Louisiana Purchase (1941): Irving Cummings’ Musical Comedy, Starring Bob Hope

Irving Cummings directed Louisiana Purchase, a musical comedy, starring Bob Hope, in his first feature in Technicolor, Vera Zorina, and Victor Moore.

Louisiana Purchase

Theatrical release poster

A Paramount production, it’s an adaptation of Irving Berlin’s 1940 Broadway musical of the same name, with Robert Emmett Dolan as musical director, as he had been for the play.

The film satirizes the Democratic Party and political corruption.

The title refers to the State of Louisiana offering to drop the deceased leader Huey Long’s controversial Share Our Wealth program, and fully support President Franklin Roosevelt (FDR) and his New Deal.

In return, FDR promised federal dollars for public works in Louisiana, a deal cynically referred to by many as the second Louisiana Purchase.

Starring Paramount’s comedian Bob Hope in the role William Gaxton played on stage, the film featured Vera Zorina, Victor Moore and Irène Bordoni reprising their stage roles.

Raoul Pene Du Bois did the production and costume design and was Oscar nominated for Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Color along with Stephen Seymour.

The cinematography was by Harry Hallenberger and Ray Rennahan, who also received Oscar nomination for Best Cinematography.