Wake Up and Live (1937)

91 mins | Musical comedy | 23 April 1937

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HISTORY

Var noted that this film had "perhaps the most auspicious build-up ever attendant to any motion picture production--a well publicized and thoroughly familiar pseudo-'feud' between Walter Winchell and Ben Bernie, the cast toppers of the film, plus repeated radio heralding." NYT noted that the film "comes at a time when a radio comedian isn't a radio comedian unless he's insulting some other radio comedian." NYT also stated that because Bernie was inclined to blow his lines, director Sidney Lanfield allowed him to use his own words provided the substance was correct. Winchell, reportedly, contributed to Bernie's discomfort from behind the camera. MPH noted that "the production has received more than the usual amount of personal attention from Darryl F. Zanuck," who, MPH stated, selected the story vehicle and chose the cast, songwriters and directors. According to a Oct 1936 HR news item, Eddie Cantor was originally scheduled to star with Winchell and Bernie. According to a late Dec 1936 HR news item, Claire Trevor was set to play to female lead. Var credited Buddy Clark, a radio singer, with uncredited off-screen singing for Jack Haley in the film. Critics commented favorably on Haley's singing and performance: Var stated, "For Haley, this picture has excited much sudden highly favorable comment in film circles....the Haley furore amounts to something closely resembling belated recognition." This film marked composer Jule Styne's first work in films; he was the vocal supervisor on the film. MPH 's "In the Cutting Room" column lists Eric Linden as a cast member, but ... More Less

Var noted that this film had "perhaps the most auspicious build-up ever attendant to any motion picture production--a well publicized and thoroughly familiar pseudo-'feud' between Walter Winchell and Ben Bernie, the cast toppers of the film, plus repeated radio heralding." NYT noted that the film "comes at a time when a radio comedian isn't a radio comedian unless he's insulting some other radio comedian." NYT also stated that because Bernie was inclined to blow his lines, director Sidney Lanfield allowed him to use his own words provided the substance was correct. Winchell, reportedly, contributed to Bernie's discomfort from behind the camera. MPH noted that "the production has received more than the usual amount of personal attention from Darryl F. Zanuck," who, MPH stated, selected the story vehicle and chose the cast, songwriters and directors. According to a Oct 1936 HR news item, Eddie Cantor was originally scheduled to star with Winchell and Bernie. According to a late Dec 1936 HR news item, Claire Trevor was set to play to female lead. Var credited Buddy Clark, a radio singer, with uncredited off-screen singing for Jack Haley in the film. Critics commented favorably on Haley's singing and performance: Var stated, "For Haley, this picture has excited much sudden highly favorable comment in film circles....the Haley furore amounts to something closely resembling belated recognition." This film marked composer Jule Styne's first work in films; he was the vocal supervisor on the film. MPH 's "In the Cutting Room" column lists Eric Linden as a cast member, but his participation in the final film has not been confirmed. According to information in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, this film was banned in Germany during 1937 and 1938. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
24-Apr-37
---
Daily Variety
7 Apr 37
p. 3.
Film Daily
10 Apr 37
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Oct 36
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Dec 36
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Dec 36
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jan 37
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Jan 37
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Mar 37
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Apr 37
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Dec 37
sect. II, p. 90.
Motion Picture Daily
7 Apr 37
p. 8.
Motion Picture Herald
20 Feb 37
p. 53.
Motion Picture Herald
17 Apr 37
p. 44.
New York Times
7-Feb-37
---
New York Times
24 Apr 37
p. 16.
New York Times
25-Apr-37
---
Variety
28 Apr 37
p. 15.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Darryl F. Zanuck in charge of production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Orig story
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
Vocal supv
SOUND
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the book Wake Up and Live by Dorothea Brande (New York, 1936).
SONGS
"There's a Lull in My Life," "It's Swell of You," "Wake Up and Live," "Never in a Million Years," "I'm Bubbling Over," "I Love You Much Too Much, Muchacha" and "Ooh, But I'm Happy," music and lyrics by Mack Gordon and Harry Revel.
DETAILS
Release Date:
23 April 1937
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 22 April 1937
Production Date:
mid January-early February 1937
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
23 April 1937
Copyright Number:
LP7361
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
91
Length(in feet):
8,162
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
3120
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

At the entrance to the Hi-Hat Club in New York, where Ben Bernie and his band are appearing, a select number of insults regarding Bernie are offered for public enjoyment by Bernie's "pal," gossip columnist Walter Winchell. During his next radio broadcast, Bernie quips about Winchell, then listens to Winchell, in his own broadcast, rib him. When Winchell learns that Eddie Kane, the brother of his assistant Patsy, is arriving in town with his vaudeville partner, Jean Roberts, Winchell puts an extremely favorable notice about them in his column, to play a joke on agents, especially Gus Avery, who has tried to bribe him. Upon the arrival of their train, Eddie and Jean are greeted by swarms of agents, and Jean signs with Avery, who has brought her flowers. Before their audition at a radio station, Eddie witnesses an opera singer faint from "mike fright," and when he and Jean begin their number, he imagines the microphone change into a devil breathing smoke, and then faints himself. Because of his mike fright, Jean leave him to solo. Eddie then gets a job through Patsy as a guide at Radio Center. After he takes visitors to view a broadcast of Alice Huntley singing the inspirational song "Wake Up and Live," Alice agrees to help him get over his mike fright. Later, during a broadcast of Bernie's band from the Hi-Hat Club, Eddie wanders into a vacant studio and sings with the band into a mike, which, unknown to him, is hooked up to the broadcast. Listeners, including Bernie, Winchell, Alice and her boss, James Stratton, the head of Radio Center, are impressed ... +


At the entrance to the Hi-Hat Club in New York, where Ben Bernie and his band are appearing, a select number of insults regarding Bernie are offered for public enjoyment by Bernie's "pal," gossip columnist Walter Winchell. During his next radio broadcast, Bernie quips about Winchell, then listens to Winchell, in his own broadcast, rib him. When Winchell learns that Eddie Kane, the brother of his assistant Patsy, is arriving in town with his vaudeville partner, Jean Roberts, Winchell puts an extremely favorable notice about them in his column, to play a joke on agents, especially Gus Avery, who has tried to bribe him. Upon the arrival of their train, Eddie and Jean are greeted by swarms of agents, and Jean signs with Avery, who has brought her flowers. Before their audition at a radio station, Eddie witnesses an opera singer faint from "mike fright," and when he and Jean begin their number, he imagines the microphone change into a devil breathing smoke, and then faints himself. Because of his mike fright, Jean leave him to solo. Eddie then gets a job through Patsy as a guide at Radio Center. After he takes visitors to view a broadcast of Alice Huntley singing the inspirational song "Wake Up and Live," Alice agrees to help him get over his mike fright. Later, during a broadcast of Bernie's band from the Hi-Hat Club, Eddie wanders into a vacant studio and sings with the band into a mike, which, unknown to him, is hooked up to the broadcast. Listeners, including Bernie, Winchell, Alice and her boss, James Stratton, the head of Radio Center, are impressed with this new voice, and when Bernie confesses to Stratton that he does not know the identity of the singer, Stratton decides to play up the mystery for publicity. The next night at the club, Bernie introduces a masked crooner as "The Phantom Troubadour," but Winchell unmasks him as a well-known singer. Later, when Eddie sings for Alice, she recognizes his voice as the Phantom's and records it onto a phonograph record without his realizing it. She plays the record for Stratton and Bernie and then has them arrange a remote control hook-up from her apartment, so that when Eddie goes there for help, she can convince him to pretend that he is singing on the radio and actually have him sing into a live mike for the broadcast. The plan works, and Winchell orders his assistant Steve Cluskey, who is Patsy's fiancé, to find Eddie. Meanwhile, Jean recognizes Eddie's voice, and Avery orders her to go back to him. Steve finds out about the broadcasts from Alice's apartment, and Winchell convinces Eddie to sing on his program before the opening of the new Manila Club, as a build-up for Alice. After Jean and Avery locate Eddie, Avery has him kidnapped. Avery then tries to blackmail Winchell by threatening to turn Eddie over to Bernie unless Winchell pays him. Winchell, however, tells Avery that Eddie is the wrong man and to prove it, plays Alice's recording on his show to make it appear that Eddie is in the studio. Avery then tears up the contract that he forced Eddie to sign and releases him. Eddie hitchhikes back to town and goes to the Manila room, where Winchell informs him that he is the Phantom. Although he is overcome at first with mike fright, Eddie is finally able to sing over a microphone, while Bernie and Winchell make up. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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