5.4/10
604
39 user 17 critic

Just Imagine (1930)

New York, 1980: airplanes have replaced cars, numbers have replaced names, pills have replaced food, government-arranged marriages have replaced love, and test tube babies have replaced ...... See full summary »

Director:

David Butler

Writers:

Buddy G. DeSylva (story & dialogue) (as De Sylva), Lew Brown (story & dialogue) (as Brown) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

In the Gay Nineties, a seductive nightclub singer contends with several suitors, including a jealous escaped convict and a handsome temperance league member.

Director: Lowell Sherman
Stars: Mae West, Cary Grant, Owen Moore
Red Dust (1932)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The owner of a rubber plantation becomes involved with the new wife of one of his employees.

Director: Victor Fleming
Stars: Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Gene Raymond
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

After a failed attempt at running for governor, D.A. Mark Brady is appointed warden of the state prison where many of the criminals he prosecuted are incarcerated.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: Walter Huston, Phillips Holmes, Constance Cummings
Carmencita (1894)
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Performing on what looks like a small wooden stage, wearing a dress with a hoop skirt and white high-heeled pumps, Carmencita does a dance with kicks and twirls, a smile always on her face.

Director: William K.L. Dickson
Stars: Carmencita
Convict 13 (1920)
Short | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A young golfer is mugged by an escaped convict and finds himself in a prison where he foils a jailbreak.

Directors: Edward F. Cline, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Sybil Seely, Joe Roberts
Dead End (1937)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The lives of a young man and woman, an infamous gangster and a group of street kids converge one day in a volatile New York City slum.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Sylvia Sidney, Joel McCrea, Humphrey Bogart
Entr'acte (1924)
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An absolute dada movie. Somebody gets killed, his coffin gets out of control and after a chase it stops. The person gets out of it and let everybody who followed the coffin dissapear.

Director: René Clair
Stars: Jean Börlin, Inge Frïss, Francis Picabia
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A Chinese warlord and an engaged Christian missionary fall in love.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Nils Asther, Toshia Mori
Short | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A young wife and her musician husband live in poverty in a New York City tenement. The husband's job requires him to go away for for a number of days. On his return, he is robbed by the ... See full summary »

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Elmer Booth, Lillian Gish, Clara T. Bracy
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A wanted gangster is both king and prisoner of the Casbah. He is protected from arrest by his friends, but is torn by his desire for freedom outside. A visiting Parisian beauty may just tempt his fate.

Director: Julien Duvivier
Stars: Jean Gabin, Gabriel Gabrio, Saturnin Fabre
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Queen Christina of Sweden is a popular monarch who is loyal to her country. However, when she falls in love with a Spanish envoy, she must choose between the throne and the man she loves.

Director: Rouben Mamoulian
Stars: Greta Garbo, John Gilbert, Ian Keith
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

In 1910 the British Antarctic Expedition, led by Capt. Robert F. Scott, embarks from Lyttleton, NZ on a quest to become the first to reach the South Pole.

Director: Herbert G. Ponting
Stars: Robert Falcon Scott, Herbert G. Ponting, Henry R. Bowers
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
El Brendel ... Single O
Maureen O'Sullivan ... LN-18
John Garrick ... J-21
Marjorie White ... D-6
Frank Albertson ... RT-42
Hobart Bosworth ... Z-4
Kenneth Thomson ... MT-3
Mischa Auer ... B-36
Ivan Linow ... Loko / Boko
Joyzelle Joyner ... Loo Loo / Boo Boo (as Joyzelle)
Wilfred Lucas ... X-10
Edit

Storyline

New York, 1980: airplanes have replaced cars, numbers have replaced names, pills have replaced food, government-arranged marriages have replaced love, and test tube babies have replaced ... well, you get the idea. Scientists revive a man struck by lightning in 1930; he is rechristened "Single O". He is befriended by J-21, who can't marry the girl of his dreams because he isn't "distinguished" enough -- until he is chosen for a 4-month expedition to Mars by a renegade scientist. The Mars J-21, his friend, and stowaway Single O visit is full of scantily clad women doing Busby Berkeley-style dance numbers and worshiping a fat middle-aged man. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Come today...soar on wings of fancy to the magic days of tomorrow's existence...see life, love in 1980---find out what your grandchildren are going to do! See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 November 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

DeSylva, Brown & Henderson's Just Imagine See more »

Filming Locations:

Arcadia, California, USA

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$1,100,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Fox Film Corporation See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(FMC Library Print) | (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This was the final big budget science fiction feature film to be released by a major American studio until The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). See more »

Quotes

Single O: [upon meeting Looloo, then Loko] She's not the queen - *he* is!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Lucifer Rising (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

The Romance of Elmer Stremingway
(1930) (uncredited)
Music by Ray Henderson
Lyrics by Buddy G. DeSylva and Lew Brown
Performed by El Brendel
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Back to the Future
23 May 2004 | by lugonianSee all my reviews

JUST IMAGINE (Fox, 1930), directed by David Butler, goes on record as being first science fiction motion picture of the sound era, in fact, the first science fiction musical, but like many Hollywood firsts, starts off cleverly with originality and potential, but in conclusion, a bitter disappointment. While the story and screenplay could have been lifted from legendary science fiction writers of Jules Verne or H.G. Welles, the credit for this futuristic comedy goes to songwriters B.G. DeSylva, Ray Henderson and Lew Brown, who have previously scored successfully the Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell musical, SUNNY SIDE UP (1929).

The opening minutes start off quite promisingly in documentary style with newsreel footage showing what New York City was like in the year 1880, calm and peaceful, with a pedestrian seen being given the right of way from a horse and buggie driver; then shifting fifty years later to 1930 showing the more modern New York City, more crowded with congestion of automobiles driving down Fifth Avenue at a faster pace with a lone pedestrian trying to cross the street in between the passing cars (so far, no different from the New York of today); concluding with, just imagine, as the title cards indicate, New York City fifty years into the future, 1980, where names are changed to numbers (practically true in that respect in today's society since identification to an individual's name can be traced through Social Security numbers), and means of transportation from buses and automobiles in 1930 replaced by space cars flying through the air, along with communication not by telephone but through a television transmitter (or picture phone). The central characters in this story are J-21 (John Garrick), an air pilot for a Transatlantic Airliner, and his best friend/ roommate, RT-42 (Frank Albertson). Jack, or better known as J-21, is deeply in love with LN-18 (Maureen O'Sullivan) while RT-42 finds comedic romance with a perky blonde named D-6 (Marjorie White). J-21's marriage to LN-18 has been ruled against by the Tribunal Judge (George Irving) in favor of MT-3 (Kenneth Thomson), a much wealthier and more distinguished rival, much to the disappointment of the young couple. Then there is Ole Petersen (El Brendel), who was struck by lightning in 1930 while playing a game of golf, found by a group of scientists who use him as a scientific experiment by reviving him with the use of machines after being dead for fifty years.

While much of the story is set in the year 1980, the movie fails to capture the essence of 1980 by looking very much like 1930, ranging from hairstyles, spoken dialogue and methods of singing and dancing, which is forgivable considering the writers didn't have any foresight to what was to be in 1980, yet could have stretched to the imagination of things to come, but who could have imagined in 1930 that by 1980 the world not only had gone through a second World War, has been introduced to a new craze of music called rock & roll or disco; entertainment through watching color television, traveling via jet airliners, as well as having man rocketing to and walking on the moon by 1969 (instead of Mars in 1980 as indicated here). Had this been a story that opened in the year 1980, leading the central characters through an invention such as a time tunnel finding them transferred to the year 1930, JUST IMAGINE would have succeeded by today's standards. However, movie goers of 1930 were more interested as well as amazed by the eye-view structure of 1980 than with 1930. As it now stands, JUST IMAGINE plays more like a bad 1950s science fiction fantasy spoof that simply falls apart with numerous song interludes and one production number, choreographed by Seymour Felix, set on the planet Mars.

The songs and production numbers presented in the order as they appear include: "There's Something About an Old-Fashioned Girl" (sung by John Garrick); "Mother Ought to Tell Their Daughters" (sung by Marjorie White); "I Am Only the Words, You Are Melody" (Sung by John Garrick); "I Am Only the Words, You are Melody" (sung by chorus); "The Drinking Song" (sung by John Garrick and male chorus); "Never Swat a Fly" (sung by Frank Albertson and Marjorie White); "Romance of Elmer Stremingway" (sung by El Brendel); "I Am Only the Words, You Are Melody" (recited by Maureen O'Sullivan); and "The Dance of Victory" (danced by aliens from Mars). Of the handful of songs, "There's Something About an Old-Fashioned Girl" ranks one of the more listen-able tunes in spite of its corny structure and John Garrick's style of singing while facing the camera and later envisioning his own idea of numerous old-fashioned girls of his dreams. Frank Albertson and Marjorie White bring life into the story with their peppy "Never Swat a Fly" number which comes off as both enjoyable and amusing. Supposedly deleted from the final print by the time it reached the theaters in New York City, the number has been restored, moving up the standard length from 102 to 109 minutes.

True, JUST IMAGINE does not hold up very well, considering its handful of out-of-date vaudeville routines and musical numbers combined, or the possibility of El Brendel's brand of humor lacking to stir up some chuckles, but this is an oddity worth viewing once mainly for its concept, a look into the future that for now, has past. So far, it has never been distributed on either video cassette of DVD. JUST IMAGINE can be seen and studied whenever shown on cable television's Fox Movie Channel. Seeing is believing, and JUST IMAGINE is something to see to be believed. It's not great, never was, never will be, but what a creative idea this was. It's certainly something that modern filmmakers could remake today, minus the musical numbers, to amend the errors made in 1930. Just imagine? (**)


25 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 39 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed