On the Avenue

On the Avenue is a 1937 American musical film directed by Roy Del Ruth and starring Dick Powell, Madeleine Carroll, Alice Faye, George Barbier, and The Ritz Brothers. Many of the songs were composed by Irving Berlin. Many of the plot details (with a reversal of the male and female roles) were used in Let's Make Love.

On the Avenue
DVD cover
Directed byRoy Del Ruth
William J. Scully (assistant)
William Seiter (fill-in)
Produced byGene Markey
Darryl F. Zanuck
Written byIrving Berlin (story)
Eddie Cherkose
Samuel Pokrass
Screenplay byWilliam M. Conselman
Gene Markey
StarringDick Powell
Madeleine Carroll
Alice Faye
The Ritz Brothers
George Barbier
Music byCharles Maxwell
Cyril J. Mockridge
CinematographyLucien Andriot
Edited byAllen McNeil
Distributed byTwentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Release date
February 12, 1937 (1937-02-12)
Running time
89 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$1 million[1]
Box office$1.3 million[2]


Gary Blake (Dick Powell) stars in a new show, On the Avenue, with Mona Merrick (Alice Faye). The show contains a satire on The Richest Girl in the World, Mimi Carraway (Madeleine Carroll). Mimi and her father (George Barbier) are in the audience on opening night and they feel insulted. She goes backstage and tries to get Gary to take the skit out of the show. He refuses and calls her a "bad sport".

Shocked by the remark, Mimi decides to make a date with Gary. They spend the entire evening together and, by morning, have fallen in love. He finally agrees to revise the skit so it can no longer hurt the Carraways. Mona is in love with Gary and is furious when she hears about Gary's date with Mimi. When the Carraways appear to see the revised sketch, she changes it, without Gary's knowledge, making it worse than before. The Carraways decide to file suit against Gary.

To get back at him, Mimi buys the show from the producer and embarrasses Gary by hiring a paid audience to walk out on the show. Word leaks out to the press and Gary is now the laughingstock of New York. Furious, he tears up his contract, refusing to work with Mimi. Soon, Mimi becomes engaged to Arctic explorer Frederick Sims (Alan Mowbray). On her wedding day, Mona arrives and tells Mimi that it was she, not Gary, who changed the skit. Mimi runs out of the wedding and is taken to city hall with Gary to be married.

The film's action is interspersed with songs from the play, including Berlin's songs "He Ain't Got Rhythm," and "Let's Go Slumming On Park Avenue."


Partial soundtrackEdit

  • I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm (1937)
    • Music and Lyrics by Irving Berlin
    • Sung by Dick Powell and Alice Faye in the show[3]
  • This Year's Kisses (1937)
    • Music and Lyrics by Irving Berlin
    • Sung by Alice Faye with piano accompaniment at rehearsal
  • You're Laughing at Me (1937)
    • Music and Lyrics by Irving Berlin
    • Sung by Dick Powell with the studio orchestra
  • The Girl on the Police Gazette (1937)
    • Music and Lyrics by Irving Berlin
    • Sung by Dick Powell with a barbershop quartet
  • Cheek to Cheek (1935)
    • Music and Lyrics by Irving Berlin
    • Partially sung by Harry Ritz in the "He Ain't Got Rhythm" number
  • He Ain't Got Rhythm (1937)
    • Music and Lyrics by Irving Berlin
    • Performed by Alice Faye, The Ritz Brothers and chorus in the show

Reception and accoladesEdit

Writing for Night and Day in 1937, Graham Greene gave the film a good review, noting the film's astute direction and succinctly summarizing it as "a good film with some charming songs". Greene's only significant complaint was that of the performance given by Carroll which Greene described as evoking "the less endearing traits of a young elephant", "her stupendous coquetry", and her "intense proboscine whispers". Speaking for the audience, Greene claims that "we don't want weight or fidelity in a musical comedy".[4]

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:


  1. ^ Solomon p 240
  2. ^ Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century-Fox: A Corporate and Financial History Rowman & Littlefield, 2002 p 217
  3. ^ Ruth, Roy Del (1937-02-12), On the Avenue, retrieved 2016-10-11
  4. ^ Greene, Graham (29 July 1937). "The High Command/On the Avenue/Yiddle with his Fiddle". Night and Day. (reprinted in: Taylor, John Russell, ed. (1980). The Pleasure Dome. Oxford University Press. pp. 157, 160. ISBN 0192812866.)
  5. ^ "AFI's Greatest Movie Musicals Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-13.
  • Green, Stanley (1999) Hollywood Musicals Year by Year (2nd ed.), pub. Hal Leonard Corporation ISBN 0-634-00765-3 page 65

External linksEdit