Three Sailors and a Girl (1954): Del Ruth’s B-Musical, Starring Jane Powell and Gordon MacRae

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Roy Del Ruth directed Three Sailors and a Girl, a Technicolor musical made by Warner.

It was directed by  and written by Devery Freeman and Roland Kibbee, based on the George S. Kaufman play “The Butter and Egg Man.”

Ray Heindorf was the musical director, with orchestrations by Gus Levene, and vocal arrangements by Norman Luboff. Choreography was by LeRoy Prinz.

The soundtrack features original songs with music composed by Sammy Fain and lyrics by Sammy Cahn.

The film’s stars Jane Powell and Gordon MacRae are the featured vocalists. George Greeley conducted the orchestra and chorus.

While their submarine is docked in New York City, three sailors on liberty invest money earned at sea in a Broadway musical and its up-and-coming star.

Choirboy Jones (Gordon MacRae) carries gunnysack stuffed with $50,000 cash from fellow sailors.

Joe Woods (Sam Levene), producing a new show starring singer Emilio Rossi (George Givot), is delighted to find a new investor, but female lead Penny Weston (Jane Powell) is worried.

After the out-of-town opening is a flop, Woods, Rossi and the author want out. Penny consults distinguished Broadway artists for advice, casting the talented singer Jones, dancer Twitch (Gene Nelson) and comic Porky (Jack E. Leonard) in key roles.

In the end, the show is a smash and the sailors reap nice return on their investment, with Jones and Penny in love.

Jane Powell as Penny Weston
Gordon MacRae as “Choirboy” Jones
Gene Nelson as Twitch
Sam Levene as Joe Woods
Jack E. Leonard as Porky
George Givot as Emilio Rossi
Veda Ann Borg as Faye Foss
Archer MacDonald as Webster
Raymond Greenleaf as Morrow
Henry Slate as Hank the Sailor


Burt Lancaster made an uncredited cameo appearance at the end, as Marine who asks about taking over the starring role in the musical after Jones has to return to the Navy. Joe Woods brushes him off. When a woman asks why he was so brusque, Joe tells her that the Marine looked too much like Burt Lancaster.

Merv Griffin also appeared uncredited as one of the sailors.


“Face to Face”
“You’re But Oh Right”
“There Must Be a Reason”

“When It’s Love”

“I Get Butterflies” –
“Kiss Me or I’ll Scream”
“The Lately Song”
“Show Me a Happy Woman (and I’ll Show you Miserable Man)”
“It’s Going to Be a Big Hit”
“Home Is Where the Heart Is”
“My Heart Is a Singing Heart”
“Embraceable You”
“The Japanese Sandman”

“The Marines’ Hymn” – Music by Jacques Offenbach


TCM showed this musical on Sep 15, 2021.