Cast & Crew
Singer and stockbroker Billy Crockett wishes "bon voyage" to singer Reno Sweeney and the Widows, her back-up group, as they are about to sail on the London-bound S.S. Americana . When Billy sees Hope Harcourt, a blonde who he believes has been kidnapped, board the ship, however, he decides to stay on board. Reno, who thought Billy loved her, is angry when she realizes he stayed on board because of the mysterious blonde. Also on board is "Moonface Martin," public enemy number thirteen, who is traveling as "Reverend Dr. Moon," and Bonnie Le Tour, wife of E. J. Hill, alias "Snake Eyes Johnson," public enemy number one, who missed the boat. After Billy inadvertently hides Moonface from the police, he offers Billy Hills's passport, to which they affix Billy's photo. Meanwhile, Billy hides from the ship's purser while trying to make love to Hope. She is from an important British family, and when she fell in love with a crook and ran away from home, family friend Sir Evelyn Oakleigh hired detectives to kidnap her and bring her back to England. Although Hope assures Billy she is safe, he vows to protect her. When the Department of Justice wires the ship's captain to arrest Hill, Moonface warns Billy. Moonface, believing Hope and Oakleigh are engaged, instructs Reno to flirt with him to make Hope jealous. Oakleigh and Reno fall for each other, however, and he explains he is Hope's guardian. Billy continually serenades Hope and eventually wins a kiss from her, but needs a suit to meet her in public. After Moonface, Reno and Bonnie procure him a suit and a fake beard made out of dog hair, he impersonates a Romanian and joins Hope and Oakleigh for dinner. When a dog pulls off his beard, however, the purser arrests him as Hill. Although Reno swears he is Billy Crockett, his boss, furious that he is not back in New York working, refuses to identify him. Hope, believing he is Hill, rejects him, planning to marry British Captain McPhail upon arrival in England. Billy, Bonnie and Moonface are arrested before the ship lands in Southampton. On the docks, Billy and Moonface escape by posing as members of Reno's Chinese stage show and singing to Oakleigh and Hope. They then board the Paramount News Truck in the rain. Bonnie finally joins them and announces that the real Snake Eyes was arrested. Moonface is demoted to the rank of public enemy number 1313--not dangerous and not wanted. Oakleigh and Reno, united, run behind the truck, while Billy and Hope kiss.
J. Gunnis Davis
George Andre Beranger
G. Pat Collins
A. E. Freudeman
Richard A. Whiting
In olden days a glimpse of stocking / Was looked on as something shocking, / Now, Heaven knows, / Anything goes!- Reno Sweeney
The book of the stage musical, originally titled Hard to Get and retitled Bon Voyage, was written by Guy Bolton and P. G. Wodehouse and was revised by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse into Anything Goes; however, only Lindsay and Crouse receive credit on the film, and no adaptation credits are listed. According to a modern source, Bon Voyage was a comedy that Broadway producer Vinton Freedley planned to produce in the 1933-34 season. When the real-life shipwreck of the S.S. Morro Castle occurred on September 8, 1934, playwright Lindsay, the director of the show, enlisted Crouse to help him revise the script, as Bolton and Wodehouse were no longer available. The Broadway musical ran 420 performances. All songs in the film, except the Cole Porter numbers which came from the Broadway musical, were written expressly for the screen. This film was shot in part on location in Honolulu, Hawaii. According to a August 24, 1935 news item in Hollywood Reporter, Paramount had planned to send six LeRoy Prinz dancers to Honolulu and use them on an ocean liner for background shots, but instead sent only assistant director Nate Watt and a camera, with the intention of using ship passengers as extras in the scenes.
A description of this film's plot in Motion Picture Herald's "In the Cutting Room" differs significantly from the final film. According to Motion Picture Herald, Bing Crosby's character is madly in love with Ethel Merman's, who is without tickets or passports, and Crosby's character is being pursued by Ida Lupino's, a "blonde menace to his romantic ambitions with Miss Merman." Merman reprised her Broadway role. Victor Moore, who played "Moonface" in the stage play, was unavailable for the film version, and several reviewers considered Ruggles' portrayal of "Moonface" inferior to Moore's. According to a news item in Daily Variety on July 3, 1935, Herb Williams and Joe Penner were also considered for the role of "Moonface," but were unavailable. A modern source includes Dennis O'Keefe, who was then known as Bud Flanagan, in the cast as an extra at a nightclub table. In 1956, Robert Lewis directed starring Bing Crosby, Donald O'Connor, Jeanmaire and Mitzi Gaynor in a Paramount remake of the play. According to a modern source, television executives, faced with two movies with the same title, retitled the 1936 film Tops Is the Limit.