Something to Sing About (September 30, 1937)
Released on September 30, 1937: A famous New York band leader heads to Hollywood to make a movie and become a star, but it may destroy his relationship with his torch-singer girlfriend.
Produced by Zion Myers
Directed by Victor Schertzinger
Written by Austin Parker and Victor Schertzinger
The Actors: James Cagney (Terry Rooney), Evelyn Daw (Rita Wyatt), William Frawley (Hank Meyers), Gene Lockhart (Bennett O. 'B.O.' Regan), Mona Barrie (Stephanie 'Steffie' Hajos), Philip Ahn (Ito, Terry's servant), Marek Windheim (Mr. Farney), Dwight Frye (Mr. Easton the makeup supervisor), Johnny Arthur (Mr. Daviani the wardrobe supervisor), William B. Davidson (Mr Richards the nightclub owner), Richard Tucker (Mr. Blaine the director), Kathleen Lockhart (Miss Amy Robbins the newspaper comumnist), James Newill (Jimmy, band member), Harry Barris (Pinky, band pianist), Cully Richards (Cully, band member), Candy Candidio (Candy, band bassist), Perc Launders (band violinist), Paul McLarind (band member), Harland Dixon (dancer in the Deck Number), Johnny Boyle (dancer in the Deck Number), John 'Skins' Miller (dancer in drag in the Deck Number), Pat Moran (dancer in the Deck Number), Joe Bennett (dancer in the Deck Number), The Vagabonds (themselves, musicians), Eddie Allen (dancer), Daisy Bufford (Daisy, Stephanie's maid), William Carey (singer), Chick Collins (Eddie, man who fights Terry), Duke Green (Joe, the second man that fights Terry), Kenneth Harlan (transportation manager), Edward Hearn (studio guard), Virginia Lee Irwin (member of Three Shades of Blue), Eddie Kane (San Fancisco theater manager), Marjorie Kane (Regan's receptionist), Buck Mack (dancer), Alphonse Martell (Maurice the nightclub head waiter), Robert McKenzie (the ship's captain), Dottie Messmer (member of Three Shades of Blue), Frank Mills (cabbie), Eleanore Prentiss (girl), Herbert Rawlinson (studio attorney), Buddy Roosevelt (movie preview attendee), Larry Steers (studio official), Dolly Waldorf (member of Three Shades of Blue), Ernest Wood (Edward Burns)
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Cut, My Foot!
As our adventure opens Jimmy Cagney is dressed in a black-tie tux and leading a large orchestra in New York City. We are watching his final performance before the famous band leader leaves for a month to make a motion picture at a Hollywood studio. With dreams of stardom in his eyes he heads for Hollywood, but before he leaves he gives his girlfriend Rita, the torch-singer for his band, a diamond engagement ring, and promises to return after making the movie so they can be married.
Once in Hollywood he discovers that working for a demanding director and a manipulative studio head can be very challenging. After watching the daily rushes the studio head is convinced that Cagney has ‘it’ – The camera loves his face, his walk, his voice . . . He is a natural born movie star. But the studio head demands that the director and everyone else tell Cagney that he is terrible . . . They do not want to create a pampered, hard-to-handle star . . . . So Cagney is counting the days until he can shake the dust off his shoes from Hollywood and head back to his lovely girlfriend, thinking that he will never be a movie star.
Finally it is the last day of shooting, and Cagney is to be in a fight scene with a couple other actors. He is taught how to do a fake punch for the camera, and is told that the other two actors who will be fighting him have been doing this for years and he is in no danger. Everyone on the set is cringing as the scene is about to begin. It seems that when a new actor is involved in his first fight scene it is the custom of the other fighters to REALLY punch him and hit him as hard as they can. The director calls for the cameras to begin, and the action to begin, and the staged fight begins. James Cagney is knocked on his butt and reeling, hardly able to get on his feet. The director shouts ‘Cut’ and the crew starts to walk away. James Cagney rubs his sore chin, stands to his feet, and shouts, “Cut, My Foot!” For us movie fans watching this movie, the man who just got sucker-punched by the other actors is not a tap-dancing band leader, but it is James Cagney, the toughest gangster in movie after movie. He runs to the actors who just punched him and as the director quickly orders the cameras to roll we watch one of the finest bar fights ever put onto film. . . . Guess Who Wins the fight . . .
After beating the stuffing out of the actors he calls his torch-singer girlfriend and tells her to catch the first airplane to San Francisco and he will meet her there, and marry her, and together they will get as far away from Hollywood as possible. The two get married and float into the sunset on a ship headed for the South Seas . . . . A perfect end to a romantic comedy . . . . But wait . . . . We are not even half way through this adventure. While they are happily out to sea, the movie opens and the band leader becomes a star sought by fans the world over, not to mention the studio head who has not yet signed him to a contract. When the newlyweds return and discover the clamor and demand for the new super-star, we watch and we learn that the ‘happily ever after’ ending will not come soon, if ever. . . . . Hollywood can turn many a happy relationship sour. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
James Cagney as big band leader Terry Rooney
Ernest Wood meets James Cagney
James Cagney and Johnny Arthur
James Cagney, William Frawley and Dwight Frye
James Cagney, William Frawley and Marek Windheim
James Cagney and the publicity girls
Kathleen Lockhart and James Cagney
Kathleen Lockhart and William Frawley
Mona Barrie and James Cagney
Richard Tucker and Evelyn Daw
Richard Tucker and Gene Lockhart
William B. Davidson and Evelyn Daw
William Frawley and Gene Lockhart
William Frawley and Kathleen Lockhart
William Frawley and Mona Barrie