Top of the Town (film)

Top of the Town is a 1937 American musical comedy film directed by Ralph Murphy, Sam White and Walter Lang and starring Doris Nolan, George Murphy and Ella Logan.[2] It was produced and distributed by Universal Pictures.

Top of the Town
Directed byRalph Murphy
Sam White
Walter Lang
Written byRobert Benchley
Lou Brock
Produced byLou Brock
Charles R. Rogers
StarringDoris Nolan
George Murphy
Ella Logan
CinematographyJoseph A. Valentine
Edited byMaurice Wright
Music byFrank Skinner
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • April 18, 1937 (1937-04-18)
Running time
86 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budgetover $1 million[1]







Writing for Night and Day in 1937, Graham Greene gave the film a poor review, describing it as "one of those distressingly carefree musicals [...] when the only ungay faces are among the audience".[3]

The New York Times wrote, "Through some unaccountable oversight, Universal omitted the kitchen sink, but it tossed practically everything else it could find into its new musical colossus....Everything, that is, except a sense of humor, a semblance of continuity and the veriest morsel of credibility. They would have been handy things to have around. Without them the picture is just a big and dumb variety show with one fair turn following another up, and through, the gaudy finale and the super-supper room otherwise known as the Moonbeam Roof....It probably all is all right, as far as it goes, but it goes too far without getting anywhere. We found ourselves looking high and low for the kitchen sink; we wanted a drink of water."[4]

The Chicago Tribune described the film as "just too much Christmas and also considerable of a draggy drawers. It has a lot of noise, a lot of so-so music, a good deal of pretty fair dancing, gobs of comedy that could be a heap funnier than it is, some new faces that remind you of other faces, and an itty bitty story that is practically lost sight of in the confusion. Doris Nolan, Universal's new girl find, is a pleasing and gracious young woman who makes you think of Gloria Stuart. Gertrude Niesen, recruited from the night clubs, sings several torch songs torchily, resembling now Mae West, now Nazimova and, in a couple of none too kind closeups—George Arliss. Ella a bright note. And Peggy Ryan, a starlet, aged 10, imitates Eleanor Powell as well as any ten year old could be expected to do. George zippy and likable and Hugh Herbert and Gregory Ratoff are good for some—not many—laughs....This is an elaborate production. Somebody told me how much it cost, but there were too many figures. I can't remember them."[5]


  1. ^ "Roadshow 'Top' as Costs Mount $1,000,000". Variety. January 20, 1937. p. 4.
  2. ^ Sandra Brennan (2014). "Top of the Town". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 22, 2014. Retrieved December 22, 2014.
  3. ^ Greene, Graham (July 8, 1937). "Black Legion/Night Must Fall/Top of the Town/The Last Train from Madrid". Night and Day. (reprinted in: Taylor, John Russell, ed. (1980). The Pleasure Dome. Oxford University Press. p. 154. ISBN 0192812866.)
  4. ^ Nugent, Frank S. "The Screen: Universal Unveils Its Elaborate Revue, 'Top of theTown,' at the Roxy—New Foreign Films." New York Times, 27 March 1937, 19.
  5. ^ Tinee, Mae. "'Top of Town' Lot of Money Spent on Noise: All is Confusion in Movie of Night Clubs." Chicago Tribune, 7 April 1937, 27.