Anything Goes (1936 film)

Anything Goes

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Lewis Milestone
Produced by Benjamin Glazer
Screenplay by
Based on Anything Goes
by Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse
Music by Cole Porter
Cinematography Karl Struss
Edited by Eda Warren
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • January 24, 1936 (1936-01-24) (USA)
Running time
92 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Anything Goes is a 1936 American musical film directed by Lewis Milestone and starring Bing Crosby, Ethel Merman, Charles Ruggles, and Ida Lupino.[1] Based on the stage musical Anything Goes by Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse, the stage version contains songs by Cole Porter. The film is about a young man who falls in love with a beautiful woman whom he follows onto a luxury liner, where he discovers she is an English heiress who ran away from home and is now being returned to England. He also discovers that his boss is on the ship. To avoid discovery, he disguises himself as the gangster accomplice of a minister, who is actually a gangster on the run from the law. The film required revisions of Porter's saucy lyrics to pass Production Code censors. Only four of his songs remained: "Anything Goes", "I Get a Kick Out of You", "There'll Always Be a Lady Fair", and "You're the Top". "You're the Top" contained substantially revised lyrics, and only the first verse (sung by Ethel Merman during the opening credits) was retained from the song "Anything Goes".

Bing Crosby's influence was used to gut most of Porter's score and obtain four new songs from several new songwriters, Richard A. Whiting, Hoagy Carmichael, Leo Robin, Edward Heyman, and Friedrich Hollander, but other than "Moonburn", written by Hoagy Carmichael and Edward Heyman, which temporarily became a hit for Crosby, it is usually agreed that most of the replacement score was forgettable. Some, including movie musical expert John Springer, have criticized Paramount for substituting new songs by other composers for the originals. (This was a common policy in Hollywood during the 1930s, when film studios owned music publishing houses and hoped that songs written especially for films would guarantee extra profits for the studio.)

When Paramount sold the 1936 film to television, they retitled the movie Tops is the Limit because the 1956 film version, also from Paramount, was currently in theaters.



Crosby recorded three of the new songs for Decca Records.[3] and they were also included in the Bing's Hollywood series.


The New York Times - "Paramount uncorked its pent-up version of Anything Goes at the Paramount Theatre yesterday and instead of an exuberant pop and a merry fizz, there was merely a gentle sigh...Bing Crosby is an acceptable substitute for the show’s William Gaxton in almost every subdivision except that in which he joins Miss Merman in “You’re The Top”. It doesn’t seem possible but Mr. Crosby croons it."[4]

Variety - "Cole Porter’s lyrics, which were the original essence and chief asset of the original stage ‘Anything Goes,’ have been sacrificed for and replaced by plot motion in this Paramount film adaptation...Ethel Merman comes from the original cast and her job in the picture equals her job in the stage version, which means aces. Crosby in the Billy Gaxton juve lead makes it more important than the latter did, because of the extra territory taken in by his singing...As directed by Lewis Milestone everything moves along swiftly. On the whole, as screen entertainment and as musical adaptation, Par’s ‘Goes’ will do." [5]


  1. "Anything Goes". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
  2. "Full cast and crew for Anything Goes". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
  3. "A Bing Crosby Discography". A Bing Crosby Discography. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  4. "The New York Times". February 6, 1936.
  5. "Variety". February 12, 1936.

External links

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