14 user 3 critic

Rhythm on the River (1940)

Popular songwriter Oliver Courtney has been getting by for years using one ghost writer for his music and another for his lyrics. When both writers meet at an inn, they fall in love and ... See full summary »


Dwight Taylor, Jacques Théry (story) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Bing Crosby ... Bob Sommers
Mary Martin ... Cherry Lane
Basil Rathbone ... Oliver Courtney
Oscar Levant ... Billy Starbuck
Oscar Shaw ... Charlie Goodrich
Charley Grapewin ... Uncle Caleb
Lillian Cornell ... Millie Starling
William Frawley ... Mr. Westlake
John Scott Trotter John Scott Trotter ... Orchestra Leader
Jeanne Cagney ... Country Cousin (as Jean Cagney)
Helen Bertram Helen Bertram ... Aunt Delia
Ken Carpenter Ken Carpenter ... Teddy Gardner (Announcer)
Charles Lane ... Bernard Schwartz
Harry Barris ... Bass Sax Player
Wingy Manone Wingy Manone ... Wingy Manone


Popular songwriter Oliver Courtney has been getting by for years using one ghost writer for his music and another for his lyrics. When both writers meet at an inn, they fall in love and then try to sell their songs under their own name. The problem is every song publisher thinks they're copying Courtney's style. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

songwriter | songwriting | See All (2) »


Some singers! Some swingers! The hum-dinger of hum-dingers!


Comedy | Musical


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Did You Know?


One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. It was released on DVD 6 May 2003 in tandem with Rhythm on the Range (1936) as part of Universal's Bing Crosby Collection, and again 11 November 2014 as one of 24 titles in Universal's Bing Crosby Silver Screen Collection. See more »


Bob Sommers: Oh, I don't know. She's gone into some kind of wing-ding...
Uncle Caleb: Wing-ding? Gosh, I thought it was a cyclone.
[reference to Grapewin's role in "The Wizard of Oz"]
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Referenced in Arena: The Orson Welles Story - Part 1 (1982) See more »


Only Forever
Music by James V. Monaco
Lyrics by Johnny Burke
Sung by Bing Crosby
also sung by Mary Martin and Bing Crosby
See more »

User Reviews

Lost his muse
18 March 2004 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Poor Basil Rathbone, an egotistical composer who's lost his muse. He's been faking it for some time, buying his lyrics and his music from various sources. Trouble is that two of the sources (Bing Crosby music) and (Mary Martin words) happen to meet and fall in love. And then they discover what they've been doing. Complications ensue, but all is righted at the end.

Crosby and Martin sing terrifically. Mary had signed a Paramount contract and also at the same time doubled as a regular on Crosby's Kraft Music Hall Radio Show. For reasons I don't understand, movie audiences didn't take to her, so she went back to Broadway and did One Touch of Venus in 1944 and stayed there.

Basil Rathbone in one of the few times he played comedy does it very well. His ego is constantly being deflated by sidekick Oscar Levant and again I'm surprised they didn't do more films together.

As in most of Crosby's Paramount vehicles, no big production numbers, but I agree with the previous reviewer about the title tune being done as an impromptu jam session in a pawn shop. Good job by all.

A surprisingly original plot and great entertainment.

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Release Date:

6 September 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ajan sävel See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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