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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 »
This very well produced film from Grand National was it's downfall.
Costing $900k in 1937 to produce (3 times more than 42nd Street or a quarter of Gone With The Wind) it never recovered its costs and sank the studio. A mini major wannabe of its day, it grew from the reshuffle in 1934 that saw Monogram, Liberty, Mascot and Majestic studios all become Republic. Tiffany studios had gone dark about 1932 and Grand National reopened that lot in 1935 amid the talent and exec merry go round of forming and shedding.
A Warners squabble saw Cagney suspended so he walked to Grand National who much have thought they had won the talent lottery. To create industry credibility in their production values for any Cagney film, they had to spend big, and GREAT GUY in 1936 worked. But in 1937 their swing musical based loosely on their own studio tales (and lot) cost far too much and the loss by 1938 shortened their schedule and they went dark. Most jumped ship to re-formed Monogram Pictures and series films like the Shadow and Renfrew Of the Mounted Police had a new life there. Grand National had big hopes and plans and it is a huge shame they did not continue. It is a fascinating true story of ambition and crash and should be a film in itself. SOMETHING has been available in Australia on tape and DVD for years and is widely available here..like a lot of weird and small RKO titles. Lucky us and lucky you if you can find them. Grand national was a good outfit. The opening and closing nightclub scenes in this film are really smart and quite elaborate. There's even a BIG-like keyboard dance solo. And that Logo! Wow!
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