|Too Much Harmony|
Newspaper advertisement for film
|Directed by||A. Edward Sutherland|
|Produced by||William LeBaron|
|Written by||Joseph L. Mankiewicz|
Richard "Skeets" Gallagher
|Music by||Heinz Roemheld|
|Edited by||Richard C. Currier|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
Too Much Harmony is a 1933 American black-and-white pre-Code musical film directed by A. Edward Sutherland and starring Bing Crosby, Jack Oakie, Richard "Skeets" Gallagher, Harry Green, and Judith Allen. It was released by Paramount Pictures.
A backstage musical about a Broadway star, Eddie Bronson, who is stranded with his plane in Ohio where he discovers a small-time variety act, Dixon and Day and their assistant Ruth who is also Ben Day's fiancée. When he returns to New York following a try-out of a new show, Bronson arranges for the irascible producer, Max Merlin, to put them in the show and the story develops around the mutual interest which grows between Eddie and Ruth.
At a party Bronson sings 'The Day You Came Along' and his own fiancée, Lucille, is jealous of his attentions to Ruth. Rehearsals of the show prove to be disappointing but Eddie encourages Ruth and they sing 'Thanks'. Ben decides to give up Ruth so that she can marry Eddie but Lucille will not release Eddie. Ben, with Johnny's help, masquerades as a tobacco millionaire, Charles W. Beaumont Jr., and pretends to be infatuated with Lucille who, in her enthusiasm to obtain a millionaire husband, abandons Eddie and tells him she is breaking the engagement which, of course, has the desired effect of leaving him free to marry Ruth.
The opening night is a huge success; the show includes a spectacular production number, 'Black Moonlight', sung by one of the leading ladies standing on a bridge while dancers perform on a huge draped drum. Other featured numbers are Dixon and Day's 'The Kelly's and the Cohen's', 'Cradle Me with a 'Hocha' Lullaby', 'Boo-boo-boo' and the finale 'Buckin' the Wind'.
The song 'I Guess It Had To Be That Way' was omitted from the released print of the film. Sam Coslow and Arthur Johnston also wrote 'Two Aristocrats' for this film but it was not used.
Kitty Kelly is seen singing 'Black Moonlight' but the dubbed voice was actually that of Barbara Van Brunt. Although Crosby did not sing it in the film, and it may not have been the most tuneful of songs, his commercial recording is a prime example of his singing and style at that period.
The film was one of Paramount's biggest hits of the year.
The New York Times was guarded in its reaction. "The film bears the title of Too Much Harmony and those who are partial to crooning will find plenty of it in this production...Even persons who delight in Mr. Crosby's peculiar ballads may be somewhat disappointed in his attempts to register admiration and affection, for, although he is one of the most popular singers in his line, his acting is often apt to make one uneasy."Variety's review was mixed: "Pretty weak on the story end, but there's enough incidental matter to carry this one through. It's a musical with accent on the music and the song and cast should bring it pleasant returns all over... Between Bing Crosby and Jack Oakie, the literary deficiencies are modified. Crosby for the singing and Oakie for the comedy; a strong combo. . . At least one of the several songs should make the best-seller grade in the competent hands of Crosby. His singing ability he always had, but Crosby now has also found himself in the trouping department. It makes him a cinch." The Los Angeles Evening Herald Express liked Crosby's singing, saying "In this, as in other films, the Crosby voice records as if microphones were invented for it. Bing has definite personality besides, and he grows steadily more at ease in his acting."