New Faces of 1937 (1937)

100 mins | Musical comedy | 2 July 1937

Director:

Leigh Jason

Producer:

Edward Small

Cinematographer:

J. Roy Hunt

Editor:

George Crone

Production Designer:

Van Nest Polglase

Production Company:

RKO Radio Pictures, inc.
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HISTORY

The working title of this was Young People . David Freedman, who died in Dec 1936, was a successful radio writer who worked extensively with Eddie Cantor. According to a Nov 1936 HR news item, Joseph Santley was first slated to direct the picture and went to New York with writer Nat Perrin to "comb nightclubs, cafes, radio programs, little theaters and amateur shows for promising unknowns." A Mar 1937 HR news item announced that RKO had signed Jimmy Dorsey and his orchestra to record music for the film, but the exact nature of their contribution to the production, if any, has not been determined. In the film, Eddie Rio, of the Rio Brothers, performs a pantomime of a woman taking a bath. According to MPAA/PCA files at the AMPAS Library, this skit caused the PCA to reject the picture on 15 Jun 1937 for "vulgarity." By 19 Jun 1937, however, the film was approved by the censor. The vaudeville team of Lowe, Hite & Stanley consisted of a dwarf, a normal-sized man and a "giant." In the film, they perform a tap dance number.
       New Faces of 1937 marked the sound, feature-film debut of actor-comedian Milton Berle (1908-2002). At the time of this production, Berle was a regular performer on the CBS radio show Community Sing . According to Var , Tommy Mack was a featured player with Berle. Bert Gordon was a featured player on Eddie Cantor's radio program, which was sponsored by Texaco Oil. On Cantor's show, he portrayed the same "mad Russian" character that he played in this film. ... More Less

The working title of this was Young People . David Freedman, who died in Dec 1936, was a successful radio writer who worked extensively with Eddie Cantor. According to a Nov 1936 HR news item, Joseph Santley was first slated to direct the picture and went to New York with writer Nat Perrin to "comb nightclubs, cafes, radio programs, little theaters and amateur shows for promising unknowns." A Mar 1937 HR news item announced that RKO had signed Jimmy Dorsey and his orchestra to record music for the film, but the exact nature of their contribution to the production, if any, has not been determined. In the film, Eddie Rio, of the Rio Brothers, performs a pantomime of a woman taking a bath. According to MPAA/PCA files at the AMPAS Library, this skit caused the PCA to reject the picture on 15 Jun 1937 for "vulgarity." By 19 Jun 1937, however, the film was approved by the censor. The vaudeville team of Lowe, Hite & Stanley consisted of a dwarf, a normal-sized man and a "giant." In the film, they perform a tap dance number.
       New Faces of 1937 marked the sound, feature-film debut of actor-comedian Milton Berle (1908-2002). At the time of this production, Berle was a regular performer on the CBS radio show Community Sing . According to Var , Tommy Mack was a featured player with Berle. Bert Gordon was a featured player on Eddie Cantor's radio program, which was sponsored by Texaco Oil. On Cantor's show, he portrayed the same "mad Russian" character that he played in this film. Harry Einstein also became known on Cantor's show with his Greek character "Parkyakarkus," a stage name he eventually adopted as his own. In 1937, Joe Penner had his own show on radio, which was sponsored by Cocomalt. The Four Playboys performed on Ben Bernie's radio program, according to Var . HR production charts and news items add comic dancers Buster West and Melissa Mason to the cast, but their participation in the final film has not been confirmed.
       Modern sources state that the reactions of the public as well as the distributors to the film, which was supposed to showcase RKO's new talent, were so negative that RKO cancelled plans to do a sequel called New Faces of 1938 . Although not a direct remake, Mel Brooks's 1967 Embassy Pictures release, The Producers , which starred Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder, featured the same plot premise as used in this film (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70 ; F6.3933). More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
26 Jun 37
p. 3.
Film Daily
29 Jun 37
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Nov 36
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Mar 37
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Mar 37
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Mar 37
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Apr 37
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
17 May 37
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jun 37
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
28 Jun 37
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald
10 Jul 37
p. 54.
MPSI
1 Jul 37
p. 23.
New York Times
2 Jul 37
p. 25.
Variety
7 Jul 37
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
An Edward Small Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dresser
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Montage
DANCE
Dances staged by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "Shoestring" by George Bradshaw in The Saturday Evening Post (29 Apr 1933) and the sketch "Day at the Brokers" from Ziegfeld Follies of 1936 by David Freedman (New York, 30 Jan 1936).
SONGS
"Love Is Never Out of Season," "Penthouse on Third Avenue," "It Goes to Your Feet" and "If I Didn't Have You," music and lyrics by Lew Brown and Sammy Fain
"The Widow in Lace," music and lyrics by Walter Bullock and Harold Spina
"Peckin," music and lyrics by Ben Pollack and Harry James, additional lyrics by Eddie Cherkose
+
SONGS
"Love Is Never Out of Season," "Penthouse on Third Avenue," "It Goes to Your Feet" and "If I Didn't Have You," music and lyrics by Lew Brown and Sammy Fain
"The Widow in Lace," music and lyrics by Walter Bullock and Harold Spina
"Peckin," music and lyrics by Ben Pollack and Harry James, additional lyrics by Eddie Cherkose
"New Faces," music and lyrics by Charles Henderson
"When the Berry Blossoms Bloom," music and lyrics by Joe Penner and Hal Raynor, vocal arrangement by Charles Henderson.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Young People
Release Date:
2 July 1937
Production Date:
late March--mid May 1937
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, inc.
Copyright Date:
1 July 1937
Copyright Number:
LP7292
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Victor System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
100
Length(in reels):
12
Country:
United States
PCA No:
3251
SYNOPSIS

After his latest musical revue flops, Broadway producer Robert Hunt reveals to his dim-witted assistant Parky how he made money by tricking four different backers into investing in the show for eighty-five per cent of the profits each. To assure a flop and therefore profits for himself, Hunt threw out all of the good numbers in the revue and replaced them with inferior ones. Now hounded by creditors, Hunt prepares to drop out of the business until chorus girl Patricia Harrington offers him $15,000 to produce her boyfriend Jimmy Thompson's show, "New Faces." Unable to resist the money, Hunt agrees and begins casting the worst acts in New York. When Elaine Dorset, the disgruntled star of his last revue, threatens to expose his fraud, however, Hunt suddenly "takes ill" and abandons the show to Wallington Wedge, a would-be producer who has already lost most of his money to Hunt. Unaware of Hunt's scheming, Wedge fires the bad performers, including Seymore Seymore, a sincere but untalented singing magician. Then to Jimmy and Patricia's delight, he casts a variety of outstanding performers, including Seymore's girl friend Suzy and, in the show's lead, Patricia. During rehearsals, however, Elaine informs Wedge of Hunt's plot and, intimating that Wedge will now be responsible to the backers, convinces him to re-think his strategy. Wedge, who has gone broke trying to make money in the stock market, consequently re-casts the show, further confusing Patricia and Jimmy. On the way to an Atlantic City preview, Patricia pleads with Wedge to change the revue's lineup once again, and in spite of the presence of the backers on the train, he relents. ... +


After his latest musical revue flops, Broadway producer Robert Hunt reveals to his dim-witted assistant Parky how he made money by tricking four different backers into investing in the show for eighty-five per cent of the profits each. To assure a flop and therefore profits for himself, Hunt threw out all of the good numbers in the revue and replaced them with inferior ones. Now hounded by creditors, Hunt prepares to drop out of the business until chorus girl Patricia Harrington offers him $15,000 to produce her boyfriend Jimmy Thompson's show, "New Faces." Unable to resist the money, Hunt agrees and begins casting the worst acts in New York. When Elaine Dorset, the disgruntled star of his last revue, threatens to expose his fraud, however, Hunt suddenly "takes ill" and abandons the show to Wallington Wedge, a would-be producer who has already lost most of his money to Hunt. Unaware of Hunt's scheming, Wedge fires the bad performers, including Seymore Seymore, a sincere but untalented singing magician. Then to Jimmy and Patricia's delight, he casts a variety of outstanding performers, including Seymore's girl friend Suzy and, in the show's lead, Patricia. During rehearsals, however, Elaine informs Wedge of Hunt's plot and, intimating that Wedge will now be responsible to the backers, convinces him to re-think his strategy. Wedge, who has gone broke trying to make money in the stock market, consequently re-casts the show, further confusing Patricia and Jimmy. On the way to an Atlantic City preview, Patricia pleads with Wedge to change the revue's lineup once again, and in spite of the presence of the backers on the train, he relents. As the show unfolds, the backers gather backstage, where they eventually deduce Hunt's fraud. After a heated confrontation, Jimmy convinces the backers to divide the profits evenly, and everyone, including Seymore, whose impromptu number was the revue's surprise comedy hit, leaves satisfied. +

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.