19 user 6 critic

Reaching for the Moon (1930)

Unrated | | Comedy, Romance | 21 February 1931 (USA)
Wall Street wizard, Larry Day, new to the ways of love, is coached by his valet. He follows Vivian Benton on an ocean liner, where cocktails, laced with a "love potion," work their magic. ... See full summary »


Edmund Goulding


Irving Berlin (based on a story: with music), Edmund Goulding | 1 more credit »




Complete credited cast:
Douglas Fairbanks ... Larry Day
Bebe Daniels ... Vivien Benton
Edward Everett Horton ... Roger - the Valet
Claud Allister ... Sir Horace Partington Chelmsford
Jack Mulhall ... Jimmy Carrington
Walter Walker Walter Walker ... James Benton
June MacCloy ... Kitty - Aero Girl With Long Earrings
Helen Jerome Eddy ... Larry's Secretary
Bing Crosby ... Bing
Learn more

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Wall Street wizard, Larry Day, new to the ways of love, is coached by his valet. He follows Vivian Benton on an ocean liner, where cocktails, laced with a "love potion," work their magic. He then loses his fortune in the market crash and feels he has also lost his girl... Written by Herman Seifer <alagain@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


What excitement! What novelty! What modern day splendor. Fairbanks in a three-mile-a-minute comedy-drama. See more »


Comedy | Romance


Unrated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The world premiere was at the Criterion Theatre, New York, on 29 December 1930. See more »


Larry Day: [Vivien has asked Larry for five minutes of his time] Sit down. I'll be with you in just a minute.
Vivien Benton: A minute? Well, that only leaves me four.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Originally released at 91 minutes; surviving versions are usually cut to 62 minutes. A 74-minute version aired in 1998 on USA cable channel AMC. See more »


Featured in Hollywood and the Stars: The One and Only Bing (1963) See more »


Reaching for the Moon
Written by Irving Berlin
(heard instrumentally over the opening credits, as background music for a love scene, then briefly at the end)
See more »

User Reviews

Bombast and flamboyance from the first era of movies
1 November 2013 | by SimonJackSee all my reviews

Douglas Fairbanks was 47 years old when he starred in "Reaching for the Moon," and in nine more years, he would be dead from a heart attack. He had only two more starring roles after this, and ended his career with only five movies since the advent of sound. While bickering with Hollywood moguls is cited as the main reason for his early retirement by age 51, his few "talkies" hint at his fading star.

No one could doubt his continued athleticism. In this movie, he showed some of the moves and agility that made him the king of the swashbucklers throughout the silent film era. But two things seemed to me to detract from his screen persona. First was his bombast and flamboyance. Surely, these were attributes in silent films when facial expressions and body movements were exaggerated to make up for the lack of sound. Fairbanks seems to be one of those early era actors who couldn't adjust to the less audacious acting. The second thing was his high-pitched voice. It wasn't effeminate, but its higher pitch did detract from the rougher masculine image of his leading role.

Bebe Daniels, on the other hand, had no difficulty transitioning from silent to sound film. She started as a child actress and had a long string of movies through the end of the silent era. She had a beautiful singing voice and had a number of good roles in musical films through the 1930s. She married actor/singer Ben Lyon in 1930, and in the late 30s they moved to England where they were a very successful husband-and- wife team on stage and on the radio.

This was also just the third appearance of Bing Crosby in the movies. Although his name had not yet appeared in any film credits – and wouldn't until the following year, he did have one song in this shortened film version. It also was the first film with Irving Berlin's music.

The plot of this film is OK, but the script doesn't make it very convincing. Still, it is an entertaining film with some historical value as well. It gives us a picture of the Hollywood scene during the years of transition from silent to sound films. We see some of the stars of those early years. And, one more little note of history to me was the setting of the ship voyage during the stock market crash of October 29, 1929. Not many movies were made that had the great stock market crash in them. It's understandable that Hollywood wouldn't draw people to movies about depression, with the widespread depression that followed. But the treatment of the stock crash in this film gives it a nice added historical touch about an event that is rarely found in films of the mid-20th century.

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English | French

Release Date:

21 February 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Lucky Break See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(shortened) | (original) | (Ontario)

Sound Mix:



Black and White (Sepia)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

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