Directed by Frank Tuttle; screenplay, William Anthony
McGuire, George Oppenheimer, Arthur Sheekman and Nat
Perrin; based on a story by George S. Kaufman and Robert
E. Sherwood; music director, Alfred Newman; songs by Al
Dubin, Harry Warren and L. Wolfe Gilbert; dances staged
by Busby Berkeley; photographer, Gregg Toland; editor,
Stuart Heisler; art director, Richard Day; costumes, John
Harkrider. Running time: 93 minutes. Released by United
Artists. Premiere: Rivoli Theater, New York, 12/25/33.
Eddie, Eddie Cantor; Olga, Ruth Etting; Princess Sylvia,
Gloria Stuart; Emperor Valerius, Edward Arnold; Josephus,
David Manners; Empress Agrippa, Verree Teasdale; Major-
domo, Alan Mowbray; Manius, John Rutherford; Slave Dancer,
Grace Poggi; Warren F. Cooper, Willard Robertson; Mayor,
Harry Holman; Police Chief Charles R. Pratt, Charles C.
Wilson; Beauty Salon Manager, Jane Darwell.
The 1933 Goldwyn Girls: Katherine Mauk, Rosalie Fromson,
Mary Lange, Lucille Ball, Vivan Keiffer, Barabara Pepper, Theo
Plane, Iris Shunn (Iris Meredith), Jane Hamilton, Gigi Parrish,
Bonnie Bannon, and Dolores Casey.
Also in the cast:
Lee Kohlmar, Stanley Fields, Charles Arnt, Clarence Wilson,
Stanley Andrews, Stanley Blystone, Harry Cording, Lane
Chandler, William Wagner, Louise Carver, Francis Ford,
Leo Willis, Duke York, Frank Hagney, Michael Mark, Dick
Alexander, Paul Porcasi, John Ince, Billy Barty, Aileen
Riggin, The Abbottiers (Florence Wilson, Rose Kirsner,
Genevieve Irwin, Dolly Bell).
"Build a Little Home" (Eddie Cantor, Goldwyn Girls,
"No More Love" (Ruth Etting, Goldwyn Girls, danced by
"Keep Young and Beautiful" (Eddie Cantor, Goldwyn Girls,
"Tax on Love" (Eddie Cantor)
Finale: "Build a Little House" (Eddie Cantor, chorus)
Eddie Cantor stars in this musical-comedy farce as "Eddie," a genial, wistful loner
who stumbles upon corruption in his home town of West Rome, Oklahoma. He sides
with a group of poor townspeople (one of whom is played by Lucille Ball) who are
being evicted from their homes for failure to pay their mortgages... and is himself
thrown out of town.
Trudging along the highway, Eddie daydreams his way back to Ancient Rome, where
things are not much better... He is arrested by a group of Roman soldiers, who turn
him over to slave auctioneers. Because of his strange and amusing personality, he
escapes torture and gets assigned to the home of the emperor (Edward Arnold) as a
food taster. He also makes the acquaintance of a deposed courtesan, played by the
popular singer, Ruth Etting.
The musical highlight of the film comes when Cantor, trying to escape the palace
guards, wanders into the quarters of the emperor's ladies (The Goldwyn Girls), a
harem of splendid proportions. (Lucy, of course, is one of the beauties.)
Eventually, Eddie makes his escape from Rome in a wild chariot chase, and after
getting knocked out, he awakens to find himself back in modern-day West Rome.
By now the corrupt officials have been exposed, and Eddie is hailed as the hero of
Surrounded by beauty: Cantor (in blackface) has Lucy peering over his left shoulder, and
co-star Ruth Etting peering over the right.
Goldwyn (seated, left) and Cantor (seated, far right) watch Busby Berkeley rehearse the
Goldwyn Girls. That's a blonde Lucy on the lower right.