The Gang’s All Here is a 1943 American Twentieth Century FoxTechnicolor musical film starring Alice Faye, Carmen Miranda and James Ellison. The film, directed and choreographed by Busby Berkeley, is known for its use of musical numbers with fruit hats. Included among the 10 highest-grossing films of that year, it was at that time Fox’s most expensive production.
Musical highlights include Carmen Miranda performing an insinuating, witty version of “You Discover You’re in New York” that lampoons fads, fashions, and wartime shortages of the time. The film features Miranda’s “The Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat”, which because of its sexual innuendo (dozens of scantily clad women handling very large bananas), apparently prevented the film from being shown in Brazil on its initial release. In the US, the censors dictated that the chorus girls must hold the bananas at the waist and not at the hip. Alice Faye sings “A Journey to a Star,” “No Love, No Nothin’,” and the surreal finale “The Polka-Dot Polka.”
The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Color (James Basevi, Joseph C. Wright, Thomas Little). It was the last musical Faye made as a Hollywood superstar. She was pregnant with her second daughter during filming. In 2014, The Gang’s All Here was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
A man sings “Brazil” as the opening credits fade to the disembarkation of a ship, SS Brazil. As the exotic goods are netted off the ship the camera pans down to the archetypal exotic fruit hat on Carmen Miranda who reprises the song.
Wealthy businessman Andrew J. “A. J.” Mason Sr. takes his nervous partner, Peyton Potter, to the Club New Yorker for a celebratory evening with his son, Sgt. Andrew J. Mason Jr., who is about to report for active duty in the Army. A. J. and Andy enjoy the show, which features master of ceremonies Phil Baker and dancer Tony De Marco, while Potter worries about what his wife Blossom would say if she knew he was there. While Potter is trapped into dancing with Brazilian sensation Dorita, Andy becomes intrigued by entertainer Eadie Allen. Phil warns Andy that because Eadie dances at the Broadway Canteen between shows, she will not go out on a date with him, but Andy follows her to the canteen and tells her that his name is Sgt. Pat Casey so that she will not be intimidated by his wealth. Despite her insistence that she cannot date servicemen outside the canteen, Eadie is charmed by Andy and agrees to meet him later when he pursues her to the nightclub. Eadie and Andy spend the evening talking and falling in love, and the next day, Eadie bids him farewell at the train station and promises to write every day.
Andy distinguishes himself in battle in the South Pacific, and is granted a furlough after being awarded a medal. A. J. is thrilled and plans to throw a welcome home party for Andy at the Club New Yorker. Phil cannot accommodate his plans, however, as the club is closed for two weeks while the company rehearses a new show. Munificent as always, A. J. invites the performers to rehearse at his and Potter’s homes, where they can throw a lavish garden party and war bond rally to welcome Andy. Potter is perturbed about the arrangements when he learns that Blossom knows Phil from her former days as an entertainer, and his chagrin grows when Tony’s partner cannot perform and he asks Potter’s daughter Vivian to dance with him. Hoping to persuade the stodgy Potter to allow Vivian to perform, Blossom tells him that Phil has threatened to reveal her wild past if Vivian is not in the show. Potter acquiesces, but his problems grow when he is pursued by the romantic-minded Dorita. When not chasing Potter, Dorita learns that Vivian has a boyfriend named Andy, and that he and Eadie’s “Casey” are the same man.
Complications arise as Dorita tries to keep Vivian and Eadie from discovering Andy’s deception. When Andy and the real Pat Casey arrive at the club, however, Eadie learns the truth. Andy proclaims that he wants to marry her and not Vivian, but Eadie insists on breaking off their relationship, as she believes that Vivian really cares for him. During the show, however, Vivian tells Eadie that she is going to Broadway to perform as Tony’s permanent partner, and reveals that she and Andy were never truly in love. As the show comes to a close, Eadie and Andy reconcile, and everyone joins in the final song.