Seven Days’ Leave (1942): Musical Comedy Starring Victor Mature and Lucille Ball

Victor Mature and Lucille Ball star in Seven Days’ Leave, a musical comedy set during WWII. An Odd Couple, indeed.

Army privates Johnny Grey (Mature), Speak Jackson and Buddy “Clarky” Clark were in the Les Brown band before joining the army.  Granted seven days’ leave, they attend an old Les Brown concert, where Johnny renews his romance with band performer Mapy Cortes.

Upon discovery that he is heir to his great-grandfather’s $100,000 fortune, the overwhelmed Johnny promises to buy Mapy a diamond engagement ring. Johnny goes to New York to claim his inheritance, accompanied by Clarky, Jackson, and Bitsy.

But Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve, the rep of the estate, tells Johnny that he must marry a descendant of the Havelock-Allen family in order to collect the money.

Johnny is reluctant until he meets Terry Havelock-Allen (Ball), the family’s wealthy and glamorous elder daughter, though Terry is engaged to financial advisor Ralph Bell.

Johnny has Jackson, an amateur impressionist, lure Ralph out of town by impersonating Ronald Colman on the phone requesting his financial advice. Johnny takes Terry on a date to radio broadcast of Truth or Consequences.

Terry and Johnny kiss but she orders her butler to throw Johnny out of the house. Terry’s younger sister Mickey thinks Terry should marry Johnny and not Ralph.

Mickey tells Johnny that Terry is in love with him. Terry contemplates eloping with Ralph when Johnny arrives. They decide to get married, but before Johnny tells Terry about the terms of his great-grandfather’s will, Gildersleeve blurts out the details of their business arrangement, causing Terry to break it off with Johnny.

Ralph slugs Jackson and Johnny, a fight ensues and the military police arrive and arrest Jackson, Bitsy, Clark and Johnny.

The next day, the four soldiers are in jail as their company ships out to Japan. Mapy explains the situation to Terry, who then forgives Johnny.

Johnny and Terry get married, and the four privates rejoin their company aboard ship.

The film, originally known as Sweet or Hot, features the casts of popular NBC Golden Age of Radio shows.

Mildly amusing, the tale is deliberately moviesh in its references to real-life stars, such as Ronald Colman and Mature himself, but surprisingly, there is good chemistry between Mature and Ball.

The RKO film was a hit at the box office, earning a profit of $673,000, which, of course, led to a sequel, Seven Days Ashore, in 1944.


Victor Mature as Johnny Grey
Lucille Ball as Terry Havelock-Allen
Harold Peary as Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve
Mapy Cortes as Mapy Cortes
Ginny Simms as herself
Les Brown as himself
Freddy Martin as himself
Marcy McGuire as Mickey Havelock-Allen
Arnold Stang as Bitsy
Buddy Clark as himself


Tim Whelan discovered Marcy McGuire in a Chicago nightclub, and after a screen test cast her.