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Naughty But Nice (1939)

 -  Comedy | Musical  -  1 July 1939 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 152 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 1 critic

Professor Hardwick teaches at Winfield College and detests the new swing music that is the craze. He has written a rhapsody which he takes to New York to be published. Staying with his Aunt... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Zelda Manion
Professor Donald 'Don' Hardwick
Gale Page ...
Linda McKay
Helen Broderick ...
Aunt Martha Hogan
Ed 'Eddie' Clark
Joe Dirk
Max 'Slapsie Maxie' Rosenbloom ...
Killer (as Maxie Rosenblum)
Jerry Colonna ...
Allie Gray
Luis Alberni ...
Stanislaus Pysinski
Vera Lewis ...
Aunt Annabella Hardwick
Elizabeth Dunne ...
Aunt Henrietta Hardwick
William B. Davidson ...
Samuel 'Sam' 'Simsy' Hudson - Music Publisher (as Bill Davidson)
Granville Bates ...
Judge Kennith B. Walters, Superior Court
Halliwell Hobbes ...
Dean Burton, Winfield College


Professor Hardwick teaches at Winfield College and detests the new swing music that is the craze. He has written a rhapsody which he takes to New York to be published. Staying with his Aunt Martha, he is surrounded by swing and after a few drinks, he is photographed hanging on the chandelier. He finds that he can only sell his rhapsody to Eddie and Miss McKay puts lyrics to it. It is a big swing sensation and the partnership of Hardwick and McKay crank out the hits until Zelda breaks up the team. Zelda wants to sing the hot songs and have Hudson, the Home of the Hits, publish the music. Written by Tony Fontana <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The "Oomph" Girl's Greatest Tri"Oomph"


Comedy | Musical


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1 July 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Professor Steps Out  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Referenced in The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956) See more »


I'm Happy About the Whole Thing
(1939) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Played on piano by Gale Page
Sung by Dick Powell
Variations played as background music
See more »

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User Reviews

A Disappointment All Round...
4 May 2001 | by (San Diego, California) – See all my reviews

As a Dick Powell fan, the premise of this picture sounded great: a college music professor, despite his disapproval of "swing" music, ends up becoming the best-selling composer on the pop hit parade. The comic opportunities in this scenario, not to mention Powell's mellifluous singing voice, are needlessly squandered however--no doubt this movie disappointed Powell's fans back in '39 as much as it did this viewer in 2001.

The story promises great things and delivers on none of them:

Powell writes hit songs with a beautiful lyricist, but we never see them working together. Powell never even sings in this picture, despite 5 new songs by the same team (Johnny Mercer & Harry Warren) who gave us "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby" which Powell crooned to Olivia de Havilland in the previous year's "Hard to Get".

They don't even let Dick Powell BE Dick Powell: he plays a nerdy guy lacking in social grace and appeal--and two women vie for his attention. Granted, Powell plays a convincing, somewhat lovable "four-eyed" geek, but the plot keeps hinting that, with a few potent "lemonades", he's a dancing dynamo and the life of the party! But everytime he heads out to the dance floor to strut his stuff there's a fade out and we only find out what a blast he had the night before from an item in the newspaper.

What great fun it might have been if the college prof learned to sing, swing and love. But he stays a nerd, writes hit tunes reluctantly and ends up with the girl formulaically without a spark between them. [Sigh...]

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