Release Date: November 25, 1949 | Production Date: January - March 1949 | Color: Black & White Running Time: 84 minutes | Studio: Paramount Pictures
as "Eleanor Collier"
as "Danny James"
as "Charlie Baxter"
as "Angelica Roseanne"
as "Hair-Do Lempke"
as "Bunny Harris"
as "Laddie Corwin"
as "Alex Ryan Creek"
as "Captain Allen"
as "Lieutenant Gorman"
as "Mr. Perkins"
Screen Play by Hagar Wilde and John Farrow
Director of Photography
Daniel L. Fapp, A.S.C.
Hans Dreier and Franz Bachelin
Sam Comer and Ross Dowd
Joseph J. Lilley
Specialty Numbers Staged by
Hugo Grenzbach and Gene Garvin
William H. Coleman
PUBLICITY IMAGES AND STILLS
POSTERS AND ADVERTISEMENTS
Aspiring actress Eleanor Collier (Betty Hutton) is taken hostage by gangster Hair-Do Lempke (Frank Loesser), who demands that she name his boss's killer. Eleanor is unable to name the murderer, but buys time by telling Lempke about her last six months in New York City:
Eleanor moves in with fellow actresses No-No (Jane Nigh) and Sandra (June Havoc), both of whom are unnerved by Eleanor's relentless good cheer and clumsiness. Eleanor regularly argues with her boyfriend, theater director Danny James (Victor Mature), who is appalled by her shameless desire for fame and fortune without regard for the integrity and quality of a work. Despite Danny's protests, Eleanor's agent Charlie Baxter (William Demarest) arranges for her to date Alex Creek (Raymond Walburn), a baseball team owner who regularly finances the careers of starlets. While at a ritzy nightclub with Alex, Eleanor gets drunk and tries to ingratiate herself with various celebrities, including columnist Laddie Corwin and ne'er-do-well Barney Stratum. Eleanor only succeeds in getting a good soaking when Alex's wife unexpectedly appears and indignantly dumps a bucket of ice on her.
The next day, Danny's theater group is selected to perform for a prestigious upstate summer stock program, and he and Eleanor celebrate at Perrin's, a restaurant famous for its celebrity clientele. Eleanor catches the eye of gangster Bunny Harris (William Talman), who is discussing with Laddie (Art Smith) and Charlie his plans to produce a play. After Danny leaves, Charlie eagerly introduces Harris to Eleanor, who invites Harris to attend a rehearsal at Danny's theater. Harris is bored by Danny's production of William Shakespeare's Hamlet , which is being performed for the summer stock producers. To spice things up, Eleanor insists that the group perform their "jazzed-up" song-and-dance rendition of Hamlet. Afterward, Danny proposes to Eleanor, but she rejects him because she thinks he pities her because the summer stock producers want to replace her with a more famous actress.
Later that night, Sandra convinces Eleanor to accept Harris' invitation to read a new script at his apartment. Eleanor regrets her decision once she is alone with Harris, and starts to leave, but Harris reassures her that his interest is strictly business and encourages her to ask Danny to join them. While she is behind Harris' bar making her call, a gangster pushes his way through the open apartment door and shoots Harris in the back. During questioning by police, Eleanor is shocked to learn that Harris was a gangster. Eleanor is then kidnapped by Lempke, but before he takes her from her apartment, she uses her lipstick to draw a cartoon-likeness of the gangster onto the ironing board, with a note reading "They got me, he has a scar and plays piano." No-No, Sandra and Danny start an investigation of their own, and convince Laddie to print Eleanor's drawing in the newspaper.
Lempke, meanwhile, puts his toughest thug to work beating a confession out of Eleanor, but she overpowers her oppressor with jiu-jitsu techniques she learned from her Marine brother. Danny, meanwhile, interviews piano tuners across town until one identifies the face as one of his clients in the warehouse district. Based on this clue, Danny drives into a warehouse district and repeatedly honks his distinctive car horn. When Eleanor hears the horn, she starts to sing loudly for the gangsters, and Danny finds her and gains entrance by impersonating the piano tuner. Eleanor and Danny beat the gangsters into submission, and Eleanor then calls Laddie's live television show to report her location, after which Charlie announces that she is to appear with the theater company in the summer stock show. Later, Eleanor, finally seeing eye-to-eye with Danny, proposes marriage.
The working titles of this film were "The Broadway Story" and "The Restless Angel".
Although a 1944 Hollywood Reporter news item indicates that Paramount purchased the screen rights to the Cole Porter musical "Red, Hot and Blue", only the title was used for this film.
"Red, Hot and Blue" marked Betty's fourth film appearance with William Demarest, following "The Miracle Of Morgan's Creek", "Duffy's Tavern" and "The Perils Of Pauline".
Victor Mature accidentally knocked Betty to the floor during a scene in which he was supposed to give her a push. Upon picking herself up, Jimmy Fidler reported she said, "Before we attempt another scene, will you please explain to Mr. Mature that he may be Samson, but I am not the Temple of Gaza!"
As part of the advertising campaign for this film, Paramount took out want ads in local newspapers. One read, "WANTED-New roommate to replace Betty Hutton. This stardust girl's endless energy has worn me out. June Havoc, 'Red, Hot and Blue.'" Another, in the employment section, read, "HELP WANTED-I've kidnapped Betty Hutton but she's more than my whole mob can handle. Will a lion-tamer please contact Hair-Do Lempke, 'Red, Hot and Blue.'"
Composer Frank Loesser made his acting debut in "Red, Hot and Blue" as Hair-Do Lempke.