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The Half Naked Truth (1932)

Passed | | Comedy, Romance | 16 December 1932 (USA)
A barker at a down-at-the-heels carnival becomes a powerhouse New York publicity man as he transforms a sideshow dancer into a Broadway sensation.



(screen play), (screen play) | 3 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
Shirley Chambers ...
Hotel Clerk
Robert McKenzie ...
Mary Mason ...
Farrell's Secretary


A barker at a down-at-the-heels carnival becomes a powerhouse New York publicity man as he transforms a sideshow dancer into a Broadway sensation. Written by David S. Smith

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Any moment her gun might point at the prominent man of this town who had done her wrong! (original ad) See more »


Comedy | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »





Release Date:

16 December 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Phantom Fame  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Composer Max Steiner plays the conductor of the Broadway show. (He also can be seen conducting the studio orchestra in the opening titles of RKO's "Girl Crazy" the same year). See more »


Shirley Chambers' onscreen character name is "Gladys," but she says her name is "Ella Beebee." She is never called Gladys. See more »


James 'Jimmy' Bates: You want to go on the stage, doncha?
Gladys, aka Ella Beebee and Eve: I don't know whether I do or not.
James 'Jimmy' Bates: Has your name ever been on a marquee?
Gladys, aka Ella Beebee and Eve: What's a marquee?
See more »


Hootchie Kootchie
Danced by Lupe Velez
See more »

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User Reviews

Mister Tracy & Miss Velez Paint The Town Red
11 May 2002 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

A carnival barker crashes onto Broadway, hoping to keep THE HALF NAKED TRUTH secret that both he and his ‘Turkish princess' are as phony as a three dollar bill...

RKO Studios produced this highly amusing, but rarely seen, comedy with flair, exuberance, and first-rate performances. Broadway is given a few lighthearted kicks in the shin by its cinematic cousin and a good time is had by all.

In the kind of role he could almost play in his sleep, Lee Tracy plays an over-the-top promoter who engages in wild escapades to get his ladies noticed by the press & public. He is conniving, untruthful & underhanded; he is also wonderfully funny. Tracy was the master at playing the anti-hero, the unromantic lover, the average-looking guy with the extra moxie it takes to get on top. Had his career not come crashing down around him due to a drunken indiscretion while filming in Mexico for MGM, he would probably today be remembered as one of Hollywood's top stars. As it is, he's lucky to be remembered at all.

Lupe Velez is a terrific foil for Tracy. The Tamale, as he calls her, is pungent, peppery & red hot. As a temperamental hootchy-kootchy dancer who makes it from a carny midway to the Great White Way, she is perfectly cast in what remains one of her best roles. It is sad, however, watching this lively lady, to remember that she would die despondent & alone in 1944, a suicide at 36.

Three top film comics help enliven the proceedings: gravely-voiced Eugene Pallette, who as Tracy's sidekick must impersonate eunuchs & nudists to further the scam; unctuous Franklin Pangborn as an officious hotel clerk; and blustery Frank Morgan as an imperious theatrical impresario who finds himself the target of Tracy's wild schemes.

Movie mavens will recognize celebrated movie composer Max Steiner appearing unbilled as the orchestra leader during Lupe's Broadway rendition of ‘Hey, Mr. Carpenter.'

23 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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