Sunny (1941 film)

Last updated
Sunny (1941 film) poster 1.jpg
Directed by Herbert Wilcox
Produced byMerrill G. White (associate producer)
Herbert Wilcox (producer)
Written by Oscar Hammerstein II (play)
Otto A. Harbach (play)
Sig Herzig
StarringSee below
Music by Anthony Collins
Cinematography Russell Metty
Edited by Elmo Williams
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures
Release date
May 30, 1941 [1]
Running time
98 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$676,000 [2]
Box office$1,096,000 [2]
Paul Hartman, Anna Neagle & Ray Bolger Sunny (1941 film) still 1.jpg
Paul Hartman, Anna Neagle & Ray Bolger

Sunny is a 1941 American musical film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Anna Neagle, Ray Bolger, John Carroll, Edward Everett Horton, Grace Hartman, Paul Hartman, Frieda Inescort, and Helen Westley. It was adapted by Sig Herzig from the Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein II musical play Sunny .


It is the second film version of the musical; the first was Sunny made in 1930.


During the Mardi Gras festivities, Larry Warren, a member of a wealthy New Orleans family, meets equestrian and dancer Sunny O’Sullivan. The queen of hearts, who is out and about with her entourage in the festive turmoil, commands both of them to hug and kiss. When Sunny disappears into the darkness of the night after this hug, Larry, lost in thought, enters a circus that is located at the place where he met Sunny, still in the spirit of the young woman who has bewitched him. At the circus he unexpectedly meets his sister Elizabeth, the family lawyer Henry Bates and Juliet Runnymeade, a circus debutante with whom a circus actor does all sorts of mischief. To his great surprise and delight, he also sees Sunny dancing on stage with a partner and cannot have a bouquet of flowers sent to her quickly enough. After the show he tries to get in touch with Sunny to meet her. However, due to a misunderstanding, things turn out differently and instead of Larry, Sunny is out with her old friend and stage partner Bunny Billings.

By chance, Sunny and Larry meet again in the restaurant where Sunny is with Bunny and another friend. Larry steers the young woman away from her friends, and together they go on a tour of the city. When the night ends, they are both hopelessly in love and Larry proposes to Sunny.

After Sunny has said goodbye to her friends at the circus, Larry wants to introduce her to his aunt Barbara, who has been criticized as very harshly, as well as the rest of his family at the ancestral home of Waverly Hall. At the reception that takes place in the evening, Sunny is snubbed by Larry's sister Elizabeth and his aunt Barbara in such a way that she wants to leave the reception prematurely and deeply hurt, but meets Aunt Barbara and can talk to the outwardly tough woman.

On the day of the wedding, everything of name and standing is gathered in Waverly Hall. But then Bunny and the circus people arrive, who want to surprise Sunny. Elizabeth sees this as a good opportunity to humiliate Sunny again and to ask the circus troupe to show what they can do before the wedding ceremony. When these, encouraged by Juliet and her partner Egghead, begin to entertain, Larry expels the circus troupe from the house. Sunny is so stunned by such behavior from her future husband that she joins her guests and leaves the property with them.

On the premiere evening of the new circus show with Sunny in the center, the performance is completely sold out. When Sunny takes the stage, she discovers that Larry, who bought all the tickets, is the only guest. Angry and disappointed, she storms off the stage and locks herself in her trailer. Larry then puts it on a trailer of his car and drags the trailer and Sunny to a waiting riverboat. Sunny steals on deck after a while. When Larry doesn't find her in the trailer, but instead finds her fur and a shoe on the railing, he thinks she jumped overboard and jumps into the raging water to save her. Sunny is very afraid for him, but also realizes how much he loves her. As soon as Larry is safe, they both embrace.




The film made a profit of $7,000. [2]

Awards and honors

YearAwardCategoryRecipient(s) and nominee(s)Result
1942 Academy Awards Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture Anthony Collins Nominated

Related Research Articles

Jerome Kern American composer

Jerome David Kern was an American composer of musical theatre and popular music. One of the most important American theatre composers of the early 20th century, he wrote more than 700 songs, used in over 100 stage works, including such classics as "Ol' Man River", "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man", "A Fine Romance", "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes", "The Song Is You", "All the Things You Are", "The Way You Look Tonight" and "Long Ago ". He collaborated with many of the leading librettists and lyricists of his era, including George Grossmith Jr., Guy Bolton, P. G. Wodehouse, Otto Harbach, Oscar Hammerstein II, Dorothy Fields, Johnny Mercer, Ira Gershwin and Yip Harburg.

Oscar Hammerstein II

Oscar Greeley Clendenning Hammerstein II was an American lyricist, librettist, theatrical producer, and director in the musical theater for almost 40 years. He won eight Tony Awards and two Academy Awards for Best Original Song. Many of his songs are standard repertoire for vocalists and jazz musicians. He co-wrote 850 songs.

Otto Harbach

Otto Abels Harbach, born Otto Abels Hauerbach was an American lyricist and librettist of about 50 musical comedies. He was Oscar Hammerstein II's mentor and believed that librettists should integrate songs into the plot. He is considered one of the first great lyricists, and helped raise the status of the lyricist in an age concerned more with music, costumes, and stars. Some of his more famous lyrics are for "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes", "Indian Love Call" and "Cuddle up a Little Closer, Lovey Mine".

Vincent Youmans American composer

Vincent Millie Youmans was an American Broadway composer and producer.

<i>Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Jerome Kern Song Book</i> 1963 studio album by Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Jerome Kern Song Book is a 1963 studio album by the American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald accompanied by an orchestra arranged and conducted by Nelson Riddle. The album focuses on the songs of the composer Jerome Kern.

<i>Deep in My Heart</i> (1954 film)

Deep in My Heart is a 1954 MGM biographical musical film about the life of operetta composer Sigmund Romberg, who wrote the music for The Student Prince, The Desert Song, and The New Moon, among others. Leonard Spigelgass adapted the film from Elliott Arnold's 1949 biography of the same name. Roger Edens produced, Stanley Donen directed and Eugene Loring choreographed. José Ferrer played Romberg, with support from soprano Helen Traubel as a fictional character and Merle Oberon as actress, playwright, librettist, producer, and director Dorothy Donnelly.

<i>Never Gonna Dance</i>

Never Gonna Dance is a Broadway musical featuring the music of Jerome Kern. The musical was based on the 1936 Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers film Swing Time. Lyricists include Oscar Hammerstein, Ira Gershwin, P. G. Wodehouse, Bernard Dougall, Johnny Mercer, Jimmy McHugh, Otto Harbach, and Dorothy Fields.

Sunny is a musical with music by Jerome Kern and a libretto by Oscar Hammerstein II and Otto Harbach. The plot involves Sunny, the star of a circus act, who falls for a rich playboy but comes in conflict with his snooty family. This show was the follow-up to the 1920 hit musical Sally, both starring Marilyn Miller in the title roles, and it was Kern's first musical together with Hammerstein. Sunny also became a hit, with its original Broadway production in 1925 running for 517 performances. The London production starred Binnie Hale.

"I Won't Dance" is a jazz standard song with music by Jerome Kern, that has had two different sets of lyrics, the first written by Oscar Hammerstein II and Otto Harbach in 1934, the second written by Dorothy Fields in 1935. The two sets of lyrics share little but the common refrain of "I won't dance". The second set of lyrics is the much better known one, and the song in this form has been covered by many artists.

Who? (song)

"Who?" (1925) is a popular song written for the Broadway musical Sunny by Jerome Kern, Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II. The song was also featured in the film version of Sunny (1930) starring Marilyn Miller.

<i>Lovely to Look At</i> 1952 MGM musical film directed by Mervyn LeRoy

Lovely to Look At is a 1952 American MGM musical film adaptation of the Broadway musical Roberta, directed by Mervyn LeRoy.

<i>Oscar Peterson Plays the Jerome Kern Songbook</i> 1960 studio album by Oscar Peterson

Oscar Peterson Plays the Jerome Kern Songbook is a 1959 album by Oscar Peterson, of compositions by Jerome Kern.

<i>An Evening with Billie Holiday</i>

An Evening with Billie Holiday is the second 10-inch LP studio album by jazz singer Billie Holiday, released by Clef Records in 1953.

<i>Margaret Whiting Sings the Jerome Kern Songbook</i> 1960 studio album by Margaret Whiting

Margaret Whiting Sings the Jerome Kern Songbook is a 1960 studio album by Margaret Whiting, with an orchestra conducted and arranged by Russell Garcia, focusing on the songs of Jerome Kern. Originally released as a double-LP set by Verve Records in 1960, it was reissued on CD by Universal in Japan and the United States (2002).

<i>West Coast Live</i> (album) 1997 live album by Chet Baker & Stan Getz

West Coast Live is a live album by trumpeter Chet Baker and saxophonist Stan Getz which was recorded in California in 1953 but not released until 1997, on the Pacific Jazz label.

<i>The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern</i> 2015 studio album by Tony Bennett and Bill Charlap

The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern is a studio album by Tony Bennett and Bill Charlap, released by RPM/Columbia on September 25, 2015. The album includes covers of 14 songs composed by Jerome Kern, featuring Bill Charlap on piano, Peter Washington on bass, Kenny Washington on drums, and special guest, pianist Renee Rosnes on four two-piano tracks.

<i>A Perfect Match</i> (George Shearing and Ernestine Anderson album) 1988 studio album by George Shearing and Ernestine Anderson

A Perfect Match is a 1988 album by jazz pianist George Shearing and the singer Ernestine Anderson. The pair had previously appeared together on Shearing's 1988 live album Dexterity.

<i>Shining Hour</i> 1990 studio album by Larry Coryell

Shining Hour is an album by guitarist Larry Coryell which was recorded in 1989 and released on the Muse label.

<i>Sure Thing: The Jerome Kern Songbook</i> 1994 studio album by André Previn and Sylvia McNair

Sure Thing: The Jerome Kern Songbook is a 1994 album by André Previn and Sylvia McNair of songs by the composer Jerome Kern.


  1. "Sunny: Detail View". American Film Institute. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
  2. 1 2 3 Richard Jewel, 'RKO Film Grosses: 1931-1951', Historical Journal of Film Radio and Television, Vol 14 No 1, 1994 p56