DirectorH. C. Potter
Joseph A. McDonough (assistant)
Edward Cline (additional comedy scenes) WriterNat Perrin, Warren Wilson, Alex Gottlieb Release dateDecember 26, 1941 (1941-12-26) DirectorsH. C. Potter, Edward F. Cline CastOle Olsen (Ole Olsen), Chic Johnson (Chic Johnson), Martha Raye (Betty Johnson), Hugh Herbert (Quimby), Mischa Auer (Pepi), Jane Frazee (Kitty Rand) Similar moviesBirdman, Pitch Perfect 2, Frozen, The Dark Knight, Aladdin, 2012
TaglineAT LAST IT'S ON THE SCREEN! Greater than the Stage Show!
Swing dancing from the movie hellzapoppin 1941
Hellzapoppin' is a 1941 Universal Pictures adaptation of the musical of the same name directed by H.C. Potter. The cast includes Ole Olsen and Chic Johnson (who produced and starred in it on Broadway), Martha Raye, Mischa Auer, Shemp Howard, Whitey's Lindy Hoppers and The Six Hits.
Shemp Howard begins the film as the projectionist of a cinema, displaying on its screen what appears to be the start of a song-and-dance number whose classily dressed performers walk down a staircase - which collapses as in a fun-house ride, sliding them all straight to hell. Demons punish them in various ways. Ole and Chic arrive in the midst of the mayhem by taxi, and after a bit of funny business step back to reveal that it's a movie sound stage. They work for Miracle Pictures, a company using the slogan "If it's a good picture, it's a Miracle!" A mousy screenwriter (Elisha Cook, Jr.) outlines his script for the screen adaptation of Hellzapoppin', and the rest of the movie depicts Cook's crazy script. Among the topical humor is Johnson picking up a sled named "Rosebud" and saying "I thought they'd burnt that" (Olsen and Johnson were friends of Orson Welles, whose film Citizen Kane closes with Kane's childhood sled being burnt).
The film has a frenetic pace, and often breaks the 'Fourth wall', including inner 'fourth walls' introduced by its nonlinear, metafictional narrative.
The 1942 Academy Award nomination for Best Song for "Pig Foot Pete," (which lost to "White Christmas"), was attributed to Hellzapoppin', but the song never appeared in the film -- it was actually performed in another Universal production from the same year, the Abbott and Costello film Keep 'Em Flying.
Hellzapoppin 1941 full movie
Ole Olsen as Ole Olsen
Chic Johnson as Chic Johnson
Martha Raye as Betty Johnson
Hugh Herbert as Quimby
Jane Frazee as Kitty Rand
Robert Paige as Jeff Hunter
Mischa Auer as Pepi
Richard Lane as Director
Lewis Howard as Woody Taylor
Clarence Kolb as Andrew Rand
Nella Walker as Mrs. Rand
Shemp Howard as Louie
Elisha Cook Jr. as Harry Selby
Frank Darien as Man calling for Mrs. Jones
Catherine Johnson as Lena, lady looking for Oscar
Gus Schilling as Orchestra Conductor
Slim Gaillard as himself, part of Slim and Slam
Slam Stewart as himself, part of Slim and Slam
Whitey's Lindy Hoppers (including Norma Miller as a cook) as the Harlem Congeroos
Dale Van Sickel as Frankenstein's monster (uncredited)