Du Barry Was a Lady (1943)

Passed  |   |  Comedy, Fantasy, Musical  |  13 August 1943 (USA)
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Reviews: 24 user | 7 critic

Hat check man Louis Blore is in love with nightclub star May Daly. May, however, is love with a poor dancer, but wants to marry for money. When Louis wins the Irish Sweepstakes, he asks May... See full summary »



(play), (play) (as B.G. DeSylva) , 3 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
May Daly / Madame Du Barry
Alec Howe / Black Arrow
Rags Ragland ...
Charlie / Dauphin (as 'Rags' Ragland)
Rami - the Swami / Taliostra
Mr. Jones / Duc de Choiseul
Willie / Duc de Rigor
George Givot ...
Cheezy / Count de Roquefort
Louise Beavers ...
Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra ...


Hat check man Louis Blore is in love with nightclub star May Daly. May, however, is love with a poor dancer, but wants to marry for money. When Louis wins the Irish Sweepstakes, he asks May to marry him and she accepts even though she doesn't love him. Soon after, Louis has an accident and gets knocked on the head, where he dreams that he's King Louis XV pursuing the infamous Madame Du Barry. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's GREATEST MUSICAL EXTRAVAGANZA (original Herald) See more »


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

13 August 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Gentleman's Choice  »

Box Office


$1,239,222 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This was Zero Mostel's film debut. See more »


During the scene in Madame Du Barry's boudoir when King Louis XV is chasing Du Barry around the dressing table, a man sitting in a chair can be seen reflected in the mirror. See more »


Black Arrow: How embarrassing, to be found hiding behind a woman's skirts.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Three Oxford Boys are credited orally by the MC ('Gene Kelly') as The Oxford Boys. See more »


Remake of Vamping Venus (1928) See more »


Madame, I Like Your Crepe Suzettes
Music by Burton Lane
Lyrics by Ralph Freed
Sung and danced by Red Skelton and Lucille Ball (dubbed by Martha Mears)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Funny in Parts, with Mere Hints of the Stars' Talents
9 October 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Most people who know of Lucille Ball's career arc are aware that this was one of her higher-profile films, with a large budget, vibrant color, and A-list co-stars. What could go wrong? Well, nothing at the time. But with the passage of time the movie has gotten a bit stale, and drags in several parts. Ball's materialistic character is not very likable from the start, and she's introduced in a ghastly musical number with very conspicuously dubbed vocals. Couldn't they have found someone who's voice actually sounded like it could possibly be coming out of Lucille Ball?

They should have cast Ethel Merman, who played May Daly on Broadway. After all, the character didn't HAVE to be drop dead gorgeous. But it does help explain why two men would continue to pursue such an obviously shallow diva, even if she can't really sing.

The main event of this film is a dream sequence, but the setup to that point seems interminable! And all we have to keep us watching in between is one outstanding dance number by a game Gene Kelly and mildly witty banter between Red Skelton and an underused Virginia O'Brien. Skelton would be much better later in his career by toning down the Vaudevillesque physical comedy, which only appears more cloyingly corny with age. (Bert Lahr, who played the stage role was the same way.) There is also a musical interlude with three gentlemen who do vocal impressions that will definitely have you pushing the fast-forward button on your remote.

If you have the patience, there are some enjoyable musical numbers and just a few genuine laughs to keep you amused. The funniest line by far in the film is delivered by uncredited old lady Clara Blandick (Auntie Em from "The Wizard of Oz") in one of the Cleanest Subway Cars Ever to be used as a movie setting. That says it all about the dialogue between the leads. (The reason being is the good stuff from the Broadway show was deemed too lewd for the film.)

Obviously a lot went into the costumes and scenery for this film, and that alone makes it worth watching, as well as for the cast members who are always worth watching even if this isn't their best by any stretch.

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