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The Half-Naked Truth

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The Half-Naked Truth
Directed byGregory La Cava
Written byBen Markson
H.N. Swanson
Screenplay byGregory La Cava
Corey Ford
Bartlett Cormack
Based onThe Anatomy of Ballyhoo: Phantom Fame
1931 book
by David Freedman
Harry Reichenbach
Produced byPandro S. Berman
StarringLupe Vélez
Lee Tracy
CinematographyBert Glennon
Edited byCharles L. Kimball
Music byMax Steiner
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures
Release date
  • December 16, 1932 (1932-12-16)
Running time
77 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Half-Naked Truth is a 1932 American pre-Code comedy film directed by Gregory La Cava and featuring Lee Tracy as a carnival pitchman who finagles his girlfriend, a fiery hoochie dancer played by Lupe Vélez, into a major Broadway revue under the auspices of an impresario portrayed by Frank Morgan. The film was released on December 16, 1932, by RKO Radio Pictures.[1][2]


Fast-talking Jimmy Bates (Lee Tracy) takes over as publicity agent for a struggling carnival owned by Colonel Munday. His latest scheme to bring in customers involves promising to reveal the identity of the father (allegedly one of the local town's residents) of his hot-tempered girlfriend, "hootch dancer" Teresita (Lupe Vélez), at that night's performance. However, when the local sheriff learns that it is all a con, Bates, his friend Achilles and Teresita have to flee.

They head to New York City. Bates has always bragged about his close friendship with powerful theater impresario Merle Farrell. Bates promises to make Teresita a star, but it soon becomes clear that Farrell has never heard of him. Undaunted, Bates promotes Teresita as "Princess Exotica", an escapee from a Turkish harem, complete with a eunuch servant (Achilles) and a lion. Bates informs the reporters that she will be starring in Farrell's show. At first, Farrell is outraged, but when he hears about the sharp increase in ticket sales, he signs Teresita to a contract.

Farrell insists, however, that she perform a slow Middle Eastern-style dance, which bores the audience. Bates rushes onstage and has her drop her pretense and sing a modern song. This proves to be a hit, and Teresita becomes a star, while Bates becomes Farrell's new publicity manager.

However, while Bates is away on a business trip, she starts seeing the married Farrell. When Bates finds out, he quits and promises to make the first girl he sees into a bigger sensation to eclipse his treacherous girlfriend. That turns out to be blond hotel maid Gladys (Shirley Chambers), whom Achilles is trying to romance. Bates has Gladys pretend to be "Eve", the leader of a group of nudists. He blackmails Farrell (with a compromising photograph of him and Teresita) into signing Eve to his show. Meanwhile, the public has started to tire of Teresita.

Achilles decides to return to the carnival life, and purchases Colonel Munday's business. Bates calls him a fool, but after a while, he too becomes dissatisfied with New York and goes to see his friend. There, he finds Teresita singing as one of the carnival's attractions.



  1. ^ Hall, Mordaunt (2015). "The-Half-Naked-Truth - Trailer - Cast". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Baseline & All Movie Guide. Archived from the original on June 14, 2015. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  2. ^ "The Half Naked Truth (1932) - Overview". December 3, 2012. Retrieved June 12, 2015.

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