Manhattan Parade

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Manhattan Parade
Directed by Lloyd Bacon
Written by Houston Branch
Robert Lord
based on the play by Samuel Shipman
Starring Winnie Lightner
Charles Butterworth
Joe Smith
Charles Dale
Music by Harold Arlen
Harry Ruby
Cinematography Devereaux Jennings (Technicolor)
Edited by William Holmes
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date
December 24, 1931 (1931-12-24)
Running time
78 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Manhattan Parade is a 1931 American Pre-Code musical comedy film photographed entirely in Technicolor.[1] It was originally intended to be released, in the United States, early in 1931, but was shelved due to public apathy towards musicals. Despite waiting a number of months, the public proved obstinate and the Warner Bros. reluctantly released the film in December 1931 after removing all the music. Since there was no such reactions to musicals outside the United States, the film was released there as a full musical comedy in 1931.

The film pokes fun at Al Jolson, who had suffered a downturn in his career due to the public aversion to musical pictures. He had been released from his contract to Warner Bros. late in 1930.


Cast notes[edit]

  • This was the first of two films which the comedy team of Smith and Dale starred in for Warner Bros., the second being The Heart of New York. The team failed to be the success which Warner Bros. had hoped for and their contract was not renewed.


The film was the first Warner Bros. film to be filmed in the improved Technicolor process which removed grain and improved both the color and clarity of the film. This improved process had first been used on The Runaround (1931) and resulted in an attempt at a color revival by the studios late in 1931.[2] Variety praised the color work in this film, stating that "the coloring is easy on the eye and never harsh or confusing as the early color pictures were."[3]

Pre-Code Sequences[edit]

  • Bobby Watson plays the part of a gay fashion designer named Paisley.
  • In one sequence, Paisley protests that "I can cheapen myself and prostitute my art for just so long" when his boss Doris Roberts (Winnie Lightner) insists that he follow a customer's directions.
  • Herbert (Charles Butterworth) says to Paisley: "What were we talking about, Madam?"
  • John Roberts (Walter Miller), who is married to Doris, has an affair with a seventeen-year-old named Charlotte Evans (Greta Granstedt).
  • Doris orders a large quantity of tin pie pans over the phone, explaining to the seller "We use them for brassieres..........what do we use the brassieres for????? bake pies in!!!"


Three songs were written for the film by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler:

  • "I Love a Parade" (Production Number sung by Chorus)
  • "Temporarily Blue" (Sung by Winnie Lightner)
  • "I'm Happy When You're Jealous" (Sung by Winnie Lightner). It was later recorded by Isham Jones and his Orchestra for Brunswick Records (Record Number 6204).[4]


Only a black and white copy of the cut print released in 1931 in the United States seems to have survived. A print is deposited at The Library of Congress.[5] The complete film was released intact in countries outside the United States where a backlash against musicals never occurred. It is unknown whether a copy of this full version still exists.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Variety; Film Reviews; December 29, 1931
  2. ^ Los Angeles Times, June 7, 1931, Page C9; The Washington Post, September 11, 1931, Page 12; Los Angeles Times, July 9, 1931, Page A9
  3. ^ Variety; Film Reviews; December 29, 1931
  4. ^
  5. ^ Catalog of Holdings The American Film Institute Collection and The United Artists Collection at The Library of Congress, (<-book title) p.111 c.1978 by the American Film Institute

External links[edit]