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Something to Sing About (1937)

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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 461 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 3 critic

A New York bandleader journeys to Hollywood when he is offered a contract with a studio, but he is determined to do things his way and not theirs.


(story), (screenplay)
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Title: Something to Sing About (1937)

Something to Sing About (1937) on IMDb 6.3/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Terrence 'Terry' Rooney (stage name of Thadeus McGillicuddy)
Evelyn Daw ...
Rita Wyatt
Hank Meyers
Mona Barrie ...
Bennett O. 'B.O.' Regan
Philip Ahn ...
Ito (Terry's servant)
Marek Windheim ...
Mr. Farney (dialogue director)
Mr. Easton (makeup supervisor)
Johnny Arthur ...
Mr. Daviani (wardrobe supervisor) (as John Arthur)
William B. Davidson ...
Mr. Richards (nightclub owner) (as William Davidson)
Richard Tucker ...
Mr. Blaine (the director)
Kathleen Lockhart ...
Miss Amy Robbins (newspaper columnist)
James Newill ...
Jimmy - Band Member
Harry Barris ...
Pinky (pianist in the band)
Cully Richards ...
Cully (band member)


Popular New York band leader Terry Rooney (Cagney) is offered a lucrative film contract out in Hollywood. Rooney and his wife pack up and head for California. Upon arriving, they meet Mr. Regan, the head of the studio, who believes that Rooney's true lack of desire for stardom is arrogance on the band leaders part. When his first film is huge success and hit for the studio, Regan tries to hide the truth from Rooney. Feeling a need to get away from Hollywood, Rooney takes his wife on a South Seas cruise, only to return to the real truth of his fame. Written by SindyMac

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Dancing...Romancing and Packing a Real Wallop! See more »


Comedy | Musical


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

30 September 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Battling Hoofer  »

Box Office


$900,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (2005 DVD release)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


James Cagney reportedly rehearsed his dance numbers occasionally with Fred Astaire. See more »


Rita is in New York when she reads of Terry's supposed relationship with Steffie on the front page of the "Express" newspaper. Meanwhile in Hollywood, Terry learns of the false rumours in exactly the same way, from the exact front page of an identical "Express" newspaper. Props used the same newspaper for both coasts. Highly unlikely. See more »


Terrence 'Terry'; Rooney: I'll stand up here and let you stick pins in me, but one more tickle, and I'm going to tear off one of your legs and wrap it around your neck for a scarf.
See more »


References White Legion (1936) See more »


Right or Wrong
Written by Victor Schertzinger
Played by the band and Sung by Evelyn Daw
Reprised by Evelyn Daw at the nightclub
See more »

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User Reviews

An early Cagney musical away from Warner Bros...
8 May 2007 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

JAMES CAGNEY was having contract problems at Warner Bros. when he went out on his own and did this little musical for Grand National, which--unfortunately--flopped at the box-office. It's the kind of musical with a Hollywood background that pokes fun at the film colony and its star-making machinery (a la SINGIN' IN THE RAIN), and gives Cagney a chance to shine as a hoofer.

Cagney is Ted Rooney, a bandleader who bids farewell to his band and his fiancé (EVELYN LAW) to take temporary leave for a film when Hollywood beckons. WILLIAM FRAWLEY is the publicity agent who meets him at the station with a bevy of Hollywood cuties to snap photographs of his arrival. GENE LOCKHART is the overbearing studio mogol who calls his make-up men to give their opinion of how to prepare him for photography. A vocal coach with a heavy accent is brought in to teach Cagney how to speak. And so it goes. It never misses a chance to spoof the Hollywood star-making machinery and phoniness.

When Rooney's picture is a smash hit, the studio can't find him. He's fled Hollywood to join his sweetheart and they embark on a cruise ship where Cagney is part of the oddly amusing entertainment. You know it won't be long before Hollywood catches up with him in time for a happy ending.

It's strictly fluff but Cagney gives a solid comedy/musical performance, coasting along nicely in his role despite some shaky support from Evelyn Law, a young lady who appears to be an inexperienced actress with a singing voice not suitable for the swing band music that Cagney indulges in. She's a big drawback in a film that needs a good partner for Cagney in the love interest department.

Summing up: Trivial, predictable musical comedy which should at least interest Cagney fans but it's easy to see why it failed to please at the box-office.

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