Anything Goes (1956 film)
VIDEO of Anything Goes (1956) – Donald O’Connor
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Robert Lewis|
|Produced by||Robert Emmett Dolan|
|Based on||Anything Goes
by Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse
|Cinematography||John F. Warren|
|Edited by||Frank Bracht|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$2.1 million (USA)|
Anything Goes is a 1956 American musical film directed by Robert Lewis and starring Bing Crosby, Donald O’Connor, Jeanmaire, and Mitzi Gaynor. Adapted from the 1934 stage play Anything Goes by Cole Porter, Guy Bolton, andP.G. Wodehouse, the film is about two entertainers scheduled to appear in a Broadway show together who travel to Paris, where each discovers the perfect leading lady for the female role—each promising the role to the girl they selected without informing the other. On the return voyage, with each man having brought his leading lady along, the Atlantic becomes a stormy crossing when each man must tell his discovery that she might not get the role.
The book was drastically rewritten for this second film version, which was also released by Paramount. Although this version again stars Bing Crosby (whose character was once more renamed), Donald O’Connor, and comedian Phil Harris in a cameo appearance, the film almost completely excises the rest of the original characters in favor of a new plot. The film features almost no similarities to the play or the stage production, apart from some songs and the title.
Showbiz partners Bill Benson and Ted Adams each travel to Paris to sign a dancer to star in their new show. The problem? There is only one role, and the men have unknowingly cast two dancers, Patsy Blair and Gaby Duval. It is up to the men to sort out their mess on the cruise back to America.
- Bing Crosby as Bill Benson
- Donald O’Connor as Ted Adams
- Mitzi Gaynor as Patsy Blair
- Jeanmaire as Gaby Duval
- Phil Harris as Steve Blair
- Kurt Kasznar as Victor Lawrence
- Richard Erdman as Ed Brent
- Walter Sande as Alex Todd
- Archer MacDonald as Otto
- Argentina Brunetti as Suzanne
- Alma Macrorie as French Baroness
- Dorothy Neumann as German Woman
- James Griffith as Paul Holiday
Filming took place between April and May 1955. The primary musical numbers (“Anything Goes”, “You’re the Top”, “I Get a Kick Out of You”, “It’s De-Lovely” and “Blow, Gabriel, Blow”) appear in the film with updated arrangements, while the lesser-known Porter songs were cut completely, and new songs, written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn, were substituted. These substitutions ranged from the lively tap number by Donald O’Connor with bouncy children and as many bouncy balls (“You Can Bounce Right Back”) to the crazy kitsch (“Second-hand Turban”). Musical numbers were staged by Nick Castle, with the “Anything Goes” number staged by Ernie Flatt, and Roland Petit providing the choreography of “I Get a Kick Out of You” for his wife Zizi Jeanmaire.
The Variety reviewer said: “…It’s a bright offering for Easter release, geared to play an engaging tune at the wickets. Male topliners Bing Crosby and Donald O’Connor go together as though born to give the zip to what scripter Sidney Sheldon has concocted hereunder the stage title. While there are Cole Porter songs and the legit handle is still carried, that’s about all that remains of what went on behind the footlights, and there’s scant resemblance to Paramount’s 1936 film version, in which Crosby also starred with Ethel Merman…”
A. H. Weiler writing for The New York Times thought “Twenty years ago Paramount plucked Cole Porter’s effervescent musical “Anything Goes” from Broadway and with the aid of the vocal talents of Ethel Merman and Bing Crosby, projected it on the nation’s screens with passing fair results. A new VistaVision and color edition of that frolic bearing little physical resemblance to its predecessor turned up at the Paramount yesterday. The passage of time has not wrought amazing changes. For all its activity, “Anything Goes” is, in the main, standard musical comedy. Some of the principals are decidedly decorative and talented. The script, however, is transparent and fragile.”
|Soundtrack album by the Original Cast|
|Genre||Stage and screen|
- “Ya Gotta Give the People Hoke” (Crosby and O’Connor) – This is from the film soundtrack.
- “Anything Goes” (Gaynor) – The orchestra track is from the film, but Gaynor overdubs a new and different vocal.
- “I Get a Kick Out of You” (Jeanmaire) – This is from the film soundtrack, although the sound quality fluctuates between the vocals and the dance music.
- “You’re the Top” (Crosby and Gaynor) – This is a studio recording with an arrangement totally different from that presented in the film. On screen the number is done as a double duet with Crosby and Gaynor rehearsing in one room while O’Connor and Jeanmaire rehearse in an adjoining room. The recorded version is less complete and has some different lyrics.
- “Dream Ballet” (Orchestra) – This is taken from the soundtrack with the addition “Let’s Do It” at the very beginning, which was edited out of the final print of the film.
- “It’s De-Lovely” (O’Connor and Gaynor) – This is from the film soundtrack with dialogue removed.
- “All Through the Night” (Crosby) – This is a studio re-recording with Crosby singing at a slightly faster tempo.
- “A Second Hand Turban and a Crystal Ball” (Crosby and O’Connor) – This is the full routine (with a few slight dialogue abridgments) taken from the film soundtrack.
- “You Can Bounce Right Back” (O’Connor) – This is from the film soundtrack.
- “Blow, Gabriel, Blow” (Full cast) – This is from the soundtrack, but remixed to remove the chorus and adding some verses not heard in the finished film.
The album stayed in Decca’s catalog until 1969 when it was discontinued. In 2004, Decca Broadway re-released the recording on CD with three additional Crosby tracks: “Sailor Beware”, “My Heart and I”, and “Moonburn”.
- “The Top Box-Office Hits of 1956”, Variety Weekly, January 2, 1957.
- “Anything Goes”. Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner). Retrieved September 5, 2016.
- Davis 1993, p. 6.
- “Variety”. January 25, 1956.
- Weiler, A. H. “The New York Times”. The New York Times. Retrieved January 28, 2016.
- “Anything Goes > Film Soundtrack”. CastAlbums.org. Retrieved2012-01-14.
- Last available listed in Schwann catalogue, June 1969, page 211
- “Anything Goes (1956 Film Soundtrack): Cole Porter, Bing Crosby, Donald O’Connor: Music”. Amazon.com. Retrieved 2012-01-14.
- Davis, Lee (1993). Bolton and Wodehouse and Kern: The Men Who Made Musical Comedy (1st ed.). New York City: James H. Heineman, Inc. p. 6. ISBN 978-0870081453.