6.3/10
212
13 user 2 critic

Varsity Show (1937)

Approved | | Musical | 4 September 1937 (USA)
Winfield College students who are trying to put together the annual varsity show come into conflict with their faculty adviser, a stodgy old professor whose ideas are hopelessly out of date... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play) | 4 more credits »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Ronny Bowers, a saxophonist in Benny Goodman's band has won a talent contest an got a ten week contract with a film studio. On his first evening he is supposed to go with the studio's star ... See full summary »

Director: Busby Berkeley
Stars: Dick Powell, Rosemary Lane, Lola Lane
Comedy | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Millionaire turned composer Dick Powell rescues unemployed Broadway people with a new play.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Stars: Warren William, Joan Blondell, Aline MacMahon
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Chester Kent struggles against time, romance, and a rival's spy to produce spectacular live "prologues" for movie houses.

Director: Lloyd Bacon
Stars: James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Stage-producer J.J. Horbart, is going to put on a new show, but he doesn't know that his two partners lost the money at the stock market. Insurance salesman Rosmer Peck falls in love with ... See full summary »

Director: Lloyd Bacon
Stars: Dick Powell, Joan Blondell, Glenda Farrell
Dames (1934)
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Multi-millionaire Ezra Ounce wants to start a campaign against 'filthy' forms of entertainment, like Broadway-Shows. He comes to his relatives families and makes them members of his ... See full summary »

Directors: Ray Enright, Busby Berkeley
Stars: Joan Blondell, Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Owners and show girls of the bankrupt Club Ballé are mistaken for the Academy Ballet of America and are off to Paris to compete in an International Dance Exposition.

Director: Ray Enright
Stars: Rudy Vallee, Rosemary Lane, Hugh Herbert
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

In a luxury hotel stage director Nicoleff stages a show to get the money to pay his bills. Mrs. Prentiss, who is backing the show wants her daughter Ann to marry the millionaire T. Mosely ... See full summary »

Director: Busby Berkeley
Stars: Dick Powell, Adolphe Menjou, Gloria Stuart
42nd Street (1933)
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A producer puts on what may be his last Broadway show and, at the last moment, a chorus girl has to replace the star.

Director: Lloyd Bacon
Stars: Warner Baxter, Bebe Daniels, George Brent
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A beauty contest winner of the "Miss Pineapple Princess" pageant takes part in a publicity scheme in Hawaii, and is pursued by an advertising executive for the agency doing the promotion.

Director: Frank Tuttle
Stars: Bing Crosby, Bob Burns, Martha Raye
Certificate: Passed Crime | Mystery | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Detective Nick Carter is brought in to foil spies at the Radex Airplane Factory, where a new fighter plane is under manufacture.

Director: Jacques Tourneur
Stars: Walter Pidgeon, Rita Johnson, Henry Hull
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

When a fellow bridge builder is killed in an accident, two of his co-workers bring his now orphaned daughter to New York to be adopted by relatives.

Director: David Butler
Stars: Bing Crosby, Gloria Jean, Charles Winninger
Going My Way (1944)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Youthful Father Chuck O'Malley led a colorful life of sports, song, and romance before joining the Roman Catholic clergy, but his level gaze and twinkling eyes make it clear that he knows ... See full summary »

Director: Leo McCarey
Stars: Bing Crosby, Barry Fitzgerald, Frank McHugh
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Charles 'Chuck' Daly
Fred Waring and His Pennsylvanians ...
Themselves
Ted Healy ...
William Williams
...
Barbara 'Babs' Steward
...
Betty Bradley
Walter Catlett ...
Professor Sylvester Biddle
Johnnie Davis ...
Buzz Bolton (as Johnny Davis)
Ford Washington Lee ...
Buck (as Buck)
John William Sublett ...
Bubbles (as Bubbles)
Fred Waring ...
Ernie Mason
...
Trout
Mabel Todd ...
Cuddles
Scotty Bates ...
Scotty
George MacFarland ...
Hap
Poley McClintock ...
Poley
Edit

Storyline

Winfield College students who are trying to put together the annual varsity show come into conflict with their faculty adviser, a stodgy old professor whose ideas are hopelessly out of date, and who won't even let the new "swing" music be played in the show. They decide to get ahold of a former student who is now a big Broadway star and have him direct their show. What they don't know is that this "star's" last three shows were big flops. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

IT'S THE CHEER LEADER OF ALL SCREEN MUSICALS! (original ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Musical

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

4 September 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Aprenda a Sorrir  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Turner library print) | (re-release) (edited)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

When Fred Waring was approached to play a starring role in this film, he brought his famous glee club, The Pennsylvanians, to the shoot and planned on using the college glee club from Pomona College for additional singers. When he arrived at the campus he found the Glee Club conductor was ill but his replacement was a young, energetic man named Robert Shaw. After the movie was finished, Shaw followed Waring to New York, where he founded the Collegiate Chorale and the Robert Shaw Chorale. Robert Shaw went on to be one of the most important personalities in American choral music in the 20th century. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Have You Got Any Castles? (1938) See more »

Soundtracks

Come Join the Band
(uncredited)
Composer unknown
Played and Sung by Fred Waring and His Pennsylvanians in a medley of football songs in the finale
(The Stanford Fight Song)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Here's one of your few opportunities to see the work of the tap dancer Fred Astaire called the best of his generation
24 October 2008 | by (San Antonio, Texas) – See all my reviews

Why watch Varsity Show? Two words: John Bubbles, the man Fred Astaire said was the greatest tap dancer of his generation. John Sublette (John Bubbles was his stage name) and his partner, Ford Washington Lee, were Buck and Bubbles, with Buck primarily at the piano and Bubbles dancing and singing. They were major stars in vaudeville. I can't explain dancing any more than an infant can explain milk, but I know the good stuff when I see it. John Bubbles combined tap, a sort of fast shuffle and ingenious rhythm into something I wouldn't argue with Astaire about. He has a couple of short numbers in this inane college musical and one Buck and Bubbles short production number to "Have You Got Any Castles, Baby?" They make watching the movie something special.

Among the aged aspects of Varsity Show that you have to get past to enjoy the tap artistry of John Bubbles are...the jokes are so corny even Iowa wouldn't take credit for them...the pacing is just about as matter-of-fact as that bland title...several of the students have long since past their college years...ironically, Dick Powell seems too young for the part...and Fred Waring as the drama teacher is so sincere, so constantly smiling and so solicitous of the students as to be creepy.

Still, the Richard Whiting and Johnny Mercer songs aren't bad. "We're working Our Way Through College," sung by Powell and the students as they stride through the campus, is bouncy and funny.

"We're working our way through college / To get a lot of knowledge / That we'll probably never ever use again.

It's swell to tell what parallel and parallax is, / But after graduation will it pay our taxes?"

For those fond of choral music there's Waring and his Pennsylvanians (they're in the movie as college students) doing some fine singing. Aficionados of college pep songs will hear a bunch of them at the big smash close. And for those with a morbid fondness for stories about alcoholics, there's Ted Healy in a major role and Lee Dixon in a minor one. Healy, who's the reason there was a Three Stooges, wound up in Hollywood as one of the highest paid comedy actors. His specialty was the big grump. Let me tell you, he was good. He also was a big-time alcoholic. He got into a drunken fight the night his first child was born (the year Varsity Show was released) and died several hours later. He was 41. Lee Dixon was big and blond, an eccentric dancer in the early Buddy Ebsen style. He was handsome enough with an open, quizzical kind of face. He towered over everyone else. He was 23 when he made Varsity Show and played one of the students, had a few lines and a couple of brief dance steps. By the early Forties he was drinking so heavily no one wanted to take a chance on him. Rodgers and Hammerstein offered him the part of Will Smith in Oklahoma! after extracting the promise he wouldn't hit the bottle. He received great reviews with his two numbers, "Kansas City" and "All Er Nuthin'" (with Celeste Holm as Ado Annie). All was well for a year or so, then he started sneaking drinks, then more and more. That was that. He faded fast and died at 39 in 1954. What's the moral to Healy and Dixon? You've got me.

The story? The kids at Winfield College are putting on the annual varsity show but their professor adviser insists that there'll be nothing "swinging" or "modern." A group of them decide to go to New York and ask Chuck Daly (Dick Powell), famous Broadway producer and Winfield graduate, to take over the show. They've got a lot of great songs and ideas. They don't know that Daly has had three flops in a row and is broke. We can skip the next hour. The show is a smash, on Broadway no less, with a Busby Berkeley finale. Chuck wins a co- ed's love with Rosemary Lane the co-ed. She's second billed after Powell. Her sister, Priscilla, is third billed and gets a song to sing and a few dance steps to share with Dixon. Priscilla Lane has never done much for me, but here, at 22 and in her first movie, she's a cutie pie.

College musicals always seem to give off that indulgent condescension that so many adults reserve, usually to their regret, for the young. Still, some can be a lot of fun. There are three I like a lot. Too Many Girls has a book as inane as Varsity Show, but it has a great Rodgers and Hart score and a terrific Lucille Ball performance. Best Foot Forward has a fine Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane score, including that rouser, "Buckle Down, Winsocki," plus Ball again, and a great cast that includes June Allyson and Nancy Walker. Good News is a lot of fun, just as corny as the rest, but June Allyson is appealing, Peter Lawford avoids being appalling, and best of all there's Joan McCracken and Ray McDonald dancing. "Pass that Peace Pipe" is a showcase for both of them, especially McCracken.


13 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Danny Kaye? jalaw-1
Discuss Varsity Show (1937) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?