Top Speed

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For the arcade game, see Full Throttle (arcade game)
Top Speed
Directed by Mervyn LeRoy
Written by Play:
Harry Ruby
Guy Bolton
Bert Kalmar
Humphrey Pearson
Henry McCarty
Starring Joe E. Brown
Bernice Claire
Jack Whiting
Frank McHugh
Laura Lee
Music by Joseph Burke
Al Dubin
Leonid S. Leonardi
Larry Ceballos
Cinematography Sidney Hickox
Edited by Harold Young
Distributed by First National Pictures
A Subsidiary of Warner Bros.
Release dates
August 24, 1930
Running time
73 min.
Country United States
Language English

Top Speed is a 1930 American Pre-Code musical comedy film released by First National Pictures, a subsidiary of Warner Brothers.[1] It was based on the 1929 musical play, of the same name, by Harry Ruby, Guy Bolton and Bert Kalmar. The film stars Joe E. Brown, Bernice Claire, Jack Whiting, Laura Lee, and Frank McHugh.


Joe E. Brown and Jack Whiting are two bond clerks on a weekend vacation. Brown is pursued by a local sheriff after he attempts to illegally fish in a no fishing zone. As Brown and Whiting are running away, they arrive at an expensive hotel and end up rescuing two women (Bernice Claire and Laura Lee) who have just been in a car accident. Whiting falls in love with Claire while Brown falls for Lee. Whiting convinces Brown to stay at the hotel for the rest of the weekend. Brown begins lying to everyone at the hotel and soon everyone thinks that Brown and Whiting are millionaires. Claire's father (Edwin Maxwell) owns a speedboat and is planning to enter a big speedboat race. Since Brown has told everyone that Whiting is an expert boatsman, Claire hopes that he will be able to help her father win the race. When Claire's father (Maxwell) fires his pilot, who has been caught taking a bribe to throw the race, Claire convinces her father to let Whiting pilot his boat. Maxwell's main opponent, played by Edmund Breese, discovering that Whiting is fraud, threatens to expose him unless he excepts a bribe of 30,000 dollars to throw the race. Whiting pretends to accept the bribe but nevertheless wins the race for Claire and her father. During the race, Claire and her father learn that Whiting has taken a bribe, and are disappointed. After he wins the race, Whiting explains what happened and Claire and her father forgive him for not telling them the truth earlier.



The film was completed as a full musical. However, due to increasing disfavor towards that genre from the public (beginning in the late 1930), Warners chose to make many cuts to the film and much of the original music is missing or severely truncated.[citation needed]


  • The film survives only in the cut version which was released in late 1930 by Warner Brothers, with most of the musical numbers removed. Due to the backlash against musicals, Warner Bros. chose to cut most of the musical sequences before releasing the film.
  • The film was released as a full musical outside of the United States, where a backlash against musicals never occurred. It is unknown whether a print of this longer version still exists.
  • The complete soundtrack to the International Sound Version (which includes all of the original songs) survives at the UCLA Film and Television Archive on Vitaphone disks.[citation needed]


  • "If You Were a Traveling Salesman and I Were a Chambermaid" (Performed by Joe E. Brown and Laura Lee)
  • "Knock Knees" (Performed by Joe E. Brown, Laura Lee and chorus)
  • "Looking for the Lovelight in the Dark" (Performed by Bernice Claire, Jack Whiting and chorus)
  • "As Long as I Have You and You Have Me" (Cut from film; originally performed by Bernice Claire and Jack Whiting)
  • "Goodness Gracious" (Cut before release in the United States)
  • "I'll Know and She'll Know" (Cut before release in the United States)
  • "Keep Your Undershirt On" (Cut before release in the United States)
  • "What Would I Care?" (Cut before release in the United States)
  • "Sweeter Than You" (Cut before release in the United States)
  • "Reaching For the Moon" (Cut before release in the United States)


  1. ^ Top Speed,; accessed August 8, 2015.

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