On the Avenue (1937)

89-90 mins | Musical comedy | 12 February 1937

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HISTORY

The title card in the opening credits reads, "Irving Berlin's On the Avenue ." The film's working title was Out Front . According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, Berlin was paid $75,000 plus 10% of all gross proceeds in excess of $1,125,000 to write the musical numbers in the film. Although Berlin retained the rights to the songs, he agreed that he would not license others to use them for three years after the release of the film, and after three years, with the condition that the music be used only once in a film, only for incidental music and not as production numbers. According to a NYT article, Berlin said that the germ of the song "You're Laughing at Me" was written as a verse in a 1927 song, which he felt was so bad that he did not publish it. Modern sources state that three Berlin songs, "On the Avenue," "On the Steps of Grant's Tomb" and "Swing Sister," were dropped prior to the film's release. "This Year's Kisses" was a number one song, and that song along with "Slumming on Park Avenue" and "You're Laughing at Me" made the "Your Hit Parade" broadcasts, according to modern sources. According to a HR news item, after production head Darryl Zanuck saw the rushes of the film, he assigned Berlin to produce Alexander's Ragtime Band (see above).
       Correspondence in the AMPAS files indicate that an AMPAS official contacted Twentieth Century-Fox because credits listing Gene Markey for both associate producer and screenplay seemed to be in ... More Less

The title card in the opening credits reads, "Irving Berlin's On the Avenue ." The film's working title was Out Front . According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, Berlin was paid $75,000 plus 10% of all gross proceeds in excess of $1,125,000 to write the musical numbers in the film. Although Berlin retained the rights to the songs, he agreed that he would not license others to use them for three years after the release of the film, and after three years, with the condition that the music be used only once in a film, only for incidental music and not as production numbers. According to a NYT article, Berlin said that the germ of the song "You're Laughing at Me" was written as a verse in a 1927 song, which he felt was so bad that he did not publish it. Modern sources state that three Berlin songs, "On the Avenue," "On the Steps of Grant's Tomb" and "Swing Sister," were dropped prior to the film's release. "This Year's Kisses" was a number one song, and that song along with "Slumming on Park Avenue" and "You're Laughing at Me" made the "Your Hit Parade" broadcasts, according to modern sources. According to a HR news item, after production head Darryl Zanuck saw the rushes of the film, he assigned Berlin to produce Alexander's Ragtime Band (see above).
       Correspondence in the AMPAS files indicate that an AMPAS official contacted Twentieth Century-Fox because credits listing Gene Markey for both associate producer and screenplay seemed to be in violation of the Writer-Producer Code of Practice, which was administered by AMPAS. An official of the company clarified the situation by noting that Markey worked as a writer on the film before he became an associate producer and that he generously shared screenplay credit with William Conselman, who did comparatively little work on this film. According to a HR news item, Sam Pokrass and Edward Cherkose wrote special material for the Ritz Brothers.
       According to a HR news item, William Seiter took over from Roy Del Ruth at the end of Dec 1936 to direct two dance sequences so that Del Ruth could take a two-week vacation trip to New York before beginning production on his next film, M-G-M's Broadway Melody of 1938 (see above). The news item states that the rest of the film had been shot and Del Ruth had rehearsed the dance numbers that Seiter was to direct. While this film credits Mark-Lee Kirk as art direction associate, Twentieth Century-Fox studio records credit Kirk with musical settings and Haldane Douglas as his associate. HR news items note that Dick Powell was borrowed from Warner Bros. and Billy Gilbert from RKO. Shirley Deane, Alex Pollard, William Eddritt, Joe McQuinn and Eddy Waller are listed as cast members in various pre-release sources, but their inclusion in the final film has not been confirmed. At various times during the film, gossip columns by Broadway columnists Walter Winchell, O. O. McIntyre, Louis Sobol, Mark Hellinger and Ed Sullivan, relating to the fictional "On the Avenue" program, are shown. According to modern sources, Louise Seidel was in the chorus and Frank Darien and Lynn Bari were in the cast, but their appearance in the film has not been confirmed. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
13 Feb 1937.
---
Daily Variety
1 Feb 1937.
---
Film Daily
3 Feb 37
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Aug 36
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Nov 36
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Nov 36
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Dec 36
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Dec 36
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Dec 36
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Dec 36
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jan 37
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Feb 37
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Feb 37
pp. 5-16.
Motion Picture Daily
2 Feb 37
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald
19 Dec 36
p. 42.
Motion Picture Herald
13 Feb 37
p. 56.
New York Times
3 Jan 1937.
---
New York Times
5 Feb 37
p. 17.
Variety
6 May 1936.
---
Variety
10 Feb 37
p. 14.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Darryl F. Zanuck in charge of production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
PRODUCER
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Orig story
Orig story
Contr wrt
Contr wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir assoc
Mus settings assoc
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
DANCE
Dances staged by
SOURCES
SONGS
"The Girl on the Police Gazette," "He Ain't Got Rhythm," "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm," "Slumming on Park Avenue," "This Year's Kisses" and "You're Laughing at Me," words and music by Irving Berlin.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Out Front
Irving Berlin's On the Avenue
Release Date:
12 February 1937
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 4 February 1937
Production Date:
mid November 1936--mid January 1937
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
4 February 1937
Copyright Number:
LP7091
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
89-90
Length(in feet):
7,950
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
2958
SYNOPSIS

Commodore Caraway, one of the richest men in the world, his daughter Mimi and her suitor, explorer Frederick Sims, see themselves burlesqued in actor and author Gary Blake's On the Avenue Broadway musical revue. Backstage, Mimi slaps Gary and orders him to take the offending sketch out of the show. Planning to somehow get back at him, Mimi invites Gary for a supper date, but after dancing, hitting targets at a shooting gallery, having coffee and donuts at a diner and riding in a hansom cab through Central Park, they fall in love, and Gary promises to revise the skit. However, Gary's co-star, Mona Merrick, who also is in love with him, portrays Mimi in an even more insulting manner. In revenge, Mimi buys the production and, as a prank, after she invites New York's top entertainment columnists, she hires four hundred extras to sit throughout the theater and walk out during Gary's song and forces the Ritz Brothers to interrupt Gary's act with their shenanigans. After Gary rips up his contract and calls Mimi a selfish spoiled brat, she plans to marry Sims, who wants Mimi only for the Caraway money which he needs to finance his next expedition. Right before the wedding, Mona, realizing that Gary really loves Mimi, confesses her subterfuge to Mimi. Mimi's eccentric Aunt Fritz locks Mimi's father in a room, and Gary, impersonating the commodore, escorts Mimi into a taxi. After their marriage at City Hall, they return to the diner and order coffee and ... +


Commodore Caraway, one of the richest men in the world, his daughter Mimi and her suitor, explorer Frederick Sims, see themselves burlesqued in actor and author Gary Blake's On the Avenue Broadway musical revue. Backstage, Mimi slaps Gary and orders him to take the offending sketch out of the show. Planning to somehow get back at him, Mimi invites Gary for a supper date, but after dancing, hitting targets at a shooting gallery, having coffee and donuts at a diner and riding in a hansom cab through Central Park, they fall in love, and Gary promises to revise the skit. However, Gary's co-star, Mona Merrick, who also is in love with him, portrays Mimi in an even more insulting manner. In revenge, Mimi buys the production and, as a prank, after she invites New York's top entertainment columnists, she hires four hundred extras to sit throughout the theater and walk out during Gary's song and forces the Ritz Brothers to interrupt Gary's act with their shenanigans. After Gary rips up his contract and calls Mimi a selfish spoiled brat, she plans to marry Sims, who wants Mimi only for the Caraway money which he needs to finance his next expedition. Right before the wedding, Mona, realizing that Gary really loves Mimi, confesses her subterfuge to Mimi. Mimi's eccentric Aunt Fritz locks Mimi's father in a room, and Gary, impersonating the commodore, escorts Mimi into a taxi. After their marriage at City Hall, they return to the diner and order coffee and donuts. +

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.