I Dood It
theatrical poster
Directed byVincente Minnelli
Written bySig Herzig
Fred Saidy
Produced byJack Cummings
StarringRed Skelton
Eleanor Powell
CinematographyRay June
Charles Rosher
Edited byRobert J. Kern
Music byDavid Raksin
Distributed byLoew's Inc.
Release date
  • September 1943 (1943-09)
Running time
102 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2,157,000[1]

I Dood It (UK title By Hook or by Crook) is a 1943 American musical-comedy film starring Red Skelton and Eleanor Powell, directed by Vincente Minnelli, and released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.[2] The screenplay is by Fred Saidy and Sig Herzig and the film features Richard Ainley, Patricia Dane, Lena Horne, and Hazel Scott. John Hodiak plays a villain in this production, just his third movie role. Jimmy Dorsey and his Orchestra provide musical interludes.[2]


Fed up with the wandering eye of her fiance' Larry West, Broadway star Constance Shaw impulsively marries her number one fan, Joseph Renolds. Unable to go through with her wedding night, she tries to give Joe a sleeping potion but ends up drinking it herself.

Roy Hartwood is a Nazi Fifth Columnist tasked with the job of blowing up the War Surplus Materials Warehouse next door to the theatre. Joe manages to foil this plot, if only by tripping over the wiring and defusing the bomb. Constance is a hit in her new Broadway show, which is based on an idea by Joe.



Powell's most notable performance in the film comes near the beginning when she executes a complex dance routine involving lariats and cowboys. Powell, in her introduction to the book Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance, recalled that she knocked herself unconscious while rehearsing a stunt for this sequence involving a rope and ultimately had to don a football helmet to protect herself. The final dance scene with Powell was taken from Born to Dance (1936). Many of the physical gags were done by Buster Keaton in the film Spite Marriage (1929). Keaton had an uncredited role in writing gags for some of Skelton's early MGM films.

Skelton and Powell had previously worked together in Ship Ahoy (1942). In that film, they appeared with Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy's brother.

This was Powell's final starring role at MGM. After this, she would make a cameo appearance in Thousands Cheer, play a lead role in the United Artists film Sensations of 1945, and return to MGM for a cameo in Duchess of Idaho (1950) before retiring from the screen for good.

The rather ungrammatical title was from one of Red Skelton's radio catchphrases of the day. In 1942 Jack Owens, The Cruising Crooner, wrote a song for Skelton based on it: "I Dood It! (If I Do, I Get a Whippin')", but that song does not appear in this film.

Jimmy Dorsey's theme song "Contrasts" appears in the film. He also performs the jazz and pop standard "Star Eyes" which he was the first to release. The film opens with the Jimmy Dorsey orchestra performing Count Basie's "One O'Clock Jump". As the tempo and energy of the music increases several couples can be seen dancing in the confined space in front of their theater seats, and other fans leave their seats to stand in front of the band stage.

Dance direction in the film was by Bobby Connolly, and the "Western Rope Dance," assisted by Bob Eberly and Jimmy Dorsey's Orchestra, is the second scene in the film. Joe Yule Sr. is Mickey Rooney's father.

One bit has somebody making a disparaging remark about Jimmy Dorsey's orchestra behind Joe's back. Joe turns around to find himself face-to-face with Jimmy's brother Tommy. (The two brothers notoriously feuded in real life).

Box office

According to MGM records the film earned $1,615,000 in the US and Canada and $542,000 elsewhere resulting in a profit of $319,000.[1]


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. ^ a b Crowther, Bosley (November 11, 1943). "I Dood It (1943) THE SCREEN; 'I Dood It,' a One-Man Comedy, the Same Being Red Skelton, With an Assist From Eleanor Powell, Opens at Paramount". The New York Times.