Tony Marvin is a laid back but incredibly successful promoter and fair-haired boy for J. P. Todhunter's pineapple company located in beautiful Hawaii. He gets the company to sponsor a contest in which the winner gets a Hawaiian vacation and is obligated to write articles on the islands which, when published, will constitute a publicity coup for the company. Unfortunately, Georgia Smith, the winner, feels lonely and isolated in the Islands and wants to return to the States. With help from buddy Shad Buggle Tony tries to romantically divert Georgia without letting her know his true motivation. Written by
Bing Crosby sang "Sweet Leilani" by Harry Owens, which went on to win an Academy Award for Best Song. It beat out George and Ira Gershwin's "They Can't Take That Away from Me", which is from the 1937 film "Shall we Dance", and which, unlike the semi-forgotten "Sweet Leilani", became a classic. (Even the song "Blue Hawaii", also written for "Waikiki Wedding", is today more famous than "Sweet Leilani", thanks to Elvis Presley.) Bing Crosby sang four different Oscar winning songs in his films. See more »
When Martha Raye sings "Okolehua", her hairstyle changes from being down at the sides of her face, to up away from her face in the middle of the number. See more »
Fine thing! Shanghaied in Honolulu! Well, why don't you do something about it?
Well, shucks, them boys won't give us trouble if we let 'em have their own way. They ain't cannibals. Besides, if they was, you'd be safe.
[She starts to respond but realizes her looks have been impugned and pauses after a double take]
Why, sure, I'd...
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In 1937 Bing Crosby made a celebrated trip to the Hawaiian Islands and stayed about a month. Of course being the mega star he was at the time, the trip was accompanied with the usual fanfare and publicity and when he got back Paramount took full advantage of the publicity with Waikiki Wedding.
It would have been nice if in fact they'd sent him back to Hawaii and did some beautiful color location photography, but I assume that Adolph Zukor felt that for the studios own homegrown South Sea island gal, Dorothy Lamour never got off Paramount's backlot, they wouldn't do more for Bing.
However they did give Crosby a good, amusing plot and some nice songs to sing. Crosby plays a publicist for a Pineapple company who has had the idea to sponsor a Miss Pineapple contest with the winner getting an all expenses paid trip to Hawaii and to send back articles about the great time she's having and hawk the virtues of Hawaiian Pineapples. But the winner, Shirley Ross, ain't havin' such a good time, she's bored. So Bing concocts this elaborately staged adventure involving a stolen idol, a volcano, some natives and Shirley loves it and him.
It all resolves itself in the end. George Barbier who's a favorite character actor of mine from the 30s plays Bing's boss at his choleric best. Crosby gets good support from Martha Raye and Bob Burns. Martha Raye was doing the second of three films she did with Bing. Bob Burns, who is forgotten today was a regular on Bing's Kraft Music Hall radio show. He played a hillbilly type character with a touch of Will Rogers without the topical humor. He did two films with Bing and retired from show business in 1941.
Ralph Rainger and Leo Robin did the score which includes the classic Blue Hawaii, reprised later by Elvis Presley. However the number one song in the movie at the time was Sweet Leilani, word and music by Hawaiian composer Harry Owens. Bing heard the song while in Hawaii and insisted it be included in the picture. It won an Oscar that year for best song and Crosby had a big hit record of it.
Nice Entertaining movie in the Crosby manner.
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