Too Much Harmony

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Too Much Harmony
Directed by A. Edward Sutherland
Produced by William LeBaron
Written by Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Starring Bing Crosby
Jack Oakie
Richard "Skeets" Gallagher
Harry Green
Judith Allen
Music by Heinz Roemheld
Cinematography Theodor Sparkuhl
Edited by Richard C. Currier
Production
company
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • September 23, 1933 (1933-09-23)
Running time
76 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Too Much Harmony (1933) is a black and white American Pre-Code musical film directed by A. Edward Sutherland and released by Paramount Pictures.

Plot[edit]

A backstage musical about a Broadway star, Eddie Bronson, who is stranded with his plane in Ohio where he discovers a small-time variety act, Dixon and Day and their assistant Ruth who is also Ben Day's fiancee. When he returns to New York following a try-out of a new show, Bronson arranges for the irascible producer, Max Merlin, to put them in the show and the story develops around the mutual interest which grows between Eddie and Ruth.

At a party Bronson sings 'The Day You Came Along' and his own fiancee, Lucille, is jealous of his attentions to Ruth. Rehearsals of the show prove to be disappointing but Eddie encourages Ruth and they sing 'Thanks'. Ben decides to give up Ruth so that she can marry Eddie but Lucille will not release Eddie. Ben, with Johnny's help, masquerades as a tobacco millionaire, Charles W. Beaumont Jr., and pretends to be infatuated with Lucille who, in her enthusiasm to obtain a millionaire husband, abandons Eddie and tells him she is breaking the engagement which, of course, has the desired effect of leaving him free to marry Ruth.

The opening night is a huge success; the show includes a spectacular production number, 'Black Moonlight', sung by one of the leading ladies standing on a bridge while dancers perform on a huge draped drum. Other featured numbers are Dixon and Day's 'The Kelly's and the Cohen's', 'Cradle Me with a 'Hocha' Lullaby', 'Boo-boo-boo' and the finale 'Buckin' the Wind'.

The song 'I Guess It Had To Be That Way' was omitted from the released print of the film. Sam Coslow and Arthur Johnston also wrote 'Two Aristocrats' for this film but it was not used.
Kitty Kelly is seen singing 'Black Moonlight' but the dubbed voice was actually that of Barbara Van Brunt. Although Crosby did not sing it in the film, and it may not have been the most tuneful of songs, his commercial recording is a prime example of his singing and style at that period.[1]

Reception[edit]

The New York Times was guarded in its reaction. "The film bears the title of Too Much Harmony and those who are partial to crooning will find plenty of it in this production...Even persons who delight in Mr. Crosby’s peculiar ballads may be somewhat disappointed in his attempts to register admiration and affection, for, although he is one of the most popular singers in his line, his acting is often apt to make one uneasy."[2] Variety's review was mixed: "Pretty weak on the story end, but there’s enough incidental matter to carry this one through. It’s a musical with accent on the music and the song and cast should bring it pleasant returns all over… Between Bing Crosby and Jack Oakie, the literary deficiencies are modified. Crosby for the singing and Oakie for the comedy; a strong combo. . . At least one of the several songs should make the best-seller grade in the competent hands of Crosby. His singing ability he always had, but Crosby now has also found himself in the trouping department. It makes him a cinch."[3] The Los Angeles Evening Herald Express liked Crosby's singing, saying "In this, as in other films, the Crosby voice records as if microphones were invented for it. Bing has definite personality besides, and he grows steadily more at ease in his acting."[4]

Cast[edit]

Soundtrack[edit]

  • "Black Moonlight"
Written by Arthur Johnston and Sam Coslow
Sung by Kitty Kelly (dubbed by Barbara Van Brunt)[5]
  • "Thanks"
Written by Arthur Johnston and Sam Coslow[6][7][8]
Sung by Judith Allen; reprised by Bing Crosby
  • "Mingle with the Hoy Palloy"
Written by Arthur Johnston and Sam Coslow
Sung by Jack Oakie and Richard 'Skeets' Gallagher
  • "The Day You Came Along"
Written by Arthur Johnston and Sam Coslow
Sung by Bing Crosby
  • "Boo-boo-boo"
Written by Arthur Johnston and Sam Coslow
Sung by Bing Crosby and chorus
  • "Cradle Me with a Hotcha Lullaby"
Written by Arthur Johnston and Sam Coslow
Sung and danced by Grace Bradley
  • "I Guess It Had to Be That Way"
Written by Arthur Johnston and Sam Coslow (omitted from released print)
  • "The Kellys and the Cohens"
Sung by Jack Oakie and Richard "Skeets" Gallagher
  • "Buckin' the Wind"
Written by Arthur Johnston and Sam Coslow
Sung by Bing Crosby

Crosby recorded some of the songs for Brunswick Records[9] and "Thanks" and "The Day You Came Along" reached the charts of the day peaking at No. 2 and No. 3 respectively.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Reynolds, Fred (1986). Road to Hollywood. Gateshead, UK: John Joyce. pp. 55–56. 
  2. ^ "The New York Times". The New York Times. September 23, 1933. 
  3. ^ "Variety". Variety. September 26, 1933. 
  4. ^ "Los Angeles Evening Herald Express". Los Angeles Evening Herald Express. September 29, 1933. 
  5. ^ Reynolds, Fred (1986). Road to Hollywood. John Joyce. p. 56. 
  6. ^ Popular Music - Volume 4 - Page 109 "Thanks Words and music by Arthur Johnston and Sam Coslow. Famous Music Corp. Introduced by Judith Allen and Bing Crosby in Too Much Harmony (film)."
  7. ^ Lenny Kaye You call it madness: the sensuous song of the croon 2004- Page 334 "The Broadcast formula was turned sideways for Too Much Harmony (songwriters Coslow and Johnston even reprised their "Please" with "Thanks"), a behind-the-curtain musical that cast him as a theatrical singer caught between Judith Allen and Lilyan Tashman, in one of her ..."
  8. ^ Cocktails for two: the many lives of giant songwriter Sam Coslow 1977 Page 136 "The score contained "Thanks," "The Day You Came Along"... Too Much Harmony, which was directed by Eddie Sutherland, landed Bing Crosby solidly in the Top Ten box-office attractions of 1933 in the national poll of theater operators."
  9. ^ "A Bing Crosby Discography". A Bing Crosby Discography. Retrieved January 26, 2016. 
  10. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954. Wisconsin, USA: Record Research Inc. p. 104. ISBN 0-89820-083-0. 

External links[edit]