Reaching for the Moon (1930)


Pre Code Logo 1

Pre Code Hollywood Season: FD Cinematheque

Reaching for the Moon (1930)

Reaching For The Moon 1

Reaching For The Moon 8

Reaching For The Moon 11

Director: Edmund Goulding

Cast: Douglas Fairbanks, Bebe Daniels, Edward Everett Horton, Claud Allister, Jack Mulhall, Walter Walker, June MacCloy, Bing Crosby

91 min

Reaching For The Moon 3

Reaching for the Moon is a 1930 American Pre-Code black and white musical film. Originally released at 91 minutes; surviving versions are usually cut to 62 minutes. A 74-minute version aired in 1998 on USA cable channel AMC. The DVD version runs just under 72 minutes. The film’s working title was Lucky Break and is known as Para alcanzar la Lunain Spain. It is not to be confused with the Fairbanks silent film, Reaching for the Moon (1917).

Reaching For The Moon 4

Background

The film was originally intended to be a musical with songs written by Irving Berlin but problems soon developed. From the start, Berlin found Edmund Goulding, the director, difficult to work with. Also by mid-1930 the studio realized that the public’s demand for musicals had disappeared. So Goulding jettisoned many of Berlin’s songs from the score.

Although just five Berlin songs had been recorded, the film, even in its scaled-down form, proved very expensive to make. By the time the filming was complete, the costs had come to about a million dollars, a huge budget for the times, and one that virtually ruled out the possibility of the film returning a profit.[1]

Reaching For The Moon 5

The one song that was retained was “When the Folks High Up Do the Mean Low Down” introduced by Bing Crosby who had filmed it late at night after completing his work at the Cocoanut Grove.[2] Variety commented on this song specifically, saying: “None of the Berlin songs is left other than a chorus of hot numbers apparently named “Lower Than Lowdown” [sic]. Tune suddenly breaks into the running in the ship’s bar when Bing Crosby, of the Whiteman Rhythm Boys, gives it a strong start for just a chorus which, in turn, is ably picked up by Miss Daniels, also for merely a chorus, and then in an exterior shot to the deck where June MacCloy sends the lyric and melody for a gallop of half a chorus.[3]

Reaching For The Moon 6

Plot

Wall Street wizard, Larry Day, new to the ways of love, is coached by his valet. He follows Vivian Benton on an ocean liner, where cocktails, laced with a “love potion”, work their magic. He then loses his fortune in the market crash and feels he has also lost his girl.

Reaching For The Moon 9

Cast

Reaching For The Moon 10

Soundtrack

  • “When the Folks High-Up Do the Mean Low-Down”
Written by Irving Berlin
Sung by Bing Crosby, Bebe Daniels, June MacCloy and chorus.
Written by Irving Berlin
(heard instrumentally over the opening credits, as background music for a love scene, then briefly at the end)

Reaching For The Moon 12

References

  1. Jump up^ Bergreen, Laurence (1990). As Thousands Cheer. London: Hodder and Stoughton. pp. 291–293. ISBN 0-340-53486-9.
  2. Jump up^ Giddins, Gary (2001). A Pocketful of Dreams. New York: Little, Brown and Company. p. 233. ISBN 0-316-88188-0.
  3. Jump up^ “Variety”. Variety. January 7, 1931.

Bebe Daniels

Reaching For The Moon 14

Reaching For The Moon 15

Film Collectors Corner

Watch Reaching For The Moon Now – Instant Video on You Tube

Blu Ray

Not released on Blu Ray

 

DVD

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s