Poppy (1936)

70 or 73 mins | Comedy | 19 June 1936

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HISTORY

On 21 Apr 1936, DV reported that W. C. Fields had resumed work in this film the previous day, following a week-long lay off to battle a "severe head and throat cold." On 1 Jul 1936, FD reported that Fields, who had been ill with pneumonia in a hospital, was pronounced out of danger that week. In a modern biography of his grandfather, however, Ron Fields claims that Fields's "booze-related maladies" proliferated after Poppy was finished and caused him to be hospitalized. NYT reports Fields knew all the tricks he performed as McGargle and insisted the carnival (not himself) was the hero of the film. According to NYT, the film's set was built in a hangar the size of a wing in Madison Square Garden. Early HR production charts credit Frederick Hazlitt Brennan as screenwriter and list Elizabeth Patterson in the cast; however, no additional information has been found concerning their involvement in the film. Tammany Young died of a heart attack on 26 Apr 1936, near the end of this film's shooting. W. C. Fields and John Payne appeared in a Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of Poppy on 7 Mar 1938. Actress Helen Holmes was identified in a production still from the film but her appearance in the released film has not been confimed. A modern source lists Johnny Sinclair as W. C. Fields's double. This film is a remake of the 1925 D. W. Griffith-United Artists film Sally of the Sawdust, directed by Griffiths and starring W. C. Fields and Carol Dempster (see ...

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On 21 Apr 1936, DV reported that W. C. Fields had resumed work in this film the previous day, following a week-long lay off to battle a "severe head and throat cold." On 1 Jul 1936, FD reported that Fields, who had been ill with pneumonia in a hospital, was pronounced out of danger that week. In a modern biography of his grandfather, however, Ron Fields claims that Fields's "booze-related maladies" proliferated after Poppy was finished and caused him to be hospitalized. NYT reports Fields knew all the tricks he performed as McGargle and insisted the carnival (not himself) was the hero of the film. According to NYT, the film's set was built in a hangar the size of a wing in Madison Square Garden. Early HR production charts credit Frederick Hazlitt Brennan as screenwriter and list Elizabeth Patterson in the cast; however, no additional information has been found concerning their involvement in the film. Tammany Young died of a heart attack on 26 Apr 1936, near the end of this film's shooting. W. C. Fields and John Payne appeared in a Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of Poppy on 7 Mar 1938. Actress Helen Holmes was identified in a production still from the film but her appearance in the released film has not been confimed. A modern source lists Johnny Sinclair as W. C. Fields's double. This film is a remake of the 1925 D. W. Griffith-United Artists film Sally of the Sawdust, directed by Griffiths and starring W. C. Fields and Carol Dempster (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.4778).

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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
21 Apr 1936
p. 6
Daily Variety
5 Jun 1936
---
Film Daily
5 Jun 1936
back cover
Film Daily
9 Jun 1936
p. 10
Film Daily
1 Jul 1936
p. 8
Hollywood Reporter
19 Feb 1936
p. 4
Hollywood Reporter
2 Mar 1936
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 Mar 1936
p. 4
Hollywood Reporter
27 Apr 1936
p. 1, 8
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jun 1936
p. 3
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jul 1936
p. 7
Motion Picture Daily
6 Jun 1936
p. 3
Motion Picture Daily
23 Jun 1936
pp. 6-7
Motion Picture Herald
9 May 1936
p. 38
Motion Picture Herald
6 Jun 1936
back cover
Motion Picture Herald
13 Jun 1936
p. 68
New York Times
18 Jun 1936
p. 19
New York Times
14 Jun 1939
---
Variety
21 Apr 1936
p. 6
Variety
24 Jun 1936
p. 29
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Paul M. Jones
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Contr to dial
Contr to scr const
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Int dec
COSTUMES
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
Sd rec
Sd rec
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the musical Poppy , book and lyrics by Dorothy Donnelly, music by Stephen Jones and Arthur Samuels (New York, 3 Sep 1923).
SONGS
"A Rendezvous with a Dream," music by Ralph Rainger, lyrics by Leo Robin; "Poppy," music by Frederick Hollander, lyrics by Sam Coslow.
SONGWRITERS/COMPOSERS
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
19 June 1936
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 17 Jun 1936
Production Date:
19 Feb--late Apr 1936
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Paramount Productions, Inc.
19 June 1936
LP6442
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
70 or 73
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
2247
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In 1883, circus performer Professor Eustace McGargle, a master at legerdemain, and his daughter Poppy arrive in Green Meadows, where Poppy is noticed by Billy Farnsworth, the mayor's son. In town, Eustace purloins as much money out of the locals as he can by peddling the mock panacea "Purple Frog Sarsaparilla," and promoting gambling at his circus concession, until the mayor arrives, whereupon Eustace denounces gambling. Eustace wins the favor of the Countess DePuizzi, formerly local girl Maggi Tubbs, who married a count and inherited the town's wealthy Putnam estate. Although Billy is enamored of the actress Poppy, she is snubbed by Billy's girl friend and his parents as a vagabond. Eustace learns that Katie Putnam ran away to the circus twenty years before and gave birth to a daughter, who, if found, would be the rightful heir to the Putnam fortune. Hoping to win the estate for Poppy, Eustace forges a marriage certificate between himself and Katie and presents it to the mayor. As Billy proposes to Poppy, Sarah Tucker, who has befriended Poppy, informs her that the estate is hers, and a public reception is given in Poppy's honor. After she is insulted by the countess' haughty society friends, however, Poppy breaks her engagement with Billy. Meanwhile, crooked attorney E. G. Whiffen, who had promised to help Eustace win the Putnam fortune, proposes to the countess, assuring her that Poppy is a fraud. As the mayor announces Poppy's inheritance and marriage, unaware that Poppy broke her engagement, Whiffen accuses Eustace of forgery, and he is run out of town. While Poppy hides in Sarah's house, Billy tells Poppy he still ...

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In 1883, circus performer Professor Eustace McGargle, a master at legerdemain, and his daughter Poppy arrive in Green Meadows, where Poppy is noticed by Billy Farnsworth, the mayor's son. In town, Eustace purloins as much money out of the locals as he can by peddling the mock panacea "Purple Frog Sarsaparilla," and promoting gambling at his circus concession, until the mayor arrives, whereupon Eustace denounces gambling. Eustace wins the favor of the Countess DePuizzi, formerly local girl Maggi Tubbs, who married a count and inherited the town's wealthy Putnam estate. Although Billy is enamored of the actress Poppy, she is snubbed by Billy's girl friend and his parents as a vagabond. Eustace learns that Katie Putnam ran away to the circus twenty years before and gave birth to a daughter, who, if found, would be the rightful heir to the Putnam fortune. Hoping to win the estate for Poppy, Eustace forges a marriage certificate between himself and Katie and presents it to the mayor. As Billy proposes to Poppy, Sarah Tucker, who has befriended Poppy, informs her that the estate is hers, and a public reception is given in Poppy's honor. After she is insulted by the countess' haughty society friends, however, Poppy breaks her engagement with Billy. Meanwhile, crooked attorney E. G. Whiffen, who had promised to help Eustace win the Putnam fortune, proposes to the countess, assuring her that Poppy is a fraud. As the mayor announces Poppy's inheritance and marriage, unaware that Poppy broke her engagement, Whiffen accuses Eustace of forgery, and he is run out of town. While Poppy hides in Sarah's house, Billy tells Poppy he still wants to marry her. Sarah then finds a miniature of herself in Poppy's wardrobe and remembers exchanging pictures with Katie Putnam and becomes convinced that Poppy is the real heir. As Whiffen and the countess announce their marriage, the mayor awards the estate to Poppy. Eustace then tells Poppy he found her when she was three years old, an orphan of the circus. Planning to resume his circus tour without his "daughter," Eustace steals the house cigars and exits, leaving Poppy to marry Billy.

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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.