24 September 2007 | bkoganbing
Martha Raye's Legs Were the Sexiest?
A few years after Give Me a Sailor was out, Betty Grable finally hit the big time over at 20th Century Fox. Those beautiful legs of her's on which perched the USA's all American girl were her stock and trade. Reportedly Lloyd's of London had them insured in seven figures.
So when part of the plot is Martha Raye winning a radio contest with a picture of her legs, it strains the credulity a lot. Of course the folks at Paramount obviously did not read into the future about Betty Grable's legs being her fortune.
Give Me a Sailor is one of the weaker of Bob Hope's early films. He was co-starred with Martha Raye a lot and note the billing where she's above him in the title and would be that way in all of their joint projects in the late Thirties.
Raye and Grable are sisters, Raye's the plain jane who's the good cook, but with apparently great legs. Grable's the beautiful sister whose gams never got noticed and she can't cook to save her life.
The sisters are being courted by two brothers, Bob Hope and Jack Whiting who are both in the Navy. Well at least both are after Betty with the other maybe doomed to settle for Martha. After a lot of crazy screwball antics which finds them at one point engaged to the wrong girl, all is right in the end. Guess who winds up with who though.
Jack Whiting made very few films, but he was a leading Broadway musical star and had the distinction of being Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.'s stepdad. Whiting married Anne Sully Fairbanks after her divorce from Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. was finalized. He has a long list of Broadway credits stretching almost 40 years. He had a pleasant enough singing voice, but as a film personality he was bland. Hope, Raye, and Grable just run all over him. I guess Hope needed to wait for Bing Crosby for a singer who could hold his own and more with him on screen.
Raye has some funny moments in the film, especially when she and Hope are stuck out in the woods together. She's the best one in the film by far.
Fans of Rapid Robert will like Give Me a Sailor as certainly will fans of Martha Raye and Betty Grable. If there are any Jack Whiting fans out there, this is one of the few places you'll see your man.