Hitting a New High (1937)

80 or 85 mins | Musical comedy | 24 December 1937

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was It Never Happened Before . According to a HR news item, Gene Raymond was first slated to co-star with Lily Pons in the production. Although HR announced that M-G-M songwriters Bob Wright and Chet Forrest had been hired by RKO to write a song for Pons, no song by those composers was heard in the final film. HR also announced that Carl Harbaugh was writing gags for the picture while it was being shot. MPH 's "In the Cutting Room" adds Billy Gilbert to the cast, and HR production charts and news items add Marek Windheim, Rolfe Sedan, Kathleen Ellis, Larry Law, Edward Hall and Paul Rochin. Their participation in the final film has not been confirmed. Some reviews list Jack Arnold as Vinton Haworth, his former stage name. Modern sources state that the film lost considerable money at the box office and severely damaged Lasky's position as a producer at RKO. Hitting a New High was Lily Pons's last film for RKO and the last non-concert film she ever made. She married musical director Andre Kostelanetz in ... More Less

The working title of this film was It Never Happened Before . According to a HR news item, Gene Raymond was first slated to co-star with Lily Pons in the production. Although HR announced that M-G-M songwriters Bob Wright and Chet Forrest had been hired by RKO to write a song for Pons, no song by those composers was heard in the final film. HR also announced that Carl Harbaugh was writing gags for the picture while it was being shot. MPH 's "In the Cutting Room" adds Billy Gilbert to the cast, and HR production charts and news items add Marek Windheim, Rolfe Sedan, Kathleen Ellis, Larry Law, Edward Hall and Paul Rochin. Their participation in the final film has not been confirmed. Some reviews list Jack Arnold as Vinton Haworth, his former stage name. Modern sources state that the film lost considerable money at the box office and severely damaged Lasky's position as a producer at RKO. Hitting a New High was Lily Pons's last film for RKO and the last non-concert film she ever made. She married musical director Andre Kostelanetz in 1938. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
30 Nov 37
p. 3.
Film Daily
3 Dec 37
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Aug 37
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Aug 37
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Aug 37
p. 18.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Sep 37
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Sep 37
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Oct 37
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Nov 37
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Nov 37
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
2 Dec 37
p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald
23 Oct 37
p. 49.
Motion Picture Herald
4 Dec 37
p. 39.
New York Times
27 Dec 37
p. 11.
Variety
1 Dec 37
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Exec prod
WRITERS
Gag wrt
Contr to scr const
Contr to scr const
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dresser
COSTUMES
MUSIC
SOUND
PRODUCTION MISC
SOURCES
SONGS
Mad scene aria from the opera Lucia de Lammermour , music by Gaetano Donizetti, libretto by Salvatore Cammarano
"Je suis Titania" from the opera Mignon , music by Ambroise Thomas, libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré
"Nightingale Song" from Parysatis , music and libretto by Charles Camille Saint-Saëns
+
SONGS
Mad scene aria from the opera Lucia de Lammermour , music by Gaetano Donizetti, libretto by Salvatore Cammarano
"Je suis Titania" from the opera Mignon , music by Ambroise Thomas, libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré
"Nightingale Song" from Parysatis , music and libretto by Charles Camille Saint-Saëns
"I Hit a New High," "This Never Happened Before" and "Let's Give Love Another Chance," music by James McHugh, lyrics by Harold Adamson.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
It Never Happened Before
Release Date:
24 December 1937
Production Date:
late August--late October 1937
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
17 December 1937
Copyright Number:
LP7666
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Victor System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
80 or 85
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
PCA No:
3691
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Before millionaire opera benefactor and would-be big game hunter Lucius B. Blynn leaves Paris for Africa with his press agent, Corny Davis, Corny hears Suzette, an impressive French soprano, singing with a band lead by her boyfriend, American Jimmy James. Corny offers Suzette a chance to audition for Blynn in Africa, and Suzette, who longs to abandon jazz in favor of opera, accepts. While hunting in an African jungle, Corny leads Blynn to "discover" Suzette, now called Oogahunga, the Bird-Girl. Dressed in a costume made of bird feathers, Suzette sings her way into Blynn's heart and is transported back to New York, where she is coached by an unsuspecting voice teacher. At the same time, Jimmy, who has no knowledge of Suzette's antics, prepares to open a new club, "Chez Suzette," with Suzette as the show's headliner. When Suzette, posing as Blynn's exotic Bird-Girl, makes her American singing debut on the radio, Jimmy recognizes her voice and sneaks into her bedroom at Blynn's estate. Caught, Suzette reluctantly agrees to sing at Jimmy's club every night in order to maintain her Bird-Girl identity during the day. The arrangement works until Blynn invites opera maestro Andreas Mazzini and composer Carter Haig, who wants Suzette to perform his new opera, to hear his Bird-Girl. When Suzette appears, Mazzini and Haig are stunned but, anxious to keep their potential backer from humiliation, say nothing about their discovery. In spite of Mazzini and Corny's attempts at preventing Blynn from hearing Suzette's nightclub show, Suzette's ruse is finally revealed. Disgusted by the demands of both Mazzini and Blynn, however, Suzette announces that she is giving up opera to ... +


Before millionaire opera benefactor and would-be big game hunter Lucius B. Blynn leaves Paris for Africa with his press agent, Corny Davis, Corny hears Suzette, an impressive French soprano, singing with a band lead by her boyfriend, American Jimmy James. Corny offers Suzette a chance to audition for Blynn in Africa, and Suzette, who longs to abandon jazz in favor of opera, accepts. While hunting in an African jungle, Corny leads Blynn to "discover" Suzette, now called Oogahunga, the Bird-Girl. Dressed in a costume made of bird feathers, Suzette sings her way into Blynn's heart and is transported back to New York, where she is coached by an unsuspecting voice teacher. At the same time, Jimmy, who has no knowledge of Suzette's antics, prepares to open a new club, "Chez Suzette," with Suzette as the show's headliner. When Suzette, posing as Blynn's exotic Bird-Girl, makes her American singing debut on the radio, Jimmy recognizes her voice and sneaks into her bedroom at Blynn's estate. Caught, Suzette reluctantly agrees to sing at Jimmy's club every night in order to maintain her Bird-Girl identity during the day. The arrangement works until Blynn invites opera maestro Andreas Mazzini and composer Carter Haig, who wants Suzette to perform his new opera, to hear his Bird-Girl. When Suzette appears, Mazzini and Haig are stunned but, anxious to keep their potential backer from humiliation, say nothing about their discovery. In spite of Mazzini and Corny's attempts at preventing Blynn from hearing Suzette's nightclub show, Suzette's ruse is finally revealed. Disgusted by the demands of both Mazzini and Blynn, however, Suzette announces that she is giving up opera to marry Jimmy and sing jazz. +

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.