Let's Make Music

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Let's Make Music
Directed by Leslie Goodwins
Produced by Howard Benedict
Written by Nathanael West
Starring Bob Crosby
Elisabeth Risdon
Music by Roy Webb
Cinematography Jack MacKenzie
Edited by Desmond Marquette
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures
Release date
  • January 17, 1941 (1941-01-17)
Running time
84 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Let's Make Music is a 1941 musical starring Bob Crosby and written by Nathanael West. The songs in Let's Make Music include the classic "Big Noise from Winnetka".


Newton High music teacher Malvina Adams (Risdon) is asked to retire since attendance in her classes keeps dropping each year. Trying to prove she's still got it, Adams composes a school fight song which finds its way into the hands of bandleader Bob Crosby (playing himself) who turns it into an overnight hit. Though her niece Abby (Rogers) protests, Malvina travels to New York to perform her song with Bob's band, while her niece falls for the bandleader. The newness of the song fades quickly though, and Malvina tries to write one more hit song before finally giving up and returning to Newton.


Production notes[edit]

In April 1940 Nathanael West, then a contract writer at RKO Pictures, was asked to work on a script, tentatively named Malvina Swings It, which writer Charles Roberts failed to complete satisfactorily. After working on the screenplay for almost ten nonconsecutive weeks, West had turned it into Let's Make Music, which hoped to benefit from Bob Crosby's popularity. The rewriting was so significant West received solo screenwriting credit.[1]


The reviewer from The New York Times commented that, "no doubt worse movies have been made," but was at a loss to name any. The Film Daily critic called it, "a picture for all situations, ages, and types, although it is conceivable that some inflexible devotees of classical music may be holdouts, and term it esthetically 'gross.' But it's plenty gross for the box offices."[2]


  1. ^ Martin, Jay. Nathanael West: The Art of His Life. New York: Hayden Book Company, 1970. p. 367.
  2. ^ Martin, p. 367-368.

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