Cast & Crew
Tony Marvin, who works in advertising at J. P. Todhunter's Imperial Pineapples in Hawaii, designs a publicity stunt involving the selection of an "Imperial Pineapple Girl," who is to come to Hawaii for three weeks of romance and then publish her impressions of the trip. After Georgia Smith, the chosen girl, threatens to return home early when her glamorous trip to Hawaii proves uneventful, Tony is picked to romance her. As Georgia leaves her hotel for the home-bound ship, a stranger, hired by Todhunter, asks her to smuggle a necklace to San Francisco for his sister. Inside the necklace is a stolen, sacred black pearl, which the stranger says must be returned to the islanders in order to appease the goddess of their volcano, which has started to smoke. Georgia and her stenographer, Myrtle Finch, and Tony and his friend, Shad Buggle, are all obliged to sail to a nearby island and return the pearl. The island ceremonies and moonlight enchant Georgia, and she falls in love with Tony, unaware that he works for the pineapple company. Tony, meanwhile, has been calling in installments of the Pineapple Girl's impressions for the island's newspapers, which he has written himself. After the High Priest prays for the acceptance of the pearl by the goddess, Tony and his friend Kimo order the islanders to create a fire beneath the volcano to make it look as if the pearl was fake and the goddess is still angry, thereby promoting further adventures for Georgia. Eventually, Tony, Georgia, Shad and Myrtle escape from the island in Tony's boat and head for the mainland. Tony tries many times to confess to Georgia his part in the pearl scheme, but cannot get up the nerve. As they approach the mainland, he proposes to Georgia and tells her to put on her best dress for an immediate wedding. Meanwhile, Georgia's hometown fiancé Victor, a dentist, and her Uncle Herman have flown to Hawaii to save Georgia from the duplicitous Tony and the dangerous islands. Although by now Tony is pleading with Todhunter to publicly deny the authenticity of the Pineapple Girl's articles so that Georgia will accept him, Victor convinces Georgia that Tony deliberately exploited her. Todhunter refuses to cooperate with Tony, and he is forced to quit. Georgia refuses to believe Tony is in love with her and, oblivious to his attempts to win back her trust, boards the ship for home. Finally, Tony sends an old woman onto the ship to pose as his mother. The woman asks Georgia if she loves Victor and tells her not to let her pride keep her from the man she really loves. Georgia runs off the ship just in time and, although she discovers the woman was a hoax, kisses Tony anyway.
Prince Lei Lani
Wafford The Pig
Nalani De Clercq
Kuulei De Clercq
Robert C. Bruce
A. E. Freudeman
Arthur Hornblow Jr.
Best Dance Direction
Waikiki Wedding -
Crosby is ad-man Tony Marvin, working for J.P. Todhunter's Imperial Pineapples, located in the Hawaiian Islands. To boost sales and promote tourism to the islands, Tony concocts a marketing campaign to search for an "Imperial Pineapple Girl," a spokesmodel of sorts for the company. Once chosen by way of contest, the Imperial Pineapple Girl will spend a few weeks in Hawaii soaking up the sun and finding romance, while her exploits--all arranged by the company--are written up by Tony and published for consumers to read. After selecting the beautiful Georgia Smith (played by Shirley Ross) as their girl, it soon becomes clear that their advertising scheme isn't going to work as planned, and Tony and his boss, Mr. Todhunter, devise a plan to keep Georgia on the island so their campaign doesn't go bust.
Waikiki Wedding was Paramount's answer to the popular musicals produced by rival studio RKO starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and star-studded affairs released by MGM. While this film wasn't nearly as successful as those musicals, it did feature great comedic performances from the supporting cast, in particular Martha Raye and Bob Burns, who make a habit of scene-stealing throughout the film.
The Montana-born Martha Raye had been under contract with Paramount Studios since 1936, with her feature-length debut being the 1936 film Rhythm on the Range also starring fellow Paramount star Bing Crosby. Raye became a comedic staple for the studio, in part because of her distinctive facial features, particularly her prominent mouth which earned her the nickname "The Big Mouth." Raye also starred in several famous radio programs, such as Al Jolson's program for CBS, as well as on the Broadway stage. Aside from her work as an entertainer, Raye also worked extensively for the USO during World War II and later as a volunteer nurse during Vietnam.
For star Bing Crosby, initially he was uninterested in Waikiki Wedding and declined the role. But after the studio reworked the script to better suit their star, Crosby accepted the part. Following Waikiki Wedding, Crosby's popularity continued to rise, hitting its peak in the 1940s and 1950s with an on-screen partnership with his good friend Bob Hope in the famous Road to movies, such as Road to Singapore (1940), Road to Morocco (1942) and Road to Rio (1947). Crosby's career took a serious turn when he won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as Father Chuck O'Malley in Leo McCarey's Going My Way in 1944. Crosby reprised the role in McCarey's spiritual sequel a year later in 1945's The Bells of St. Mary's, also starring Ingrid Bergman. While Crosby explored more dramatic roles during this time, he still returned to comedies and musicals often, starring in two of his most popular films: Mark Sandrich's Holiday Inn in 1942 and White Christmas in 1954 and directed by Michael Curtiz.
The majority of the production on Waikiki Wedding was at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, with second unit photography led by Robert Bruce taking place on-location in Hawaii to be edited into the film post-production.
Waikiki Wedding features impressive original music sung by the film's cast, including Blue Hawaii, Okolehao and Sweet Is the World for You, written by Leo Robin and Ralph Rainger; and the famous Sweet Leilani, which earned an Academy Award for Best Original Song for Harry Owens, who wrote both the music and lyrics.
Director: Frank Tuttle
Producer: Arthur Hornblow, Jr.
Screenplay: Frank Butler, Don Hartman, Walter DeLeon, Francis Martin
Cinematography: Karl Struss
Editing: Paul Weatherwax
Art Direction: Hans Dreier and Robert Usher Music: Leo Shuken
Costume Design: Edith Head
Cast: Bing Crosby (Tony Marvin), Bob Burns (Shad Buggle), Martha Raye (Myrtle Finch), Shirley Ross (Georgia Smith), George Barbier (J.P. Todhunter), Leif Erickson (Dr. Victor Quimby), and Anthony Quinn (Kimo)
By Jill Blake
Waikiki Wedding -
It's all a good excuse for lush tropical sets, dancing Hawaiian extras, lingering shots of moonlit ocean water and several pleasing songs. Martha Raye and Bob Burns are on hand to provide some comedy routines, with Burns seemingly more interested in his pet pig, Wofford, than in Raye. Character actor George Barbier is funny as Crosby's boss, and a never-skinnier Anthony Quinn appears in only his fourth credited role, playing a Pacific Islander named Kimo.
But it's Crosby's sweet music which is the main draw here. Songs (by Ralph Rainger and Leo Robin) include "Blue Hawaii" (sung by Crosby and then reprised when he charmingly teaches it to Shirley Ross), "In a Little Hula Heaven," "Sweet is the Word For You" and the lullaby "Sweet Leilani," written by Harry Owens, which won the Oscar for Best Song. The movie was also nominated for Best Dance Direction.
The plot as a whole plays something like an Astaire-Rogers film, with mistaken identities creating comic situations as the stars come together through light musical numbers. The pace slows noticeably, however, in the second half. Shirley Ross shows off a very nice voice in what was really the prime of her short movie career. Her biggest picture was probably San Francisco (1936), though she also sang memorably with Bob Hope in The Big Broadcast of 1938 (1938). In Waikiki Wedding, she achieves good chemistry with Crosby, especially in their meet-cute scene which is an example of great comic timing.
Waikiki Wedding has received a fine transfer, which is great because that's all you're going to get; there are no extras here, not even any chapter headings. Universal has simply thrown five of Bing Crosby's 1930s and early '40s films onto three DVDs and called the package Bing Crosby: Screen Legend Collection. The other titles are Double Or Nothing (1937), East Side of Heaven (1939), If I Had My Way (1940) and Here Come the Waves (1944). Most of these are seldom seen today on television, making it a nice treat to be able to rediscover Bing Crosby in some of his more forgotten films.
For more information about Waikiki Wedding, visit Universal Studios. To order Waikiki Wedding (only available as part of Bing Crosby: Screen Legend Collection), go to TCM Shopping.
by Jeremy Arnold
According to news items, Bing Crosby initially turned down the starring in role in this film because the story wasn't right for him, and Paramount rewrote the script to get him to accept the role. Hollywood Reporter announced on January 7, 1937 that a unit led by Robert Bruce had left to shoot background scenes in Honolulu, Hawaii. According to a news item in Hollywood Reporter, the owner of "Wafford the Pig," used in various scenes in this film, demanded a payraise for the animal from $60-a-week to $1,000-a-week. Harry Owens won a 1937 Academy Award for Best Song for "Sweet Leilani."
Released in United States 1937
Released in United States 1937