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Something to Sing About (1937)

6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 473 users  
Reviews: 19 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.

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

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

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)
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 September 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Battling Hoofer  »

Box Office

Budget:

$900,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (2005 DVD release)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

References White Legion (1936) See more »

Soundtracks

Out of the Blue
(uncredited)
Written by Victor Schertzinger
Played by the band and sung by Evelyn Daw
Danced in the opening by James Cagney
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Cagney at his naturalistic best
3 August 2005 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

The plot of this film is fairly ordinary--bandleader/hoofer goes to Hollywood and becomes a star, studio wants to play up his credentials as a lover so they put the kibosh on announcing his marriage and cook up an on-set romance for the papers, the strain threatens his marriage. If it were with any other cast, that might have been the end of it. But with Cagney in the starring role, the movie just pops. The man had star quality positively oozing out of him, which had been evident from his earliest bit roles, in films like "A Handful of Clouds."

This was Cagney's second and last film with Grand National studios, where he'd taken refuge during a contract dispute with Warner Brothers. The first film had cast him in standard dramatic fare, but this one reunited him with his NY dance coach, Harland Dixon, who staged the dances for the film. Cagney's dancing is even more spirited than in "Yankee Doodle Dandy"--at one point, where other dancers might kick their heels, he kicks his knees! According to a NY Times article cited in the AFI Catalog, Cagney practiced his steps with Fred Astaire before filming.

What's most striking to me, though, in this film is Cagney's incomparably naturalistic acting. One scene in particular, where Cagney phones his fiancée back in New York while sitting in the dark in his Hollywood apartment, and listens to her sing a new song, is as moving and realistic as anything I've seen.

Many scenes will evoke more famous moments from later films--Cagney dancing on piano keys, like Tom Hanks and Robert Loggia in "Big," or Cagney working on his pear-shaped tones, like Gene Kelly in "Singin' in the Rain." Cagney gives them all his unique brand of liveliness. There is also an almost anachronistic recognition of the degradation Hollywood visited on minorities, in the person of Philip Ahn, who plays Cagney's manservant, Ito.

Evelyn Daw, as Cagney's fiancée, was a discovery of the director, Schertzinger, and this was her first film. She's got a cute little smile, but her voice is absolutely wrong for the sort of band Cagney is supposed to be leading. She does well enough, though, and holds her own with William Frawley as Cagney's sympathetic press agent and Gene Lockhart as the studio boss. The only real sour note is sounded by Mona Barrie, as the Hungarian star set up as Cagney's love interest by the studio press machine. She's neither attractive nor talented, and one has to wonder why she was supposed to be such a big star.

This movie is out on DVD, unlike all too many of Cagney's early efforts, and it's worth checking out for a side of Cagney seen entirely too seldom.


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