Children of Pleasure

Children of Pleasure

Directed by Harry Beaumont
Written by Richard Schayer
Crane Wilbur
Starring Lawrence Gray
Wynne Gibson
Cinematography Percy Hilburn
Technicolor sequences
Edited by Blanche Sewell
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
April 26, 1930 (1930-04-26)
Running time
70 minutes
Country United States
Language Sound All-Talking

Children of Pleasure is a 1930 American Pre-Code MGM musical comedy film directed by Harry Beaumont originally released with Technicolor sequences. It was adapted from Crane Wilbur's stage success of 1929 The Song Writer.


Danny, an acclaimed singer and songwriter, falls in love with a socialite girl who is just playing around. He doesn't realize that his girl-Friday is the one he really loves until it is almost too late. Although he is awestruck by high society, he overhears the girl's admission that she is stringing him along just in time to avoid marriage. Danny is notably Jewish, and among the issues the movie raises is his temptation to assimilate into the larger culture.

The film is an adaptation of a play that riffed on the real-life relationship between songwriter Irving Berlin and Long Island socialite Ellin Mackay, which was all over the gossip columns in the late 1920s. Mackay's millionaire father cut her off and did not speak to her for years because, after a long courtship, she married Berlin, who was Jewish. (Unlike the fickle debutante in the film, Mackay stayed with Berlin, and their marriage lasted over sixty years.)

The film is played against a theatrical backdrop, and contains many songs and production numbers.



The movie was originally premiered and released with Technicolor sequences in the summer of 1930.[1] One reviewer noted that "the revue scenes filmed in Technicolor being particularly lavish." [2] These color sequences were later replaced with a black-and-white version that had been filmed simultaneously because the backlash against musicals (which occurred in the autumn of 1930) made the expense of printing color prints superfluous and frivolous. Only this black-and-white general release version currently exists. The same fate was shared by another of MGM's major musicals, Cecil B. DeMille's Madam Satan which was released during the same time period. A segment of one of the Technicolor sequences survives in an MGM short subject in color titled Roast Beef and Movies (1934).


Lawrence Gray recorded two of his songs from the picture for Brunswick Records. His rendition of the songs Leave It That Way and The Whole Darned Thing's For You were released on Brunswick's popular ten inch series on record number 4775.

See also


  1. Several film reviewers refer to these Technicolor sequences. e.g., Berkeley Daily Gazette - Jul 10, 1930 - Page 14,737346&dq=children-of-pleasure&hl=en ; Times Daily - May 28, 1930 - Page 20,7005754&dq=children-of-pleasure+technicolor&hl=en
  2. The Hartford Courant, Jun 8, 1930, Page D3

External links

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