Music Is Magic


1h 6m 1935

Brief Synopsis

Vaudevillians supporting the musical efforts of aging Hollywood star Diane de Valle decide to head for Tinseltown themselves when de Valle's high salary and low drawing power cancel the revue. Managing to land roles in a de Valle musical movie, perky Peggy is rescued from the chorus line by the tricks of her boyfriend Jack, who uses bravado to usurp de Valle's role in favor of Peggy, who is more suited to the bouncy musical.

Film Details

Also Known As
Ball of Fire, Private Beach
Release Date
Nov 1, 1935
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Fox Film Corp.; Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Malibu, California, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Private Beach by Gladys Unger and Jesse Lasky, Jr. (Beverly Hills, 11 Oct 1934).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 6m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,000ft (7 reels)

Synopsis

When ill-tempered Hollywood star Diane De Valle's touring revue is cancelled in Kentucky because she fails to attract many patrons, master of ceremonies Jack Lambert tries to convince singer Peggy Harper of the "Harper Trio from Rio," to go to Hollywood and become a star, but she prefers to continue playing broken down theaters rather than be out-of-work in Hollywood. However, after Diane implies that Peggy would be hopelessly lost among the thousands of other girls in Hollywood, Peggy decides to show her and goes with Jack. Four weeks later, as Peggy irons in a Hollywood laundry, Jack convinces her to quit because he says he has arranged for her to sing that night for the famous producer from Miracle Productions, Ben Pomeroy. After she quits, Peggy learns that Jack has only found out that Pomeroy plans to eat at a particular Mexican restaurant and that Jack wants her to sing there. Meanwhile, Diane returns to town with her sister Shirley, and they are greeted at the airport by Pomeroy and a wealthy young man, Tony Bennett, who has been pursuing Diane throughout her tour. When asked by the press if she and Tony plan to marry, Diane evades the question. At the restaurant, when Pomeroy enters with his assistant, Jack gives the bandleader some sheet music for Peggy to sing, but the bandleader balks because it isn't Mexican. The owner, Señor Castellano, intercedes and, mistaking the song "Honey Chile" to be about a chili, orders it to be played. Pomeroy is annoyed by the "audition," as is Castellano, who thinks Pomeroy ordered Peggy to sing it and tells him to leave. In the ensuing melee, Peggy runs out. The other Harpers, Peanuts and Eddie, knockabout acrobats who came to Hollywood hoping to provoke interest in a two-Tarzan story, swing from the light fixtures and yell like Tarzan, which interests Pomeroy's assistant, and the next day, the Harpers are signed. Pomeroy tries to convince Diane to make a different story than the operetta Music Is Magic , which she has signed to make, because the role needs a younger woman, in his opinion, but Diane prevails. As Peggy packs, Peanuts and Eddie report that they were signed and that they also got a part for Peggy. They forgot to include Jack, but he says that he has irons in the fire. At her beach house in Malibu, when Diane discovers Shirley and Tony playfully wrestling in the sand, she kisses Tony passionately, which hurts Shirley. At rehearsal, the director is exasperated with Diane's inability to sing a number "hot." When Jack, now working for a caterer, sees Diane walk off the set, he impersonates Pomeroy's assistant and orders Peggy, a dancer in the chorus, to try the number. Pomeroy is impressed with Peggy, but before he can tell her, Jack's boss fights him for not working, which disrupts the rehearsal. Jack then apologizes to Peggy for messing things up. She kisses him and they leave together. Shirley comes to Diane's dressing room and tells her that she wants to go back East because she and Tony love each other. Tony, Shirley says, is too decent to ask Diane to break the engagement. When Diane says that it wouldn't be good publicity for her, Shirley expresses unhappiness that Diane has passed her off as her sister rather than her daughter because she is too vain to admit that she has a grown daughter. Shirley runs out, and she is hit on the head by a fallen light fixture. Diane rushes to her and asking forgiveness, acknowledges in public that she is her mother. Shirley is not hurt seriously, and Diane, glad that the truth is finally out, says she will try to be a real mother. She tells Pomeroy that she is through, but Pomeroy tells her that he has a role for her as a young mother. She hugs and kisses him and cries in his arms. A search is put out for Peggy, and as a needle moves across a radio dial, various radio messages calling for Peggy are heard. When the needle stops, it revolves to reveal Peggy inside. She then sings a number as Jack leads the band. Peanuts and Eddie join them, while Diane and Pomeroy watch with Shirley and Tony, as the number is filmed. The whole production is then captured in a still photograph.

Film Details

Also Known As
Ball of Fire, Private Beach
Release Date
Nov 1, 1935
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Fox Film Corp.; Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Malibu, California, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Private Beach by Gladys Unger and Jesse Lasky, Jr. (Beverly Hills, 11 Oct 1934).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 6m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,000ft (7 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Working titles for this film were Private Beach and Ball of Fire. According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, Gladys Unger wrote and copyrighted a play in 1930 entitled Private Beach. This film, however, was based on the play of the same name, which she co-wrote with Jesse Lasky, Jr. In a letter dated in 1937, Lasky noted that the the play enjoyed a successful run in California and would have gone to New York if Fox had not brought it to the screen. In his autobiography, Lasky commented that the character of the producer in the play resembled his boss Sol Wurtzel, who, when he saw the play, thought the character was based on Samuel Goldwyn.
       An early Hollywood Reporter news item stated that Allen Rivkin would produce the film and that Sammy Lee would direct the dances. No information has been located to confirm that they actually worked on the film. According to news items and a review, some scenes were shot at Malibu. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, Ray Walker replaced Jack Haley, who dropped out at the last minute. This was considered Walker's best break to date. James Burke is listed for the role of "Mickey" in the Call Bureau Cast Service, although Ed Gargan was given screen credit. According to Hollywood Reporter, when the film went back into production for two days of added scenes, beginning August 22, 1935, James Tinling took over direction, as Marshall had been assigned to Snatched (released as Show Them No Mercy!, see below) to replace Irving Cummings, who had been assigned to King of Burlesque.