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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
Parts of the film are based on James Cagney's own experience. In the film, Cagney's character, Terry Rooney, is a New York band-leader and hoofer who goes to Hollywood to make a "tough guy" movie. When he gets back from his honeymoon cruise, Rooney discovers the movie has made him a star, and he is mobbed by autograph seekers outside a movie theater where his film is showing. Likewise, Cagney himself was a Broadway hoofer who went to Hollywood in 1930 to make movies. After several supporting roles, Cagney filmed his breakout movie, The Public Enemy (1931), in early 1931. When filming was completed, Cagney returned to New York, thinking the movie would be nothing special. A few months later, he was surprised to see a long line of movie-goers outside a New York theater where The Public Enemy (1931) was being shown. Cagney had become a star. 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.
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Weary of railing against Warner Brothers for the studio's mishandling of him, James Cagney moves to small Grand National, which produces for the star this sprightly musical compote. Cagney brings along all of his vigor and verve, and the little-known studio supplies a substantial budget for this tale of a Manhattan hoofer and bandleader, Terry Rooney (Cagney), and his sweetheart/wife (Evelyn Daw), who journey to Hollywood when Rooney is offered a film contract. Down-to-earth Rooney is resistant to receiving the prescribed "star treatment" and the head of the studio, Mr. Regan, (Gene Lockhart) construes his attitude as hauteur; when the initial film made with Rooney unexpectedly becomes wildly successful, the studio boss tries to keep the compass of his triumph from the budding star to prevent the latter from becoming more arrogant. Meantime, Rooney places his film experiences behind him by taking his bride on a lengthy cruise in a tramp steamer to the South Seas, and when they return and discover his exploding fame, comedic complications ensue. Cagney displays his customary class in his every scene with the musical production numbers being particularly effective, his dancing skill being a prominent element. True soprano Evelyn Daw performs beautifully throughout, and the classically trained singer makes for a comely female lead as well, while William Frawley as a press agent, Mona Barrie as the studio diva, and Philip Ahn, who plays Rooney's houseboy, all provide enjoyable turns. Director Victor Schertzinger utilizes his own Academy Award nominated score to a liberal extent throughout and the product becomes a tuneful and rather undervalued musical comedy.
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