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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.


Gregory La Cava


Gregory La Cava (screen play), Corey Ford (screen play) | 3 more credits »


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Complete credited cast:
Lupe Velez ... Teresita
Lee Tracy ... Jimmy Bates
Eugene Pallette ... Achilles
Frank Morgan ... Merle Farrell
Shirley Chambers ... Gladys aka Ella Beebee
Franklin Pangborn ... Mr. Wellburton - Hotel Clerk
Robert McKenzie ... Colonel Munday
Mary Mason ... Miss 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


A million candle-power romance loaded with laughter (original ad) See more »


Comedy | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »





English | Spanish

Release Date:

16 December 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Phantom Fame See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


In the original script, Achilles ( Eugene Pallette ) was more specifically referred to as a eunuch, but the MPAA, in a letter to producer David O. Selznick suggested that word, as well as a few more sexually-suggestive lines, be removed. Thus, there are two attempts at getting that point across - during registration at the hotel and when Achilles speaks to the maid and she asks if he's a "different" kind of Turk. See more »


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


Gladys, aka Ella Beebee and Eve: "To be, or not to be, that is the question. Is it best to go on suffering or should one end it all with a bare body?" What does that mean?
Achilles: It's bodkin!
Gladys, aka Ella Beebee and Eve: What's a bodkin?
Achilles: Oh, let's just pass that.
See more »


The Wedding March
(1843) (uncredited)
from "A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61"
Music by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
In the score at the end
See more »

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User Reviews

The Half Naked Lupe is A Good Enough Reason To See This
11 September 2013 | by HarlowMGMSee all my reviews

Delicious Hispanic comedienne Lupe Velez's iconic Mexican SPITFIRE series was seven years in the future when she made this movie in 1932, THE HALF NAKED TRUTH. A star since the late 1920's, Lupe was one of the most gorgeous women in Hollywood and had a great career despite the limited casting opportunities that came her way (unlike her contemporary Dolores Del Rio, she would never play anything but a Latina). I'm a big admirer of Lupe's and really looked forward to this film especially with one of the great comedy directors of the era, Gregory La Cava, at the helm and cohorts as talented as Lee Tracy, Eugene Palette, and Franklin Pangborn. The movie is all about hyping a modest talent (Velez's cooch dancer) into major stardom thanks to brash, shameless publicist Lee Tracy. I found this rather ironic because it's seems this movie itself is a classic example of hype, it gets raves in many corners in my opinion simply because the great La Cava is in charge, however the results are quite disappointing. Several of the situations are great but never live up to their potential, notably the early carnival segment.

Lupe is one of the stars of a flea-bitten small time carnival show that plays small towns to indifferent audiences, Tracy and Palette have behind the scenes jobs at the carnival. When the carnival's publicist quits because of the late paychecks, Tracy sees it as his opportunity to step into the job and become a big shot. Acting as the carnival barker, he announces Lupe is traumatized by this visit to their locale as she has just learned a local man is her father, the results of a 20-year-old indiscretion involving her mother, then a carnival girl like she is today. Tracy proclaims Lupe will reveal the name of the man who fathered her at tonight's performance, which perks up the previously disinterested locals who come a packin' into the show later that night. Alas, it all falls apart (regrettably as it would have been fun to see it pulled off) and in the resulting big brawl, Tracy hauls tail out of town with Eugene and Lupe as they steal a car and head for New York and the big time where Tracy successfully passes off Velez as an eccentric princess with a pet lion and desire for a show business career, a stunt which quickly lands her a slot in a major Broadway revue.

Despite her top billing Lupe's part is regrettably secondary not only to Tracy but also Eugene Palette in perhaps the largest role this great character actor ever played in a talkie. Tracy's con man will remind many of his similar part in the next year's BOMBSHELL (a vastly superior film) opposite Jean Harlow, unfortunately his character is even less likable here and when he maliciously sabotages Velez's stardom when she takes up with producer Frank Morgan he just seems mean. Palette, on the other hand, is hilarious at every moment and there's a funny quite racy running gag of something mysteriously written about him by Tracy on the hotel's guest book, perhaps so that he can share a room with La Velez, probably that he's a eunuch but possibly that he's gay or somehow less than a man. Tracy also gets a racy gem of a parting line in his last scene with Frank Morgan but this script honestly needed another rewrite, there aren't that many laughs although many scenes seem prime for them. A low point is the occasionally unimpressive production design, the ritzy New York hotel the gang is staying at is rather sparsely furnished and worse there's a shot of an airplane flying that is blatantly a toy; couldn't they have found some stock footage of a real plane? THE HALF NAKED TRUTH is a fairly decent time filler and enjoyable even if you've undoubtedly seen it all before. And that fact that the luscious Ms. Velez wears the skimpiest outfits she ever wrote in a movie will surely be enough of a reason to check this out.

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