23 user 11 critic

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 »




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


Just another publicity stunt...Her agent was full of 'em! (original ad) See more »


Comedy | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »

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 »


James 'Jimmy' Bates: Now that doom has struck the old time carney, the day of Depression is past. The day of reconstruction is here! Bucolic gentry will no longer pay for the Old Faldaldo. You can no longer sell the Fat Lady for a dime. The Day of the Snake is over! The Strong Man shall weep. The world is greased with banana oil. Banana oil, professor! The people want excitement, sensation! Baloney and we've got to give it to 'em, Colonel. I'm tellin' ya! We've got to give it to 'em.
See more »


O! Mister Carpenter
(1932) (uncredited)
Lyrics by Edward Eliscu
Music by Harry Akst
Performed several times by Lupe Velez, often with Lee Tracy on piano
Also used as background music
See more »

User Reviews

a carny ride of the screwball variety
11 March 2006 | by shane_604See all my reviews

I was first attracted to "The Half Naked Truth" by the reputation of Lupe Velez. I had encountered her name linked in a romantic but ultimately tragic way to Gary Cooper. They were both reputed to be promiscuous and she at least to be violently jealous. He was mentioned in connection also in her suicide in that he tried to help her but as a married man who had long moved on but remained friends. Further reading suggested she had a very tough childhood the child of a prostitute who would turn tricks herself. So I checked out the movie out of curiosity about her.

As mentioned by other reviewers , Lee Tracy is a driving force in this picture, as the hyper-active scheming cunning press agent, and his pace and presence swept me along in the fun. Yes, his character is a scoundrel. Yet he is an entertaining one that gives a twisted kind of value for his con. That value is delivered by the sexy and always entertaining Velez, she is the payoff that makes most forget that there is a con. However, Jimmy Bates is not just using her he's making her the toast of Broadway.

This story, an early screwball comedy, presents us with two true to life screwballs who create a kind of chemistry that makes a molecule out of elements. When they are together fighting or scheming or making love, sparks are in the air. This is because Velez really is a Mexican spitfire and she gives as good as she gets. Just as Bates is ready to propose to her he discovers her making time with the big-time producer. She also plays a fine fake Princess when he asks it of her. They practically drive each other through the scenes with their energy bouncing off each other and this makes the half naked truth quite a romp.

The supporting cast provide strong support. Eugene Palette takes the sidekick role even further in that he has his own operation going on with chamber maid Shirley Chambers, and he ultimately moves the story along both in the beginning and the end. This is an underrated gem, a veritable diamond in the rough.

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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 »

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