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HISTORY

According to the 15 Dec 1929 Film Daily, principal photography was scheduled to begin the following month at Paramount Studios in Astoria, Queens, NY, under the direction of Alfred E. Green, with a screenplay by Jack McGowan and Paul Gerard Smith. The 21 Dec 1929 Exhibitors Herald-World noted that the production was singer-comedian Helen Kane’s first to be shot on the East Coast. B. F. Fineman was credited as associate producer.
       The 29 Dec 1929 Film Daily reported that Green was recuperating from surgery, but would be able to travel to New York in the near future. Two days later, Var denied a claim by columnist Louella Parsons that Fred Newmeyer was to replace Green, with Richard “Skeets” Gallagher joining the cast. On 4 Jan 1930, Motion Picture News noted Malcolm St. Clair’s departure for New York two days earlier to assume directorial duties.
       As stated in the 29 Jan 1930 Exhibitors Daily Review and Motion Picture Today, stage star Frank Morgan was added to the cast, marking his first role for Paramount Publix Corp. The 8 Feb 1930 Motion Picture News identified Frank Tours as musical director. Also appearing in minor parts were Mignon Rittenhouse (Aug 1930 Picture Play), Eddie O’Connor (16 Feb 1930 Film Daily), and Helen Kane’s sister, Gertrude Schroeder (10 Mar 1930 Exhibitors Daily Review and Motion Picture Today). A trained horse named Sidney appeared as “Primrose” (12 Apr 1930 Hollywood Filmograph). The film also marked the screen debut of Paramount’s recent ...

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According to the 15 Dec 1929 Film Daily, principal photography was scheduled to begin the following month at Paramount Studios in Astoria, Queens, NY, under the direction of Alfred E. Green, with a screenplay by Jack McGowan and Paul Gerard Smith. The 21 Dec 1929 Exhibitors Herald-World noted that the production was singer-comedian Helen Kane’s first to be shot on the East Coast. B. F. Fineman was credited as associate producer.
       The 29 Dec 1929 Film Daily reported that Green was recuperating from surgery, but would be able to travel to New York in the near future. Two days later, Var denied a claim by columnist Louella Parsons that Fred Newmeyer was to replace Green, with Richard “Skeets” Gallagher joining the cast. On 4 Jan 1930, Motion Picture News noted Malcolm St. Clair’s departure for New York two days earlier to assume directorial duties.
       As stated in the 29 Jan 1930 Exhibitors Daily Review and Motion Picture Today, stage star Frank Morgan was added to the cast, marking his first role for Paramount Publix Corp. The 8 Feb 1930 Motion Picture News identified Frank Tours as musical director. Also appearing in minor parts were Mignon Rittenhouse (Aug 1930 Picture Play), Eddie O’Connor (16 Feb 1930 Film Daily), and Helen Kane’s sister, Gertrude Schroeder (10 Mar 1930 Exhibitors Daily Review and Motion Picture Today). A trained horse named Sidney appeared as “Primrose” (12 Apr 1930 Hollywood Filmograph). The film also marked the screen debut of Paramount’s recent discovery, singer Roberta Robinson, as stated in the Jul 1930 Motion Picture Classic.^P
       The 10 Feb 1930 Exhibitors Daily Review and Motion Picture Today reported the start of principal photography on 7 Feb 1930. The 16 Feb 1930 Film Daily noted that co-star Victor Moore was performing at the studio during the day while appearing in an unidentified Broadway show at night.
       According to the 13 Feb 1930 Film Daily and 22 Feb 1930 Exhibitors Herald-World, the crew constructed a Yukon landscape on one of the Paramount stages, including snow-covered hills, a frozen lake, and realistic pine trees. For a scene in which Kane and Moore’s characters were ice fishing on the lake, a prop man was hidden beneath the “ice,” hooking live fish onto the actors’ lines. The fish were delivered to the studio several weeks earlier and kept in makeshift tanks in the boiler room. Writer Jack Kirkland arrived earlier that week to contribute humorous content to the screenplay. The 23 Feb 1930 Film Daily reported that an actual snowstorm struck the New York City area, adding realism to the contrived Canadian atmosphere. The 18 Feb 1930 issue noted that Paramount employed a bell system to signal filming on the upper and lower levels of the soundstage: three rings for Dangerous Nan McGrew on the lower level, and four rings for Young Man of Manhattan (1930, see entry) on the upper. As stated in the 2 Mar 1930 Film Daily, over 2,000 people responded to Paramount’s call for 400 background actors, fifty of which were needed for Dangerous Nan McGrew. The studio reportedly needed “police reserves” to restore order.
       A news item in the 12 Mar 1930 Var reported that co-star James Hall missed at least one week of filming due to eye damage from Klieg lights.
       The 9 Mar 1930 Film Daily revealed that the picture was the first to employ the “baby blimp,” a soundproof camera enclosure “small enough to allow easy transportation.” Production was completed by 22 Mar 1930, based on that day’s Exhibitors Herald-World, which reported that the final scene had been in preparation four days earlier.
       The 19 Mar 1930 Var announced a New York City opening scheduled for the week of 25 Apr 1930, featuring a personal appearance by Helen Kane. However, on 26 Mar 1930, Var stated that the release had been postponed until summer 1930, as studio executives assumed that images of ice and snow would be more appealing during hot weather.
       Dangerous Nan McGrew opened to lackluster reviews. While the 22 Jun 1930 Film Daily and 28 Jun 1930 Harrison’s Reports found the picture “fairly entertaining,” other critics were less generous, such as the Jan 1931 Photoplay, which asserted that the film relied on “cuteness” rather than a storyline.
       As the release date approached, a Paramount spokesperson informed the 18 Jun 1930 Var that Roberta Robinson would not continue with the studio, explaining that she was “hard to handle.”
       Two songs from the film, “I Owe You” and “Dangerous Nan McGrew,” were recorded by Helen Kane for Victor Records. The 9 Apr 1930 Var claimed that another of the picture’s four songs, “C’mon, Watta Ya Got To Lose,” was completed by Leo Robin and Richard A. Whiting the day it was assigned.
       The 11 Jun 1930 Var included a review of singer Mae Questel, who performed the title song weeks before the picture was released. Questel, who had recently won an amateur contest with her imitation of Helen Kane, went on to voice the cartoon character “Betty Boop,” which was also modeled on the comedienne.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Broadway and Hollywood Movies
Feb 1931
p. 48
Exhibitors Daily Review and Motion Pictures Today
29 Jan 1930
p. 3
Exhibitors Daily Review and Motion Pictures Today
10 Feb 1930
p. 4
Exhibitors Daily Review and Motion Pictures Today
10 Mar 1930
p. 3
Exhibitors Herald-World
21 Dec 1929
p. 48
Exhibitors Herald-World
22 Feb 1930
p. 34
Exhibitors Herald-World
22 Mar 1930
p. 36
Exhibitors Herald-World
19 Jul 1930
p. 32
Film Daily
15 Dec 1929
p. 6
Film Daily
29 Dec 1929
p. 7
Film Daily
13 Feb 1930
p. 3
Film Daily
16 Feb 1930
p. 6
Film Daily
18 Feb 1930
p. 3
Film Daily
23 Feb 1930
p. 6
Film Daily
2 Mar 1930
p. 9
Film Daily
9 Mar 1930
p. 6
Film Daily
22 Jun 1930
p. 14
Harrison's Reports
28 Jun 1930
p. 103
Hollywood Fillmograph
12 Apr 1930
p. 31
International Photographer
Aug 1930
p. 32
Motion Picture Classic
Jul 1930
p. 44
Motion Picture News
4 Jan 1930
p. 31
Motion Picture News
8 Feb 1930
p. 65
Motion Picture News
15 Feb 1930
p. 33
Motion Picture News
28 Jun 1930
p. 75
Motion Picture News
5 Jul 1930
p. 37
New Movie Magazine
Jul-Dec 1930
---
New Movie Magazine
Sep 1930
p. 84
New York Times
21 Jun 1930
p. 20
Photoplay
Jan 1931
p. 8
Picture Play
Aug 1930
p. 16
Variety
1 Jan 1930
p. 11
Variety
12 Mar 1930
p. 2
Variety
19 Mar 1930
p. 2
Variety
26 Mar 1930
p. 10
Variety
9 Apr 1930
p. 72
Variety
11 Jun 1930
p. 40
Variety
18 Jun 1930
p. 3
Variety
25 Jun 1930
p. 115
Variety
16 Jul 1930
p. 9
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
Rec eng
SOURCES
SONGS
"Dangerous Nan McGrew" and "I Owe You," words by Don Hartman, music by Al Goodhart; "Aw! C'mon, Watta Ya Got To Lose?" words by Leo Robin, music by Richard A. Whiting; "Once a Gypsy Told Me (You Were Mine)" words and music by Sammy Fain, Irving Kahal and Pierre Norman.
SONGWRITERS/COMPOSERS
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
5 July 1930
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 20 Jun 1930
Production Date:
7 Feb--late Mar 1930
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Paramount-Publix Corp.
6 July 1930
LP1408
Physical Properties:
Sound
Movietone
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
71
Length(in feet):
6,571
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Sharpshooter Nan McGrew and Doc Foster, the respective star and owner of a medicine show, are stranded near the town of Wagontrack in northwest Canada. There they encounter Muldoon, a criminal who is preparing to divide the loot from a bank robbery. During a performance of Doc’s show, saxophonist Eustace Macy falls in love with Nan and hires the troupe as entertainment for his cousin Clara Benson's Christmas Eve party. Muldoon attends, disguised as Santa Claus, and abducts Clara’s boyfriend, Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer Bob Dawes. Although Nan disarms and captures the villain, Muldoon escapes while Eustace is guarding him. When Doc Foster and Muldoon both appear at the party in the guise of Buster Brown, criminal boss Godfrey Crofton inadvertently passes the loot to Doc. Nan recognizes Muldoon, resulting in his pursuit and arrest. She receives a $10,000 reward and becomes Eustace’s wife, while Bob and Clara are ...

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Sharpshooter Nan McGrew and Doc Foster, the respective star and owner of a medicine show, are stranded near the town of Wagontrack in northwest Canada. There they encounter Muldoon, a criminal who is preparing to divide the loot from a bank robbery. During a performance of Doc’s show, saxophonist Eustace Macy falls in love with Nan and hires the troupe as entertainment for his cousin Clara Benson's Christmas Eve party. Muldoon attends, disguised as Santa Claus, and abducts Clara’s boyfriend, Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer Bob Dawes. Although Nan disarms and captures the villain, Muldoon escapes while Eustace is guarding him. When Doc Foster and Muldoon both appear at the party in the guise of Buster Brown, criminal boss Godfrey Crofton inadvertently passes the loot to Doc. Nan recognizes Muldoon, resulting in his pursuit and arrest. She receives a $10,000 reward and becomes Eustace’s wife, while Bob and Clara are reunited.

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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.