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Banjo on My Knee (1936)

Passed | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 11 December 1936 (USA)
Believing he has killed a guest, a groom flees on his wedding night.


John Cromwell


Harry Hamilton (novel), Nunnally Johnson (screenplay)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Barbara Stanwyck ... Pearl Elliott Holley
Joel McCrea ... Ernie Holley
Walter Brennan ... Newt Holley
Buddy Ebsen ... Buddy
Helen Westley ... Grandma
Walter Catlett ... Warfield Scott
Tony Martin ... Chick Bean (as Anthony Martin)
Katherine DeMille ... Leota Long (as Katherine De Mille)
Victor Kilian ... Mr. Slade
Minna Gombell ... Ruby
Spencer Charters ... Judge Tope
Hall Johnson Choir Hall Johnson Choir ... Vocal Ensemble (as The Hall-Johnson Choir)
George Humbert ... Jules
Hilda Vaughn ... Gurtha
Cecil Weston Cecil Weston ... Hattie


Believing he has killed a guest, a groom flees on his wedding night.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


CHILDREN OF THE GREAT RIVER..their love tore them apart like the flood in its fury! (Print Ad- Poughkeepsie Eagle-News, ((Poughkeepsie NY)) 2 January 1937) See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Second of six film collaborations between Barbara Stanwyck and Joel McCrae. See more »


Pearl Elliott Holley: Make up your mind. Shuck... or be shucked!
See more »


Featured in Barbara Stanwyck: Fire and Desire (1991) See more »


With a Banjo on My Knee
Music by Jimmy McHugh
Lyrics by Harold Adamson
Performed by Buddy Ebsen and Walter Brennan
Hummed by Walter Catlett
See more »

User Reviews

Bizarre musical starring Barbara Stanwyck and Joel McCrea
12 April 2006 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

"Banjo on my Knee" is a 1936 film that will keep you guessing as to which direction it's headed nearly every time there's a scene change. McCrea plays a shantytown boy who marries a land girl (Stanwyck). The patriarch of McCrea's family, played by Walter Brennan, is desperate for a grandchild. Unfortunately, Stanwyck and McCrea can't seem to get their marriage consummated. On their wedding night, they think McCrea has murdered someone (he hasn't), so McCrea takes off for six months and sees the world while his wife waits none too patiently. The day he comes home, he talks about moving the family to Aruba and says he'll go down first for a month and then send for her. The couple get into a terrible fight because Stanwyck doesn't want to be left again. The two of them then split up again - that instant. She goes to New Orleans to work for a slimy photographer, but no sooner does she get to his apartment that she bolts and takes a job as a dishwasher in a bar.

Soon, the entire population of Shantytown is in New Orleans looking for her and for McCrea. At the bar, Tony Martin is a saloon singer who falls for Stanwyck, and soon, Buddy Ebsen, another Shantytown resident, and Walter Brennan are big hits performing there, and Stanwyck is doing duets with Martin. It goes on from there.

Some of the music is great, the highlight being "St. Louis Woman" with Brennan and the Hall Johnson Choir. Martin looks and sounds like an angel - his voice is just stunning in "There's Something in the Air" and "Where the Lazy River Goes By." Stanwyck sings just like she talks - her voice is low, pleasant, and natural. The cast is uniformly good, and Katharine DeMille has a showy role as Leota, who's in love with McCrea. McCrea, of course, is tall, handsome, and boyishly gorgeous.

I wasn't expecting a musical, and in the beginning, "Banjo on My Knee" seemed like a drama, so I never was sure what I was watching. Odd though the film may be, it was loads of fun.

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Release Date:

11 December 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mississippi-Melodie See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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