Cast & Crew
Motion picture director John Gayle is a difficult perfectionist. In an effort to get him to relax, Louisa, his sister, takes him to a carnival, where he is impressed by the versatility of Mary O'Leary, a singer and dancer. After his demands drive Yvonne La Tour, the star of his current movie, to quit, John is fired. He then conceives a plan to have Mary pretend to be French and take Yvonne's place, figuring that if he can save the movie, he will get his directing job back. Over Louisa's objections, Mary is installed in the Gayle home, and John works hard to teach her what she needs to know. As they work together, Mary falls in love with John, but soon realizes that to him, she is just a means to an end. Shortly after John informs Mary that she is ready to be introduced as "Rochelle Olivier," his "friend from France," Mary goes for a swim and meets the film's producer, Douglas Hyde, as her real self. Realizing what has happened, Louisa and John quickly hustle Doug away, and Louisa points out that as Mary was in a bathing suit, her shapely figure probably distracted Doug so much that he did not pay close attention to her face. Upon meeting Mary as "Rochelle," Doug immediately agrees to star her in the film, but she refuses to sign the contract unless John is re-hired to direct. As filming progresses, Doug romances Mary. One night, when Doug takes Mary to a charity ball, a jealous John joins them, and he and Mary quarrel. During the quarrel, Mary inadvertently reveals her true identity, to the delight of eavesdropping reporters. Doug believes that he will be fired, but his boss is delighted by the free publicity. John, however, is fired for fraud. Believing that she will be fired as well, Mary packs to leave, but Doug reveals that he knew about the deception from the start and wants her to continue with the film. After a new director is hired, however, a lovesick Mary's performance suffers. Then Louisa helps John realize that he is in love with Mary, and Doug ascertains that Louisa is in love with him. John is rehired and everything points to a happy ending for the two couples.
Robert B. Williams
Hal K. Dawson
Jack Del Rio
Karen De Wolf
Charles Lawton Jr.
M. W. Stoloff
Slightly French - Slighty French
Slightly French is a remake of Let's Fall in Love (1933), which starred Ann Sothern, Edmund Lowe and Gregory Ratoff and which can also occasionally be seen on TCM. Even in 1933, however, the Pygmalion-style plot was an old warhorse. George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion was written in 1912, and numerous movies and television shows have borrowed its plot and theme ever since, and for good reason: it's a proven audience winner.
This take on the story ended up as a light, airy comedy with four songs from Dorothy Lamour and directing duties by Douglas Sirk, taking a break from his recent films noirs and still a few years away from the Universal melodramas that would make him renowned.
In her memoir My Side of the Road, Lamour later joked that this was her "no way to treat a lady" period: "In Slightly French, I [was] pushed down a flight of stairs; in my [next] film [Manhandled (1949)], I was to be smacked around by Dan Duryea, who then tries to push me off a rooftop."
Due to the quirks of release schedules, Manhandled actually opened in New York one day before Slightly French. The New York Times' critic Thomas M. Pryor mused, "someone should have thought about proclaiming this as Dorothy Lamour Week on Broadway." Of her turn in Slightly French, he wrote, "Miss Lamour makes a brief appearance in a bathing suit, sings several songs and is altogether more like her old self. And she's much the better off for it in Slightly French than she is in Manhandled."
Lamour's career, however, was on a downward trajectory. A few more features would come her way, including her final "Road" picture, 1952's Road to Bali (she only had a cameo appearance in The Road to Hong Kong, the last official "Road" picture in 1962). For the most part she'd turn up just in occasional television guest roles over the next forty years.
Douglas Sirk, interviewed years later, remembered nothing of this picture, one of two he directed for Columbia in 1949. The other was Shockproof.
Producer: Irving Starr
Director: Douglas Sirk
Screenplay: Karen DeWolf (screenplay); Herbert Fields (story)
Cinematography: Charles Lawton, Jr.
Art Direction: Carl Anderson
Music: George Duning
Film Editing: Al Clark
Cast: Dorothy Lamour (Mary O'Leary aka Rochelle Olivia), Don Ameche (John Gayle), Janis Carter (Louisa Gayle), Willard Parker (Douglas Hyde), Adele Jergens (Yvonne La Tour), Jeanne Manet (Nicolette).
by Jeremy Arnold
Slightly French - Slighty French
The film's working title was Let's Fall in Love.