Pre Code Hollywood Season: FD Cinematheque
Sunnyside Up (1929)
Director: David Butler
Cast: Janet Gaynor, Charles Farrell, Marjorie White, El Brendel, Mary Forbes, Peter Gawthorne, Sharon Lynn, Frank Richardson, Joe Brown, Henry Armetta, Sherwood Bailey, Jay Berger
Sunny Side Up is a 1929 American Pre-Code Fox Movietone musical film starring Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell, with original songs, story, and dialogue by B. G. DeSylva, Lew Brown and Ray Henderson. The romantic comedy/musical premiered on October 3, 1929 at the Gaiety Theatre in New York City. The film was directed by David Butler, had (now-lost) Multicolor sequences, and a running time of 121 minutes.
Gaynor and Farrell made almost a dozen films together, including Frank Borzage‘s classics Seventh Heaven (1927), Street Angel (1928), and Lucky Star (1929). Gaynor won the first Academy Award for Best Actress for the first two and F. W. Murnau’s Sunrise.
- Janet Gaynor as Molly Carr
- Charles Farrell as Jack Cromwell
- Marjorie White as Bea Nichols
- El Brendel as Eric Swenson
- Mary Forbes as Mrs. Cromwell
- Peter Gawthorne as Lake
- Sharon Lynn as Jane Worth
The Times and The New York Times both express the opinion that the film, and the singing voices of Gaynor and Farrell, are all tolerable if not exactly worthy of praise. Despite the sugary sentimentality, the film is engaging, while the cinematography and special effects are impressive.
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
I’m A Dreamer, Aren’t We All?
Several times throughout the film Gaynor sings the tune “I’m a Dreamer, Aren’t We All?” and, on one occasion, sings it impressively, according to the New York Times. The credits are: words, De Sylva & Brown; music, Ray Henderson.
The song was punned by the Marx Brothers in the film Animal Crackers (1930). Groucho asks his brother to “play the song about Montreal“. Chico asks, “Montreal?, and Groucho replies, “I’m a dreamer, Montreal.” The pun has been much-recycled  not least in Stewart Parker‘s award-winning play I’m a Dreamer, Montreal.
An early popular recording was by Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra on October 16, 1929 with a vocal group including Bing Crosby and this reached the charts in 1929. The tune was also recorded by John Coltrane in 1958  and included on his album Bahia (1964).
Turn on the Heat
(Keep Your) Sunny Side Up
Another song in the film that would later be used as the theme song to the 1988 British sitcom Clarence.
In the 1950s, the song was used as the theme song for Sunnyside Up, a variety program produced by HSV-7 (a television station in Melbourne, Australia_. The song’s melody was later adapted by the Essendon Football Club for its club song, “See the Bombers Fly Up”, written by Kevin Andrews in 1959.
- Quigley Publishing Company “The All Time Best Sellers”, International Motion Picture Almanac 1937-38 (1938) p 942 accessed April 19, 2014
- “WHICH CINEMA FILMS HAVE EARNED THE MOST MONEY SINCE 1914?”. The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.: 1848-1956). Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia. March 4, 1944. p. 3 Supplement: The Argus Weekend magazine. Retrieved August 6, 2012.
- NY Times October 4, 1929 Movie Review
- The Times, December 30, 1929, New Gallery Cinema “Sunny Side Up”
- “Collage of 10 worst films now a movie of its own”, Lodi News-Sentinel, November 25, 1982. (p.8).
- “AFI’s Greatest Movie Musicals Nominees” (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-13.
- Glenn Mitchell, The Marx Brothers encyclopedia (Reynolds & Hearn, 2003) ISBN 1-903111-49-8
- “A Bing Crosby Discography”. BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
- Whitburn, Joel (1986). Joel Whitburn’s Pop Memories 1890-1954. Wisconsin, USA: Record Research Inc. p. 452. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
- The Complete Prestige Recordings
- “The Walter Lantz Cartune Encyclopedia: 1933”. The Walter Lantz Cartune Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2011-10-31.
- History behind every AFl club theme song
Film Collectors Corner
Watch Sunnyside Up Now – You Tube Instant Video
Not released on Blu Ray