Yacht owner is stranded on island with her socialite friends, a wacky husband and wife research team, and a singing sailor.Yacht owner is stranded on island with her socialite friends, a wacky husband and wife research team, and a singing sailor.Yacht owner is stranded on island with her socialite friends, a wacky husband and wife research team, and a singing sailor.
Droopy comes pretty close to stealing the picture, especially after Leon Errol persuades Crosby to put roller-skates on him while they're still on the ship. He also has another trick, he won't hear any other song but Goodnight, Lovely Little Lady one of the songs written for this film by Mack Gordon and Harry Revel.
Gordon and Revel's best known numbers from this are May I and Love Thy Neighbor which sold a few platters for Bing back in 1934. Soon after writing a score for another Crosby picture Two For Tonight, they moved over to 20th Century Fox where they scored some of Alice Faye's films.
Ray Milland in his autobiography Wide-eyed in Babylon recounts a tragic story during the filming of We're Not Dressing. The bear trainer gave specific instructions that any women whose time of the month it was were not to be on the set that day. One of them lied and the trainer was badly injured and later died of those injuries sustained at the paws of a super hormonally charged bear. He also said that Paramount signed him to a long term contract on the strength of that film.
The six castaways were not quite alone on the island. Burns and Allen were there also with their brand of surreal comedy. Hollywood never knew quite what to do with them. God knows they were funny as all get out, but rarely were asked to carry a whole film.
Ethel Merman was another problem. Like her famous Broadway rival Mary Martin, she never quite made it in Hollywood. Her biggest success was always on Broadway. During the 1930s she would support, Crosby, Eddie Cantor, and most memorably Ty Power and Alice Faye and Don Ameche in Alexander's Ragtime Band. Her number It's The Animal In Me was cut from the picture, although it's briefly sung at the end. Paramount saved it and put it intact into their Big Broadcast of 1936 the following year.
At the time We're Not Dressing was shooting, Carole Lombard was romantically involved with Bing Crosby's singing rival crooner Russ Columbo. Columbo visited the set often and he and Crosby were friendly rivals and were known to do some impromptu singing during breaks. If only some sound man had left the microphone on. Columbo later died that year of a gunshot wound from an antique dueling pistol, a case that a lot of people felt was never satisfactorily solved.
So with Crosby, Lombard, Burns and Allen, Ethel Merman, Leon Errol just the sound of that casts spells some wacky wonderful fun.
- Aug 13, 2004