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Stand Up and Cheer! (1934)

Passed | | Comedy, Musical | 4 May 1934 (USA)
President Franklin Roosevelt appoints a theatrical producer as the new Secretary of Amusement in order to cheer up an American public still suffering through the Depression. The new ... See full summary »



(story and dialogue: collaborator), (story idea suggested) | 2 more credits »

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Complete credited cast:
Mary Adams
Sylvia Froos
John Boles
John Harly
Shirley Dugan
Secretary to President
Tess Gardella ...
Aunt Jemima (as 'Aunt Jemima')
Frank Mitchell ...
Senator Danforth (as Mitchell)
Senator Short (as Durant)
Nick Foran (as Nick Foran)
John 'Skins' Miller ...
Hill-Billy (as 'Skins' Miller)
Stepin Fetchit ...


President Franklin Roosevelt appoints a theatrical producer as the new Secretary of Amusement in order to cheer up an American public still suffering through the Depression. The new secretary soon runs afoul of political lobbyists out to destroy his department. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Musical


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

4 May 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fox Movietone Follies of 1934  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (original release)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The dress that Shirley Temple wore during the "Baby, Take a Bow" number (a white organza with red polka-dots and a full skirt that became her trademark) was her own. Her mother, Gertrude Temple, thought that she would feel more comfortable wearing one of her own dresses, rather than one from the costume department. See more »


Lawrence Cromwell: Now, Miss Monroe...
Mary Adams: Er, Adams.
Lawrence Cromwell: Oh, yes, step here a minute, will you, please... something I want to show you. There's one phase in this amusement campaign which I think you ought to understand. The zones in...
[overcome by her good looks, he stops]
Lawrence Cromwell: You're beautiful.
Mary Adams: Ah, of course I'm not.
Lawrence Cromwell: What's that?
Mary Adams: I said I'm not beautiful.
Lawrence Cromwell: Young woman, you're talking to Lawrence Cromwell... Lawrence Cromwell, the world's recognized authority on feminine beauty and charm. Do you mean to stand there and ...
See more »


Featured in Take It or Leave It (1944) See more »


Stand Up And Cheer!
(1934) (uncredited)
Lyrics and Music by Lew Brown and Harry Akst
Sung by over the end credits
Instrumental over the title sequence and beginning credits
c. 1934 Movietone Music Corportation
See more »

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User Reviews

stay seated but cheer
8 April 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The portrayals of African American characters in this movie are, as has been pointed out, stereotypical, but I would like to suggest that where the actors themselves are allowed to show their talents, they transcend the stereotypes in ways even the filmmakers themselves recognized.

Take, for example, the show-stopping finale to "I'm Laughing," performed by Tess Gardella. There are a series of tableaux in this number, of various individuals all representing different marginalized groups: Immigrants, sweatshop workers, laborers of all kinds, all leading up to Tess Gardella herself busting out with the biggest, cheeriest performance of all, surrounded by a rousing, dancing chorus. It was clearly meant to recap the song's theme--if I can laugh, as downtrodden as I am, so can you--and to embody those who persevere and triumph over circumstance. With a swish of her ample hips and a gleam in her eye, Ms. Gardella triumphs.

The standard Stepin Fetchit routine has been analyzed everywhere, but let me just add that in this picture, the actor personifies African American resistance. In 1934 Black men were still not free from the vicious system of racial etiquette known as Jim Crow, and were therefore limited in the number of personae they were allowed to display. The genius of Stepin Fetchit is that he acts out the prescribed social role while frustrating those who prescribe it by withholding his intelligence and personality from the social interaction altogether. He slyly gives white people exactly what they demand,nothing more, forcing them to realize that perhaps that's not what they want after all. The resistance is his and the joke is on them.

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