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Three Little Words is a 1950 American musical film biography of the Tin Pan Alley songwriting partnership of Kalmar and Ruby and stars Fred Astaire as lyricist Bert Kalmar, Red Skelton as composer Harry Ruby, along with Vera-Ellen and Arlene Dahl as their wives, with Debbie Reynolds in a small but notable role as singer Helen Kane. The film, released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, was written by Academy Award winning screenwriter George Wells, directed by Richard Thorpe and produced by Jack Cummings. Harry Ruby served as a consultant on the project, and appears in a cameo role as a baseball-catcher.
This warm and engaging film was one of Astaire's favourites,  possibly because of the nostalgic vaudeville connection. As Hollywood film biographies of the period go, it takes fewer liberties with the facts than usual, and Astaire and Skelton's onscreen portrayal of the partnership is considered psychologically accurate, and is complemented by a mutual chemistry, some quality acting by both, and some fine comedy touches by Skelton. Unusually for Hollywood songwriting biographies of this period, two of the songs, "Thinking of You" and "Nevertheless", became major hits on the film's release, reaching first and second place respectively, in the U.S. charts.
In recognition of his acting performance here, Fred Astaire was awarded the first Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy in 1951.