To Beat the Band


1h 7m 1935
To Beat the Band

Brief Synopsis

A man courts a widow in order to inherit his aunt's fortune.

Film Details

Also Known As
If You Were Mine
Genre
Comedy
Musical
Release Date
Nov 8, 1935
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 7m
Film Length
7 reels

Synopsis

After saving Larry Barry, his upstairs neighbor, from a suicide leap, bumbling Hugo Twist learns that his wealthy aunt Elizabeth has just died. At the office of his lawyer, Freeda McCreery, Hugo is informed that, in order to inherit his aunt's $59 million fortune, he must marry a widow within three days or sacrifice the money to radio and nightclub performers Fred Carson and his band. As a favor, Larry offers to marry Rowena, Hugo's reluctant young fiancée and cousin, and then commit suicide so that Hugo may marry Rowena and satisfy all of the terms of Aunt Elizabeth's will. Although Larry pledges to keep his promise of suicide, he falls in love with Rowena, who has agreed to wed Hugo only to fulfill a family debt. Freeda, however, sees a chance to make extra profits for her company and, for a million dollar cut of the inheritance, tells Fred and his band about the will. Determined to keep Larry from killing himself, Fred and the band stay close by his side, while the ever clever Freeda, who is a widow herself, negotiates with Hawkins, Hugo's English valet, to convince Hugo to marry her. On the promise of $10,000, Hawkins places photographs of Freeda throughout Hugo's apartment and tells his employer that his conscience, filled with guilt at the prospect of marrying a woman half his age, is causing him to see apparitions. After Rowena and Larry declare their love for each other, Hugo marries Freeda and donates part of his inheritance to the band and to Rowena and Larry. At that moment, Aunt Elizabeth appears and announces that her death was only a ruse to keep Hugo from ruining Rowena's young life. Devastated, Fred tears up Hugo's check, while Freeda contemplates married life with the now poor Hugo.

Film Details

Also Known As
If You Were Mine
Genre
Comedy
Musical
Release Date
Nov 8, 1935
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 7m
Film Length
7 reels

Articles

To Beat the Band


RKO Pictures borrowed Hugh Herbert from Warner Bros. and then let him sparkle in not one but two roles in this amiable musical farce. He plays a bumbler who learns his aunt (also Herbert) has left him a fortune provided he marries a widow within three days. If he fails to do so, the money goes to her favorite radio band, whose members include songwriter Johnny Mercer. What follows is an exercise in confusion. Herbert's suicidal neighbor (Roger Pryor) offers to marry the man's pretty young fiancée (Phyllis Brooks) and then kill himself. Once the vows have been made, however, the band sticks by his side to keep him alive. Meanwhile, Herbert's widowed lawyer (Helen Broderick) does her best to become his new Mrs. with the help of his addled valet (Eric BLore). Herbert's comic by-play with Broderick provides one of the film's highlights. The other is the performance of five songs by Mercer and Matty Malneck, including the jazz hit "Eeny-Meeney-Miney-Mo." Fans even get the rare chance to see Mercer perform his own music. In addition, RKO put some of its best behind-the-scenes talent on the film, including cinematographer Nicholas Musuraca, costume designer Walter Plunkett and art director Van Nest Polglase.

By Frank Miller
To Beat The Band

To Beat the Band

RKO Pictures borrowed Hugh Herbert from Warner Bros. and then let him sparkle in not one but two roles in this amiable musical farce. He plays a bumbler who learns his aunt (also Herbert) has left him a fortune provided he marries a widow within three days. If he fails to do so, the money goes to her favorite radio band, whose members include songwriter Johnny Mercer. What follows is an exercise in confusion. Herbert's suicidal neighbor (Roger Pryor) offers to marry the man's pretty young fiancée (Phyllis Brooks) and then kill himself. Once the vows have been made, however, the band sticks by his side to keep him alive. Meanwhile, Herbert's widowed lawyer (Helen Broderick) does her best to become his new Mrs. with the help of his addled valet (Eric BLore). Herbert's comic by-play with Broderick provides one of the film's highlights. The other is the performance of five songs by Mercer and Matty Malneck, including the jazz hit "Eeny-Meeney-Miney-Mo." Fans even get the rare chance to see Mercer perform his own music. In addition, RKO put some of its best behind-the-scenes talent on the film, including cinematographer Nicholas Musuraca, costume designer Walter Plunkett and art director Van Nest Polglase. By Frank Miller

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was If You Were Mine. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, Ben Stoloff replaced Ben Holmes as director after Holmes suffered a nervous breakdown just prior to production. RKO borrowed Hugh Herbert from Warner Bros. for this project. Hollywood Reporter production charts add Monte Collins, Christine McIntyre, Nick Condos and Betty Grable to the cast. Their participation in the final film has not been confirmed. Modern sources add Larry Steers (Man in nightclub) to the cast.