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Anything Goes (1936)

A young man falls in love with a beautiful blonde. When he sees her being forced onto a luxury liner, he decides to follow and rescue her. However, he discovers that she is an English ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mrs. Wentworth
Capt. McPhail
Edward Gargan ...
Matt McHugh ...
Budd Fine ...
The Avalon Boys ...


A young man falls in love with a beautiful blonde. When he sees her being forced onto a luxury liner, he decides to follow and rescue her. However, he discovers that she is an English heiress who ran away from home and is now being returned to England. He also discovers that his boss is on the ship. To avoid discovery, he disguises himself as the gangster accomplice of a minister, who is actually a gangster on the run from the law. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It's The Top! See more »


Comedy | Musical





Release Date:

24 January 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Tops Is the Limit  »

Box Office


$1,100,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Ethel Merman later starred in a TV production of "Anything Goes" with Frank Sinatra and Bert Lahr telecast live on Feb. 28, 1954: The Colgate Comedy Hour: Anything Goes (1954). See more »


[first lines]
Reno Sweeney: [singing] In olden days a glimpse of stocking / Was looked on as something shocking, / Now, Heaven knows, / Anything goes!
[as she sings the words "anything goes", the title of the film appears onscreen]
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Featured in Broadway: The American Musical (2004) See more »


I Get a Kick Out of You
by Cole Porter
Sung by Ethel Merman
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User Reviews

Back then, nothing went
16 December 2004 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

The trouble with filming Cole Porter shows is that the book and lyrics were normally, so naughty, so risqué that it was inevitable those sharp eyed censors feasted mightily on cuts.

This first version of Anything Goes was no exception. All the naughty lyrics and risqué situations and dialog were cut out to make this product G rated. It wasn't until Kiss Me Kate was done in the 1950s that a really successful adaption of one of Cole Porter's Broadway shows was done. The best success Porter had on the screen was when he wrote directly FOR the screen. Born to Dance, Rosalie, High Society, etc.

What this Anything Goes has to recommend it was the fact that this was only one of two instances where Ethel Merman reprised one of her Broadway successes for the screen. At that she sung some G rated lyrics for the title song and I Get A Kick Out of You.

The only thing that Bing Crosby got to do in the movie that was from Cole Porter was a duet with Ethel Merman with You're the Top. If I had to nominate a song in history that's had more lyrics done for it would have to be this one. The melody is eternal and the lyrics are constantly being updated. Someone ought to investigate the Cole Porter estate and see just how many verses he actually wrote to You're the Top. Surely there haven't been any since 1964, but you can hear versions of You're the Top even today with up to date topical lyrics:

You're the Top, you're Madonna's reinvention

You're the Top, you're Bush's stolen election

Now I just made that up, but it's a tribute to a great songwriter and an eternal melody.

A whole bunch of Hollywood songwriters gave Bing Crosby some serviceable tunes for him, but it ain't Cole Porter. I think this has to do with the family image that Crosby had even back then. No naughty Cole Porter lyrics for Der Bingle.

Yet he has some moments with songs. I particular like the number he does from the ship's crow's nest, Sailor Beware. Good song, but it's a typical example of the cheap production numbers that Paramount gave Crosby at this time. If you look at it, try to imagine what Busby Berkeley would have done. He also has a nice ballad to sing to Ida Lupino in My Heart and I. Finally there's a song called Moonburn which sold a few 78 rpm platters back in the day. On record Crosby sings it with just the accompaniment of jazz pianist Joe Sullivan. It's classic Bing.

Charlie Ruggles was never bad in anything he did, but I do kind of wish that Victor Moore reprised his part from Anything Goes. He was a big hit on Broadway as squeamish Public Enemy 13, Moonface Martin.

Ida Lupino gives very little indication of the classic actress she became on screen. But she's serviceable as Bing's love interest.

Look at the trio of sailors singing, They'll Always Be a Lady Fair and you'll recognize Chill Wills.

Add to that a badly butchered job in editing and you haven't got one of Bing Crosby's best films, but still enjoyable for fans of Der Bingle like your's truly.

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