Mill Creek Musings: Sitting on the Moon (1936)

Danny West (Roger Pryor) is a songwriter who usually teams up with a lyricist named Mike Rooney (William Newell) to churn out the hits.

(Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
I love the font used for this title card. Little stars to dot the “i”s and everything! (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

After a crazy night out, Danny drags himself into Regent Pictures studios and finds that Mike has gone mad. The director of the picture they’re working on, Tucker (Pierre Watkin), expected them to have a song ready that day… and it’s nowhere near complete. But Danny manages to charm Tucker and calm Mike, and all seems well again.

That is, all seems well until another distraction comes along for Danny. Polly Blair (Grace Bradley), an actress and singer whose star is fading, gets booted from the chorus line along with her feisty roommate, Mattie (Pert Kelton), who stood up for her in an argument with Tucker.

Danny takes a liking to Polly and wants to help her get her career on track (while wooing her romantically, of course), but complications ensue for them both professionally and personally.

Love is in the air for Polly and Danny! (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
Love is in the air for Polly and Danny! (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Ralph Staub directs 1936’s Sitting on the Moon, a very short and pleasant showbiz musical. Mill Creek’s print of the film is of watchable quality and has good sound, but is unfortunately cut quite short. According to TCM’s database the film’s original run-time was 66 minutes, while the print in the 50 Classic Musicals set runs at only 52.

Despite the fact that almost 15 minutes of the film are missing, it’s still a good little watch. The performances are believable, the story is light but entertaining, and the songs are wonderful. The romance between Polly and Danny is sickeningly cute, too.

"I know that I'm heading for heaven, where beautiful dreams come true... I'm sitting on the moon, and all I need is you," Polly croons in the title song. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)
“I know that I’m heading for heaven, where beautiful dreams come true… I’m sitting on the moon, and all I need is you,” Polly croons in the title song. (Screen capture by Lindsey for TMP)

Grace Bradley’s character of Polly is described in the film as having a “million dollar voice.” Bradley’s talent is only remembered today in forgotten-film-obsessed circles, but she’s sure to delight musical fans in this film. She has a very nice voice, well-suited to the style of music used in Sitting on the Moon. This was the first film I watched in 2014 and the title song is still stuck in my head!

I actually adore the character of Polly in general. Not only does Bradley’s performance stand out, but Polly is an assertive woman who stands up for herself… and she isn’t demonized for it! The audience is clearly meant to root for her, and when she stands her ground against her boss Mr. Worthington, it pays off — he sees the error of his ways.

This is no true “classic” of the musical genre, but it’s a nice way to spend a little under an hour. It fits well into the set’s selection of minor-but-fun films, and it’s got a fabulous central character. I enjoyed watching it this time around and would certainly watch it again.

The score: 4/5

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4 thoughts on “Mill Creek Musings: Sitting on the Moon (1936)

  1. I’m a sucker for a sickeningly-cute romance between two people who really dig being with each other, so this sounds right up my alley. But I’m curious…did the film suddenly cut short at the end…there was no wrap-up or ‘The End’ seen? Or could you see obvious jump cuts throughout the film, as if someone had gone splice-happy with it?

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    1. I don’t remember any super-obvious cuts, but then again I watched it two weeks ago, so I could have just forgotten them haha. The ending wasn’t abrupt, though, so I assume a couple of scenes were sliced from the middle.

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