MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 6,280 this week

Varsity Show (1937)

 -  Musical  -  4 September 1937 (USA)
6.3
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.3/10 from 187 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 2 critic

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annual varsity show come into conflict with their faculty adviser, a stodgy old professor whose ideas are hopelessly out of date...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 »
0Check in
0Share...

On Disc

at Amazon

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

list image
a list of 128 titles
created 19 Apr 2011
 
a list of 108 titles
created 08 Nov 2011
 
a list of 29 titles
created 02 Jul 2012
 
a list of 3141 titles
created 16 Jan 2013
 
a list of 1152 titles
created 06 Aug 2013
 

Related Items

Search for "Varsity Show" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Varsity Show (1937)

Varsity Show (1937) on IMDb 6.3/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Varsity Show.
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Entertainers enter a political rally to get out of the rain and become part of the show. One of them (Powell) gives a speech in place of the besotted candidate (Walburn) and is chosen to be... See full summary »

Director: Roy Del Ruth
Stars: Dick Powell, Ann Dvorak, Fred Allen
Four Wives (1939)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Three of the four musically inclined daughters of Adam Lemp, the Dean of the Briarwood Music Foundation, are settling into their lives as wives, but not all is well. Thea Lemp has long ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Priscilla Lane, Rosemary Lane, Lola Lane
Colleen (1936)
Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

The Ames Company makes every effort to keep Uncle Cedric away from any decisions or work. This is in the best interests for him and the company. Trouble starts when he hires a schemer named... See full summary »

Director: Alfred E. Green
Stars: Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler, Jack Oakie
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 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 6.4/10 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
Another Dawn (1937)
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Colonel John Wister, on duty with the British army in the desert region of Dubik, returns to England on leave. There he falls in love with Julia Ashton, who cares deeply for him but ... See full summary »

Director: William Dieterle
Stars: Kay Francis, Errol Flynn, Ian Hunter
Stage Struck (1936)
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Broadway dance director George Randall (Dick Powell) is stuck with staging a Broadway show starring Peggy Revere (Joan Blondell), a wealthy but untalented performer who is starring only ... See full summary »

Director: Busby Berkeley
Stars: Dick Powell, Joan Blondell, Warren William
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Bob Brent, a young Marine from Arkansas, impresses his comrades with his singing ability, and they pitch in to send him to New York to compete in an amateur contest. Success in the contest,... See full summary »

Director: Ray Enright
Stars: Dick Powell, Doris Weston, Lee Dixon
Comedy | Musical | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

An actor can only get a radio job if he can prove that he's an authentic cowboy.

Director: Lloyd Bacon
Stars: Dick Powell, Pat O'Brien, Priscilla Lane
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Linda Lawrence rises from secretary to account executive in an advertising agency. She falls in love with ex-football star Jimmy Hall and marries him. Radio man Harry Galleon will push her ... See full summary »

Director: Busby Berkeley
Stars: Wayne Morris, Priscilla Lane, Humphrey Bogart
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A woman raises her son Ted to be a good loser, in effect creating a weakling who never asserts himself. Even after marrying his childhood sweetheart Barbara and assuming family obligations,... See full summary »

Director: Stanley Logan
Stars: Wayne Morris, Priscilla Lane, John Litel
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Story follows the training and personal lives of three recruits in the Army Air Corps --- a wealthy playboy, a college jock and an auto mechanic. Love interest is supplied by a female ... See full summary »

Director: Mitchell Leisen
Stars: Ray Milland, William Holden, Wayne Morris
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Charles 'Chuck' Daly
Fred Waring and His Pennsylvanians
Ted Healy ...
William Williams
Rosemary Lane ...
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:

See college life in the RAH! 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 »

Goofs

When the college kids arrive in New York to put on there show there are about 60 of them and they have only a few props. When they put on their show they have massive, elaborate sets and props, more than 200 actors and the stage is much larger than the whole theater. See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Opie
(1902) (uncredited)
Music by E.A. Fenstad
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Return to Winfield College
10 October 2003 | by (Kissimmee, Florida) – See all my reviews

VARSITY SHOW (Warner Brothers, 1937), directed by William Keighley, is a college campus musical, in fact, Warners' only contribution to the college musical of the 1930s. Originally distributed in theaters at two hours in length, circulating prints are from the 1940s reissue at 79 minutes, with 40 minutes of material clipped from the original negative and lost since then. Considering this edition happened to be the only known print in existence today, this review is taken on the basis from the edited version.

The story begins with Ernie Mason (Fred Waring) and his fellow students of Winfield College rehearsing for the upcoming annual varsity show. Ernie, assistant to Professor Sylvester Biddle (Walter Catlett), the faculty adviser, finds he and the students aren't being given the freedom they need to put on a successful show. Biddle insists the show be done his way or none at all, in spite that his ideas are out-of-date and his refusal to allow swing music as part of the score. Janitors Buck and Bubbles come up with an idea in hiring Charles "Chuck" Daly (Dick Powell), a former alumnus now a successful Broadway producer, to help direct the show. Betty Bradley (Priscilla Lane), Buzz Bolton (Johnnie Davis), Johnny "Rubberlegs" Stevens (Lee Dixon) and Trout (Sterling Holloway) volunteer in coming to New York City to locate Daly. At first Daly refuses, but because Daly has just closed his latest Broadway flop (his third in a row), he and his assistant, William W. Williams (Ted Healy) decide to return to Winfield College where they not only agree to help direct the varsity show, but become part of the fraternity by staying in the dormitory run by Mrs. Smith (Emma Dunn), as well as finding themselves suitable love partners, Daly with Barbara Steward (Rosemary Lane) and gravel voice Williams with Cuddles (Mabel Todd), a buck-tooth, bespectacled blonde with a very peculiar laugh.

With the music and lyrics by Johnny Mercer and Richard Whiting, the good selection of songs from the 79 minute print includes: "The Varsity Show's Rehearsing Today at Three O'Clock" (sung by cast); "Old King Cole" (sung by Johnnie Davis); "We're Working Our Way Through College" (sung by Dick Powell); "I'm Dependable" (sung by Priscilla Lane and Fred Waring/ written by Tom Waring and Don Raye); "On With the Dance" (sung by Rosemary Lane); "You Got Something There" (sung by Dick Powell and Rosemary Lane); Tap dance solo act performed by Buck and Bubbles; "Have You Got Any Castles, Baby?" (sung by Priscilla Lane); "Love Is on the Air Tonight" (sung by Buck and Bubbles); "Have You Got Any Castles, Baby?" (tap dance by Buck and Bubbles); "On With the Dance" (sung by Buck and Bubbles); "Old King Cole" (sung by Johnnie Davis); "On With the Dance" (reprise); "You Got Something There" and "Love Is On the Air Tonight." If one looks very closely to the opening credits and to the list of songs, one tune, "Little Fraternity Pin," is listed but not heard in VARSITY SHOW.

As much the story may be as predictable as any college musical of that time, the majority of the songs for this production were quite standard. Forgotten today, VARSITY SHOW contains the most entertaining college finale ever presented. Choreographed by Busby Berkeley, it did get nominated for an Academy Award in the best dance direction category. Though it didn't win, VARSITY SHOW still demonstrates Berkeley's true ability in his creative staging techniques. With Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians orchestrating the finale, the real show stopper centers upon an individual co-ed throwing a football on numerous occasions across the stage over to a group of students to form themselves into spelled-out letters of well known universities as Yale, Wisconsin, Notre Dame and Stanford. All these letters are used with color tiles with the underscoring to just about every familiar college song imaginable. It's an excellent production that makes up for whatever flaws the film itself contains. Buck and Bubbles shouldn't go unnoticed. They, too, contribute to several good dance routines. Not quite as effective and faster style of the Nicholas Brothers over at 20th Century-Fox, but a routinely style all their own.

The supporting cast includes: Halliwell Hobbes as Dean J.M. Meredith; Edward Brophy as Mike "Curly" Barclay; Ben Weldon, Robert Homans and Tom Kennedy. Lee Dixon, who was becoming a familiar face in the Warners musical starting with GOLD DIGGERS OF 1937 (1936), followed by taking second billing opposite Ruby Keeler in READY, WILLING AND ABLE (1937), and co-starring opposite Dick Powell in THE SINGING MARINE (1937), makes his final bow in VARSITY SHOW. In the edited version, he not only limited in his contribution to the story (though possibly had extensive scenes from the two hour edition), but had his name placed thirteenth in the closing cast credits. He later scored successfully in the Broadway musical, OKLAHOMA (1943), and appeared one more time on screen in the western drama, ANGEL AND THE BAD MAN (Republic, 1946), starring John Wayne, before his death in 1953.

VARSITY SHOW in present form is a pleasing musical with a bright score. (One can hope the missing footage will someday suffice and take the place of the chopped-up copy on TCM). As for the cast, Dick Powell, Ted Healy, Rosemary Lane, Johnnie Davis and Mabel Todd appeared together again in another large scale Warners musical, "Hollywood Hotel" (1937), that introduced the popular theme song, "Hooray for Hollywood." Directed entirely by Busby Berkeley, it lacked the great musical finish that highlights VARSITY SHOW so well. Rah! Rah! Rah! (***1/2)


15 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:
?