beribboned Christmas package was opened at the Paramount yesterday to reveal a purely frivolous donation, but one which is good for lots of laughs." Betty Hutton, he wrote, was positively "tom-boisterous."
Hundreds of photos were taken of the real Stork Club in New York in order to make the sets authentic. Some say that the owner of the Stork Club, Sherman Billingsley, lobbied to get this film made and perhaps partially financed it as a giant advertisement. He's played on screen by Bill Goodwin, who is best-remembered as the announcer on the George Burns and Gracie Allen radio program.
Cinematographer Charles Lang had been nominated for six Oscars® when he started shooting The Stork Club. By the time he retired in 1973, he had amassed 18 nominations over his career, winning for A Farewell to Arms (1932). Humorist/actor Robert Benchley, here playing a lawyer named Tom Curtis, died of a cerebral hemorrhage a month before The Stork Club opened. He would appear in two more films posthumously.
Producer: Harold Wilson, Buddy G. DeSylva
Director: Hal Walker
Screenplay: Buddy G. DeSylva, Jack McGowan
Cinematography: Charles Lang
Film Editing: Gladys Carley
Art Direction: Hans Dreier, A. Earl Hedrick
Music: Robert Emmett Dolan
Cast: Betty Hutton (Judy Peabody), Barry Fitzgerald (Jerry B. Bates), Don DeFore (Sgt. Danny Wilton), Andy Russell (Jimmy Jones), Robert Benchley (Tom P. Curtis), Bill Goodwin (Sherman Billingsley).
BW-98m. Closed captioning.
by Jeremy Arnold
The Stork Club
More than 700 photographs of the Stork Club in New York City were taken to help the set designers of the movie.
This film was B. G. DeSylva's first independent production following his relinquishing of the post of executive producer in charge of production at Paramount. A Hollywood Reporter news item on the day production began noted that actor Noel Madison was to make his debut as a feature director with this film, but by April 24, 1945, he had withdrawn from the film and was replaced by Hal Walker. Madison later became a producer and director. On July 13, 1945, Hollywood Reporter announced that associate producer Harold Wilson took over the final preparations for the film because B. G. DeSylva was ill. According to news items in Hollywood Reporter, DeSylva purchased the right to use the Stork Club's name from his friend, Sherman Billingsley. More than seven hundred photographs of the Stork Club at 3 East 53rd Street in New York City were taken to guide the set designers for this film. The film marked the debut of singer Andy Russell. Hollywood Reporter also noted that in mid-January 1945, Danny Kaye was considered for Betty Hutton's co-star in the film. Harry Hays Morgan, who had a bit role in the film, was formerly in the diplomatic service in Europe and was a member of the American Olympic bobsled team for two years.