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Something to Sing About (1937)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Musical  |  30 September 1937 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 521 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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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Terrence 'Terry' Rooney (stage name of Thadeus McGillicuddy)
Evelyn Daw ...
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)
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 soon-to-be 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 leader's part. When his first film is huge success and a 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 honeymoon cruise, only to return to the real truth of his fame. Written by SindyMac

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Two-fisted James Cagney in a drama about Hollywood where private lives are public gossip . . . James Cagney in his latest and greatest picture 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?


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 »


Hank Meyers: Here they come now, Grief, Trouble and Worry.
See more »


Featured in Vamps (2012) See more »


Bridal Chorus
from "Lohengrin"
Music by Richard Wagner (1850)
Played in a jazz version by the band
Danced to by James Cagney and Evelyn Daw
See more »

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User Reviews

Something to Sing & Talk About ***1/2
27 July 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Hollywood was really turning the cameras on itself when it made this 1937 movie. This is a very good take-off on why so many Hollywood marriages fell apart-mainly the studio system. So many stars of the past blamed Hollywood for their marriages falling apart. Right off the bat, I can think of Judy Garland and David Rose.

Cagney proved what a great hoofer he was 5 years before his Oscar win in "Yankee Doodle Dandy."

This wonderful Hollywood plot concerns itself with Cagney making it big in Hollywood and then running away and marrying his sweetheart, well played by Evelyn Daw. Too bad we never heard much from her.

William Frawley, the future Fred Mertz, of I Love Lucy Fame, steals the picture as a publicity agent hell-bent on getting Cagney stature no matter what the cost.

There is that accidental item that could cause a fatal rift between the married couple but Hollywood knew how to settle that so well in a final staging of a song and dance number.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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