Panama Hattie

Adaptation of Cole Porter's Broadway musical about a nightclub owner in Panama, who takes on Nazi spies.

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Ships To: USA
Made To Order DVD
Genre:   Musical
Director:   Norman Z. Mcleod
Writers:   Herbert Fields
Cast:   Red Skelton, Ann Sothern, Ben Blue, Lena Horne, Dan Dailey, Rags Ragland
Theatrical Release Date:   09/01/1942
Panama Hattie


by PowerReviews
Panama Hattie

(based on 1 review)

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Reviewed by 1 customer

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(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)


Get It for Lena and the Berrys

By Bill

from Lakewood, CO

About Me Movie Buff

Verified Reviewer


  • Lena Horne
  • Print Quality
  • The Berry Brothers


  • Misuse of Dan Dailey
  • The Stupid Sailors

Best Uses

    Comments about Panama Hattie:

    On Broadway, "Panama Hattie" was a Cole Porter musical about a brassy nightclub owner and performer (played by Ethel Merman) who wants to marry a rich naval officer and has to bust a spy ring to prove her "worthiness". The movie version is about three idiot sailors who have a friend called Panama Hattie (played listlessly by Ann Sothern). The sailors bumble and blather for 78 minutes and then accidentally expose a World War II spy ring.If you're a die-hard Red Skelton fan, you will probably like this movie. If, like me, you're ambivalent about Skelton and think some of his characterizations are genuinely funny while others are just plain stupid, you'll put this movie firmly into the stupid category. Even worse, the stupidity is tripled by the performances of Ragland and Blue as the other two sailors. Dan Dailey plays Hattie's rich paramour, but it's a worthless role because he never gets to sing or dance. Most of Cole Porter's songs have neen eliminated and have been replaced by lesser songs from lesser composers. When the movie was completed, it was deemed a disaster and new scenes were filmed and more songs were dropped. What began as a musical comedy was now a Red Skelton comedy with some music.The thing that saves this film from total mediocrity is the presence of four African-American performers. Lena Horne had just been signed by MGM and this was her first film for them (it was not her screen debut). The Berry Brothers were a trio of "flash dancers", much in the style of the Nicholas Brothers. Together and separately, they perform three numbers that bring the movie alive. Beginning a long-standing MGM policy, these numbers were designed so they could be cut from the film in the southern states without disrupting the flow (such as it is) of the story. Also, Lena and the Berrys received no on-screen credit. This DVD is in excellent condition with fine picture and sound. As with most of the Archive musicals,. there are plenty of chapter markers so you can jump to your favorite scenes. My favorites are Chapters 5, 10 and 27.

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