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We're Not Dressing is a 1934 pre-Code screwball musical comedy film directed by Norman Taurog. Based on the 1902 J. M. Barrie play The Admirable Crichton, the film is about a beautiful yacht owner (Carole Lombard) who becomes stranded on an island with her socialite friends, a wacky husband-and-wife research team (George Burns and Gracie Allen), and a singing sailor (Bing Crosby). The supporting cast includes Ethel Merman and Ray Milland.

We're Not Dressing
We're Not Dressing.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byNorman Taurog
Produced byBenjamin Glazer
Screenplay by
  • Horace Jackson
  • Francis Martin
  • George Marion Jr.
Story by
  • Walton Hall Smith
  • Benjamin Glazer
Based onThe Admirable Crichton
by J. M. Barrie
Music byMack Gordon
Harry Revel
CinematographyCharles Lang
Edited byStuart Heisler
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • April 26, 1934 (1934-04-26) (USA)
Running time
77 minutes
CountryUnited States



Spoiled socialite Doris Worthington (Lombard) is sailing the Pacific with her friend Edith (Merman) and her Uncle Hubert (Errol), while being courted by Prince Michael (Milland) and Prince Alexander (Henry). She is bored, however, and finds entertainment in verbal sparring with one of the sailors, Stephen Jones (Crosby). During one of their battles, Doris slaps Stephen, who retaliates by kissing her and gets fired. In a drunken accident, Uncle Hubert runs the yacht onto a reef in the fog. Stephen rescues the unconscious Doris as the others flee the capsized ship, and everyone makes it to the tropical island although the princes claim credit for Doris's rescue. Unfortunately, the only person with any survival skills is Stephen, and the socialites are quick to demand that he gather food and build shelter. Stephen attempts to divide up the work but the haughty passengers snub his leadership so he fends for himself. The smells from Stephen's dinner of mussels and coconuts soon entice the hungry passengers to gather their own food; all except Doris, who tricks Stephen to get his food and gets slapped in turn. The group is forced to cooperate, although Doris remains indignant and infuriated.

Doris discovers that there are other people on the island when she falls prey to a lion trap in the jungle: zany Gracie (Allen) and scientific husband George (Burns) live on the other side of the not-so-deserted isle. She refuses their offer to stay in favor of getting even with Stephen. Doris arranges for some tools and clothes to float past Stephen, who is elated at his "discovery" and quickly builds a house. The couple admit their love that evening but feel mismatched.

Two rescue boats arrive. In the hubbub, Stephen finds out that the clothes and tools came from Doris and is angry at being the butt of the joke. Stephen takes a different boat than Doris. As Doris watches the princes resume their womanizing ways on board ship, she realizes she misses Stephen. She changes ships to join him, for better or for worse.



We're Not Dressing was filmed at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, and Santa Catalina Island.


Mordaunt Hall of The New York Times wrote, "This musical tale appears to have been inspired to a certain extent by the Barrie play "The Admirable Crichton," but it is merely a fluffy bundle of laughter and chansons d'amour ... It has all the plausibility and romantic flavor of the average musical comedy. It is nicely photographed and cleverly directed, the sort of thing that, while it may have too many moaning melodies, is invariably diverting."[1]

Variety commented, " ... Where it's light and familiar on the story it's heavy on sturdy croonology by Bing Crosby, who makes the footage a vocal delight ... All in all a cinch audience picture—any audience… The vocalizing is all Crosby's. While he may be crooning constantly he does it so well (and not too implausibly because he is discovered as a naturally singing desk washer) that it's forgivable. What's more, a little effective business is introduced with the bear, who responds only to the 'May I?' song ... Crosby himself is most of the picture. He screens his best and sings better."[2]


Crosby recorded some of the songs for Brunswick Records[3] and "Love Thy Neighbor", "Goodnight Lovely Little Lady" and ""Once in a Blue Moon"" reached the charts of the day peaking at Nos. 2, 2 and 11 respectively.[4]


  1. ^ "The New York Times". The New York Times. April 26, 1934.
  2. ^ "Variety". Variety. May 1, 1934.
  3. ^ "A Bing Crosby Discography". A Bing Crosby Discography. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954. Wisconsin, USA: Record Research Inc. p. 104. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.

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