Sunny


1h 38m 1941

Film Details

Release Date
May 30, 1941
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Sunny , book and lyrics by Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II, music by Jerome Kern (New York, 22 Sep 1925).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 38m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,798ft

Synopsis

In the crush of the Mardi Gras festivities, Larry Warren, the scion of a wealthy New Orleans family, is thrown together with Sunny O'Sullivan, a bareback rider in the circus. Commanded to kiss by the Queen of Hearts and her court, the two embrace, after which Sunny disappears into the night. Enchanted by his brief encounter with Sunny, Larry goes to the circus, where he joins his sister Elizabeth, family attorney Henry Bates and debutante Juliet Runnymeade. To his delight, Larry sees Sunny dancing onstage and rushes out to send her a bouquet of flowers. Larry tries to make a date to meet Sunny after the show, but when a misunderstanding results in Sunny thinking that she has been stood up, she joins her friend, Bunny Billings, instead. When Sunny and Larry accidentally meet again at a restaurant, Larry pulls Sunny away from her friends and leads her on a tour of the city. By night's end, the two have fallen in love and Larry proposes. After bidding her circus friends farewell, Sunny goes to Waverly Hall, the Warrens' ancestral home, to meet Larry's crusty aunt Barbara and the rest of the family. At a formal reception that night, Elizabeth snubs Sunny, and Aunt Barbara instructs Henry to "buy off" Sunny. Henry's business proposal sends Sunny to bed sobbing until Aunt Barbara, who was testing the girl, welcomes her into the family. On the day of the wedding, most of the social register is at the Waverly house when Bunny and the circus troupe arrive to surprise Sunny. Snatching a last minute opportunity to humiliate Sunny, Elizabeth suggests that the group perform before the ceremony. Encouraged by the dancing antics of Juliet and her partner Egghead, the troupe begins to show off. Sunny is stunned when Larry orders her friends out of his house, and leaves with the troupe and returns to the circus. On opening night, the show is sold out, but when Sunny goes onstage, she discovers that Larry has bought all the tickets. Furious, Sunny storms off the stage and locks herself in her trailer. Larry then hitches the trailer to his car and tows it to a waiting riverboat. Aboard the boat, Sunny runs out on deck, and when Larry fears that she has fallen overboard, he jumps in the river to save her. Larry's brush with death forces Sunny to realize that she still loves him and the two reconcile.

Film Details

Release Date
May 30, 1941
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Sunny , book and lyrics by Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II, music by Jerome Kern (New York, 22 Sep 1925).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 38m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8,798ft

Award Nominations

Best Score

1941

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The film opens with the following prologue: "New Orleans-Crescent City of the Old South-where Rex, the King of Mischief, Reigns Over the Mardi Gras For One Mad Week." According to news items in Hollywood Reporter, producer Herbert Wilcox bought the rights to the play from Warner Bros. as a vehicle for Anna Neagle. This was the third musical comedy collaboration between RKO, Neagle and Wilcox. In 1940, Wilcox and Neagle adapted the musical comedies Irene and No, No Nanette to the screen (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.2156 & F3.3161). According to another news item in Hollywood Reporter, Ken Englund was hired to write the screenplay, but his contribution to the final film has not been confirmed.
       Other news items in Hollywood Reporter yield the following information: May Robson was prevented from playing the role of "Aunt Barbara" because of a prior commitment. J. Roy Hunt shot the Mardi Gras backgrounds in New Orleans. Vaudeville performer Muggins Davies ended fifteen years of retirement to play "Muggins" in this film. John Carroll was loaned from M-G-M to appear as "Larry Warren." A news item in New York Times adds that Ernestine Clark, who doubled for Anna Neagle in the film, was a famed equestrienne and aerialist for the Ringling Bros. circus. This picture was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Score. A previous adaptation of the Otto Harbach, Oscar Hammerstein II and Jerome Kern play was filmed by Warner Bros. in 1930, directed by William Seiter and starring Marilyn Miller, who played the role on Broadway (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.5465). According to news item in Los Angeles Times, in 1952 Warner Bros. was planning to film an updated version of the play starring Doris Day, but that film was never made.