High, Wide and Handsome (1937)

110 or 112 mins | Musical | 1 October 1937

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HISTORY

The opening title card for this film reads "Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein's High, Wide and Handsome ." Emma S. Hammerstein, Oscar Hammerstein's widow, filed suit against Paramount for using her husband's name in the title frame, alleging it inferred that Oscar Hammerstein was co-author of the story, instead of Oscar Hammerstein II. The New York Supreme Court denied a motion for examination before trial in connection with the suit on 21 Apr 1938. As reported in HR on 11 Jan 1937, the film was shot on location at Chino, CA, with more than 3,000 extras. According to HR news items, after orchard heater smoke and influenza forced the company to leave location shooting in Chino in mid-Jan 1937, the company returned 1 Feb 1937. HR announced on 4 Feb 1937 that the film was back into production the previous day for two days' shooting of added scenes with Mitchell Leisen directing, although Leisen is not listed in the onscreen credits or in reviews. According to the Paramount Script Collection at the AMPAS library, George O'Neil wanted sole screenplay credit for the film, but Paramount offered him only "additional dialogue" credit. Under the Code of Practice rule of the Academy Writer-Producer Basic Agreement, O'Neil could not receive onscreen dialogue credit until Paramount assured the Academy that the film was a "musical production." On 29 Jun 1937, FD announced that the film would not be put into general release following its Astor Theater run in New York until after 1 Jan 1938, and that it would be road shown in key cities. MPH ... More Less

The opening title card for this film reads "Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein's High, Wide and Handsome ." Emma S. Hammerstein, Oscar Hammerstein's widow, filed suit against Paramount for using her husband's name in the title frame, alleging it inferred that Oscar Hammerstein was co-author of the story, instead of Oscar Hammerstein II. The New York Supreme Court denied a motion for examination before trial in connection with the suit on 21 Apr 1938. As reported in HR on 11 Jan 1937, the film was shot on location at Chino, CA, with more than 3,000 extras. According to HR news items, after orchard heater smoke and influenza forced the company to leave location shooting in Chino in mid-Jan 1937, the company returned 1 Feb 1937. HR announced on 4 Feb 1937 that the film was back into production the previous day for two days' shooting of added scenes with Mitchell Leisen directing, although Leisen is not listed in the onscreen credits or in reviews. According to the Paramount Script Collection at the AMPAS library, George O'Neil wanted sole screenplay credit for the film, but Paramount offered him only "additional dialogue" credit. Under the Code of Practice rule of the Academy Writer-Producer Basic Agreement, O'Neil could not receive onscreen dialogue credit until Paramount assured the Academy that the film was a "musical production." On 29 Jun 1937, FD announced that the film would not be put into general release following its Astor Theater run in New York until after 1 Jan 1938, and that it would be road shown in key cities. MPH release charts give a release date of 1 Oct 1937; it is unclear whether the 1 Oct date refers to the general release date or merely the roadshow engagements. Exploitation announcements and ads in MPH in Dec 1937 and Jan 1938 seem to corroborate that the film was released to smaller theaters in Jan. According to a HR news item, Paramount negotiated with educational authorities at various universities to make this film part of the first-year curriculum for petroleum engineering students. Var called the film "a cross-section of Americana tinged with too much Hollywood hokum." NYT stated that the film "is not a gingerbread concoction with an overlayer of romantic whipped cream, but a beef and brawn pastry leavened by the Irene Dunne-Dorothy Lamour caroling." Modern sources list William Gilmore Beymer as technical adviser on this film. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
22 Jul 37
p. 3.
Film Daily
29 Jun 37
p. 2.
Film Daily
22 Jul 37
p. 12.
Film Daily
22 Apr 38
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jan 37
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jan 37
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jan 37
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Feb 37
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Feb 37
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jul 37
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Aug 37
pp. 5-16, 18
Motion Picture Herald
10 Apr 37
p. 45.
Motion Picture Herald
24 Jul 37
p. 51.
Motion Picture Herald
4 Dec 37
p. 70.
Motion Picture Herald
29 Jan 38
p. 84.
New York Times
22 Jul 37
p. 15.
New York Times
8 Aug 1937.
---
Variety
28 Jul 37
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Rouben Mamoulian Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
Orig story and scr
Addl dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Int dec
COSTUMES
Cost des by
MUSIC
Mus dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
DANCE
Dance dir
SOURCES
SONGS
"High, Wide and Handsome," "The Folks Who Live on the Hill," "Can I Forget You?" "The Things I Want," "Allegheny Al" and "Will You Marry Me Tomorrow, Maria?" music by Jerome Kern, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein's High, Wide and Handsome
Release Date:
1 October 1937
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 21 July 1937 at Astor Theater
Los Angeles premiere: 12 August 1937 at Carthay Circle Theatre
Production Date:
began 6 January 1937
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
1 October 1937
Copyright Number:
LP7470
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
110 or 112
Length(in reels):
11
Country:
United States
PCA No:
3254
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In 1859, in Titusville, Pennsylvania, Doc Watterson's traveling medicine show burns down, and Grandma Cortlandt takes him and his daughter Sally in to work on her farm with her grandson Peter. Peter, meanwhile, drills for rock oil, dreaming of supplying the world with affordable oil. Sally and Peter soon fall in love, and he promises to build her a house on a hill among apple blossoms. Peter continues to drill until, during their wedding reception, he strikes oil and starts an oil boom on farms across the state. Soon, however, railroad magnate Walt Brennan, hoping to force the farmers to sell their oil-rich land to him, raises freight rates on his railroad. Peter, refusing to be part of Brennan's monopoly, works long hours to devise a scheme to defeat his foe and finally invents a pipeline. Brennan's friends, strangers to the small town, bring gambling and prostitutes to the local saloon, enraging the community. Brennan bids for a 20-mile stretch of land owned by saloon proprietor Joe Varese, which Peter needs for his pipeline. Varese's price is the Cortlandt hill, where Sally's house is to be built. Sally, meanwhile, has befriended saloon singer Molly, who has been ostracized by the church elders, and has come to Varese's bar to help her audition. When Peter sees Sally performing along with Molly, he is furious. Sally, in turn, is enraged when she discovers Peter has given her hilltop land to Varese and, tired of sitting at home waiting for Peter, runs away with Bowers Carnival along with her father. While Peter and the farmers work through the winter, forced to guard ... +


In 1859, in Titusville, Pennsylvania, Doc Watterson's traveling medicine show burns down, and Grandma Cortlandt takes him and his daughter Sally in to work on her farm with her grandson Peter. Peter, meanwhile, drills for rock oil, dreaming of supplying the world with affordable oil. Sally and Peter soon fall in love, and he promises to build her a house on a hill among apple blossoms. Peter continues to drill until, during their wedding reception, he strikes oil and starts an oil boom on farms across the state. Soon, however, railroad magnate Walt Brennan, hoping to force the farmers to sell their oil-rich land to him, raises freight rates on his railroad. Peter, refusing to be part of Brennan's monopoly, works long hours to devise a scheme to defeat his foe and finally invents a pipeline. Brennan's friends, strangers to the small town, bring gambling and prostitutes to the local saloon, enraging the community. Brennan bids for a 20-mile stretch of land owned by saloon proprietor Joe Varese, which Peter needs for his pipeline. Varese's price is the Cortlandt hill, where Sally's house is to be built. Sally, meanwhile, has befriended saloon singer Molly, who has been ostracized by the church elders, and has come to Varese's bar to help her audition. When Peter sees Sally performing along with Molly, he is furious. Sally, in turn, is enraged when she discovers Peter has given her hilltop land to Varese and, tired of sitting at home waiting for Peter, runs away with Bowers Carnival along with her father. While Peter and the farmers work through the winter, forced to guard the pipeline from Brennan's night-time saboteurs, Sally's popularity as a singer grows. When Peter has only two days to complete three miles of pipeline, Brennan buys the bank that holds the mortgage on the refinery which Peter uses and threatens to pull the mortgage if the refinery grants Peter more time. Then, just after Sally receives an offer from Mr. Barnum to perform in New York, Molly tells her of Peter's trouble, and Sally races to Titusville, promising Peter to bring him help. As a few loyal men work with Peter to hang the pipeline over a hill, Brennan's men come with whips to destroy it, but Sally's circus friends arrive with elephants in time to defeat Brennan and finish the pipeline. As the circus leaves, Sally and Peter are reconciled. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.