10 user 6 critic

Rain or Shine (1930)

Passed | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 15 August 1930 (USA)
Woman inherits a traveling circus which brings financial difficulties.


Frank Capra (as Frank R. Capra)


James Gleason (book), Maurice Marks (book)




Complete credited cast:
Joe Cook ... Smiley Johnson
Louise Fazenda ... Frankie
Joan Peers ... Mary Rainey
William Collier Jr. ... Bud Conway
Tom Howard Tom Howard ... Amos K. Shrewsberry
Dave Chasen Dave Chasen ... Dave (as Dave Chason)
Alan Roscoe ... Dalton - the Ringmaster
Adolph Milar Adolph Milar ... Foltz - the Lion Tamer
Clarence Muse ... Nero
Nella Walker ... Mrs. Conway
Edward Martindel ... Mr. Conway (as Edward Martindale)
Nora Lane ... Grace Conway
Tyrell Davis ... Lord Hugo Gwynne (as Tyrrell Davis)


After her father's death, Mary Rainey takes over the Rainey Circus (which operates twice daily, rain or shine) but runs into financial troubles. In one bit reminiscent of the Marx Brothers, the circus performers are up to some ridiculous antics at a dinner party with the family of Bud Conway, Mary's beau. As times become worse and the performers go on strike, Mary must try to save the circus from rioting patrons. Written by Paul Donahue

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Sensation of the season with the most talented entertainers of stage and screen in the principal roles! (print ad - Lubbock Morning Avalanche - Palace Theatre - Lubbock, Texas - January 3, 1932) See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


(1928). Stage Play: Rain or Shine. Musical. Music by Milton Ager and Owen Murphy. Book by James Gleason and Maurice Marks. Lyrics by Jack Yellen. Music orchestrated by William Still and Arthur Schutt. Orchestra under the direction of Don Voorhees. Dances directed by Russell Markert. Dances Directed by Tom Nip. Scenic Design by Clark Robinson. Costume Design by Charles Le Maire. George M. Cohan's Theatre: 9 Feb 1928- 15 Dec 1928 (356 performances). Cast: Paul Brack, Walter Bremer, Dave Chasen (as "Simley's Protege/The Head Waiter"), Joe Cook (as "Smiley Johnson"), Ben Cutler, Vance Elliott, Rita Garcia, Edgar Gardner, James Gregory, Marion Herson, Tom Howard, Warren Hull, Vernon Jacobson, Ernest Lambart, Helen Lynd, Joe Lyons, Alex McKee, Rosie Moran, Ethel Norris, Walter Pharr, William V. Powers, Dimples Riede, Janet Velie, Nancy Welford, Devah Worrell. Produced by A.L. Jones and Morris Green. Note: Produced by Columbia Pictures as Rain or Shine (1930), directed by Frank Capra and starring Joe Cook. Although the stage version was a musical comedy, the musical numbers were deleted from the film version due to the public's distaste of the genre from 1930- early 1933 (until successfully revived by Warner Bros). The film is one of the least seen Capra films and is generally regarded as giving us a mere approximation of the extent of Joe Cook's talent which was far more effectively conveyed on stage (a situation somewhat comparable to Al Jolson's film career). Dave Chasen, later a world-renown restaurateur, and Tom Howard reprised their stage roles for the film. None of the songs in the original musical were used in the film except as background music. See more »


Smiley Johnson: Princess, I would like to have you to meet Mr. Shrewsberry. He's going to be one of the new owners of the show, one of the new partners.
Frankie: Oh, what great, big, shoulders you have!
Smiley Johnson: Not too rough, Princess. He isn't put together any too well. Don't do that. Now, don't do that.
Frankie: Oh, I just love athletic men, Mr. Gooseberry.
Amos K. Shrewsberry: You should see me pitch horse shoes.
Frankie: Oh, I'd love to, Mr. Strawberry.
Amos K. Shrewsberry: No, Blackberry, eh, Shrewsberry, is the name.
Frankie: You come and see me in my wagon sometime, Mr. Raspberry.
Smiley Johnson: Hey, now, no, ...
See more »

Alternate Versions

When this film was produced, not all theaters had converted to the "sound on film" system. Also, some of the dialogue was too lengthy to include on inter-titles or referenced things unfamiliar to foreign audiences. To address these issues, Columbia and other studios filmed foreign and domestic versions simultaneously with the same cast. (They would soon switch to filming separate versions, utilizing the same sets but different casts as was the case with the Spanish version of Universal's "Dracula.") The 68 minute "silent" international version is included on the Turner "Frank Capra: the Early Collection" set. (Some spoken dialogue remains without any title cards, mainly in the climatic fire sequence.) Most of the banter is eliminated but additional tricks and stunts have been added. Although both versions were directed by Capra (usually there were separate crews), the international version has additional scenes fleshing out the Ringmaster's machinations. It also features an alternate ending to the domestic version. See more »


References Ingagi (1930) See more »


It Ain't Gonna Rain No Mo'
(1923) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Wendell Hall
Sung a cappella by Joe Cook often
See more »

User Reviews

Joe Cook, the "One Man Vaudeville"
11 May 2009 | by drednmSee all my reviews

RAIN OR SHINE is a neat little circus film directed by Frank Capra and based on a Broadway musical that ran for almost a year in 1928.

By the time this film went into production, the vogue for musicals was over, so all the songs were cut from the film (a common occurrence in 1930). Still, there was enough plot to carry the 90-minute film.

Joe Cook was the star. The long-forgotten, Cook was a major star on Broadway. His nickname was "the one-man vaudeville" because he could sing, dance, do comedy, and perform a series of juggling tricks. Cook made his film debut in a 1929 talkie short called AT THE BALLGAME.

In RAIN OR SHINE he plays the fast-talking manager of a failing circus owned by a girl (Joan Peers) who inherited it from her father. Two employees are in cahoots to ensure the circus fails so they can take it over. In a weak subplot, Peers and her boyfriend (William Collier, Jr.) attend a disastrous dinner party at his snooty parents' mansion.

Cook is front and center through most of the film as he attends to all the problems and egos under the big top. There's also a funny running gag with Cook and a local citizen (Tom Howard) and how he becomes a partner with the help of the Princess (Louise Fazenda).

The finale is quite exciting after the bank attaches the day's receipts and the performers realize they won't get paid. Cook is terrific in a series of circus tricks as he tries to put on a big-top show all by himself. Peers and Collier are OK as the young lovers, Fazenda has little to do, Howard is funny as the local, and Dave Chasen (who founded the famous restaurant) is funny as the stooge.

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Release Date:

15 August 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Luci del circo See more »

Filming Locations:

Burbank, California, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

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