The Milky Way (1936)

83 or 85 mins | Comedy | 7 February 1936

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HISTORY

According to "The Cutting Room" in MPH, the Dionne Quintuplets were expected to appear in the film. News items in HR note that the screenplay was originally considered as a vehicle for Jack Oakie, with Gertrude Michael and Edward Everett Horton as co-stars, but when Harold Lloyd was cast in the lead role, Horton was considered too similar in style, and both he and Gertrude Michael were replaced. Horton was to be replaced by William Frawley. Other pre-release news items note that both Brian Donlevy, who played the part of "Speed" in the original play, and Max Baer were considered for leads as prizefighters. According to early scripts in the Paramount story files at AMPAS and news items in HR and DV, Ida Lupino was replaced by Dorothy Wilson due to illness, Sally Blane was replaced by Helen Mack, and Gail Patrick was replaced by Verree Teasdale. Script files also mention the play The Cheese Champion by Leonard Scott and Harry Clork, which was the predecessor to The Milky Way; however, it is unclear if this is an early version of the play The Milky Way, or if it is an early version of the screenplay. A news item in Lib notes that production was interrupted by the illnesses of Adolphe Menjou, Verree Teasdale and director McCarey, who was hospitalized. Norman McLeod reportedly finished shooting the film in McCarey's place, however, a news item in DV notes that McCarey's brother, Ray McCarey, shot additional sequences as well. A news item in DV ...

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According to "The Cutting Room" in MPH, the Dionne Quintuplets were expected to appear in the film. News items in HR note that the screenplay was originally considered as a vehicle for Jack Oakie, with Gertrude Michael and Edward Everett Horton as co-stars, but when Harold Lloyd was cast in the lead role, Horton was considered too similar in style, and both he and Gertrude Michael were replaced. Horton was to be replaced by William Frawley. Other pre-release news items note that both Brian Donlevy, who played the part of "Speed" in the original play, and Max Baer were considered for leads as prizefighters. According to early scripts in the Paramount story files at AMPAS and news items in HR and DV, Ida Lupino was replaced by Dorothy Wilson due to illness, Sally Blane was replaced by Helen Mack, and Gail Patrick was replaced by Verree Teasdale. Script files also mention the play The Cheese Champion by Leonard Scott and Harry Clork, which was the predecessor to The Milky Way; however, it is unclear if this is an early version of the play The Milky Way, or if it is an early version of the screenplay. A news item in Lib notes that production was interrupted by the illnesses of Adolphe Menjou, Verree Teasdale and director McCarey, who was hospitalized. Norman McLeod reportedly finished shooting the film in McCarey's place, however, a news item in DV notes that McCarey's brother, Ray McCarey, shot additional sequences as well. A news item in DV notes that because response to this film in other countries was exceptionally strong, future Harold Lloyd films would be produced "with foreign markets in mind." A modern source notes that Agnes was a dark horse bleached to look like a white horse.
       The Milky Way was remade by the Samuel Goldwyn Studios in 1946 as The Kid From Brooklyn, starring Danny Kaye (see entry). Modern sources note that the negatives for The Milky Way were destroyed, and all copies pulled out of circulation by Goldwyn when they purchased the film from Paramount.

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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
9 Aug 1935
p. 1
Daily Variety
21 Nov 1935
p. 1
Daily Variety
17 Jul 1936
p. 2
Film Daily
28 Jan 1936
p. 8
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jul 1934
p. 1
Hollywood Reporter
3 May 1935
p. 10
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jun 1935
p. 4
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jul 1935
p. 2
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jul 1935
p. 2
Hollywood Reporter
9 Aug 1935
p. 1
Hollywood Reporter
30 Dec 1935
ad
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jan 1936
p. 2
Motion Picture Daily
27 Jan 1936
p. 10
Motion Picture Herald
28 Sep 1935
p. 342
Motion Picture Herald
1 Feb 1936
p. 46, 48
New York Times
26 Mar 1936
p. 27
Variety
1 Apr 1936
p. 16
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Norman McLeod
Fill-In dir
Fill-In dir
Dink Templeton
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
WRITERS
Contr to dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Int dec
COSTUMES
SOUND
Sd rec
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play The Milky Way by Lynn Root and Harry Clork (New York, 8 May 1934).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHORS
DETAILS
Release Date:
7 February 1936
Production Date:
began 22 Jul 1935
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Paramount Productions, Inc.
11 February 1936
LP6128
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
83 or 85
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
1755
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

Sunflower Dairy milkman Burleigh Sullivan, a failure in his job, rescues his sister Mae from two drunken boxers one night in front of a nightclub. Using a technique he developed as a child, Burleigh ducks when Spider Schultz swings at him, and Speed McFarland, a middleweight champion who is standing behind Spider, is knocked out. The incident makes national headlines and infuriates Speed's manager, Gabby Sloan, because he believes Speed's reputation is ruined. While delivering milk one night, Burleigh's horse "Agnes" collapses, so he goes to a nearby apartment and uses Polly Pringle's phone to call for a veterinarian. The next day, Burleigh and Polly meet again at a barbershop and become better acquainted. That evening, Burleigh agrees to Gabby's proposal that he fight in a boxing ring in order to raise money to save Agnes, as he was fired from his job. Burleigh trains at Gabby's retreat, but the only person who is able to teach him is Ann Westley, Gabby's girl friend. Ann teaches Burleigh to move in the ring as though he were dancing a waltz. Burleigh wins his first fight, and every fight thereafter, and becomes a national sensation and extremely egotistical, unaware that all his fights are fixed. Wilbur Austin, the head of the Sunflower Dairy, buys Burleigh's contract from Gabby for $50,000 and matches him against Speed. Polly breaks up with Burleigh because of the change in his personality. When Burleigh's horse "Little Agnes," daughter of his first horse, accidentally knocks Speed out before the fight, Spider and Gabby attempt to revive him, but Spider inadvertently gives him a sleeping potion. Burleigh ...

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Sunflower Dairy milkman Burleigh Sullivan, a failure in his job, rescues his sister Mae from two drunken boxers one night in front of a nightclub. Using a technique he developed as a child, Burleigh ducks when Spider Schultz swings at him, and Speed McFarland, a middleweight champion who is standing behind Spider, is knocked out. The incident makes national headlines and infuriates Speed's manager, Gabby Sloan, because he believes Speed's reputation is ruined. While delivering milk one night, Burleigh's horse "Agnes" collapses, so he goes to a nearby apartment and uses Polly Pringle's phone to call for a veterinarian. The next day, Burleigh and Polly meet again at a barbershop and become better acquainted. That evening, Burleigh agrees to Gabby's proposal that he fight in a boxing ring in order to raise money to save Agnes, as he was fired from his job. Burleigh trains at Gabby's retreat, but the only person who is able to teach him is Ann Westley, Gabby's girl friend. Ann teaches Burleigh to move in the ring as though he were dancing a waltz. Burleigh wins his first fight, and every fight thereafter, and becomes a national sensation and extremely egotistical, unaware that all his fights are fixed. Wilbur Austin, the head of the Sunflower Dairy, buys Burleigh's contract from Gabby for $50,000 and matches him against Speed. Polly breaks up with Burleigh because of the change in his personality. When Burleigh's horse "Little Agnes," daughter of his first horse, accidentally knocks Speed out before the fight, Spider and Gabby attempt to revive him, but Spider inadvertently gives him a sleeping potion. Burleigh manages to win this fight honestly due to Speed's condition, which is fortunate as he bet all of Speed's money on himself. In the end, Burleigh wins back his girl and gets a partnership in the Sunflower Dairy.

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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.