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Honolulu (1939).jpg
Film poster
Directed byEdward Buzzell
Written byHerbert Fields
Frank Partos
Harry Ruskin
George Oppenheimer
Produced byJack Cummings
StarringEleanor Powell
Robert Young
George Burns
Gracie Allen
CinematographyRay June
Edited byConrad A. Nervig
Music byGeorgie Stoll
Franz Waxman
Distributed byLoew's Inc.
Release date
  • February 3, 1939 (1939-02-03)
Running time
102 minutes
CountryUnited States

Honolulu is a 1939 American musical comedy film directed by Edward Buzzell and starring dancer Eleanor Powell, Robert Young, George Burns and Gracie Allen. The picture was produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Also appearing in the film are Rita Johnson, Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, Sig Rumann and Ruth Hussey.


Inspired by stories about doppelgängers and identical twins such as The Prince and the Pauper, Honolulu features Young in a dual role as Brooks Mason—a top movie star—and as Hawaiʻi-based businessman George Smith. Mason is tired of being in the public eye, so when he discovers that Smith is close enough to be his twin, he arranges to switch places with Smith temporarily. When Mason steps into Smith's life, he finds himself in a tug-of-war between Smith's fiancée, and a dancer named Dorothy March (Powell), with whom he has fallen in love. Meanwhile, Smith discovers that being a famous movie star is not all that it is made out to be.


Eleanor Powell's dance routines were given a mostly Hawaiian flavor. One of her routines was performed in blackface in tribute to Powell's idol, Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson. The comedy of Burns and Allen is also featured, although the two actors work separately for much of the movie, their characters only meeting in the final minutes. Powell and Gracie Allen sing and dance together in a sequence featuring the titular song. This was George Burns' last film appearance for 37 years until his Oscar-winning performance in The Sunshine Boys in 1975. The film is also notable for offering a somewhat rare cinematic look at pre-World War II Honolulu.

There is a notable musical sequence featuring Gracie Allen, accompanied by musicians made to look like the Marx Brothers (including two Grouchos), while several actors in the audience are costumed to look like such famous actors as Clark Gable, W.C. Fields and Oliver Hardy.

Footage of one of Powell's dance routines (done in a hula skirt to a tiki drum orchestra) would be reused in the later comedy, I Dood It, while another dance performance that was cut from the film appeared seven years later in the "hodge-podge" production The Great Morgan.