Reaching for the Moon (1930) A movieland curiosity! Irving Berlin's first Hollywood musical -- or it would have been, except United Artists deleted all but one of Berlin's musical numbers! That might've consigned this f... more »ilm to the realm of the forgettable, except for the exceptional cast: silent swashbuckler Douglas Fairbanks Sr., lovely Bebe Daniels, dependable Edward Everett Horton and, stealing the show in his film debut, Bing Crosby. Add to that mix Berlin's original story, laced with William Cameron Menzies' fantastic Art Deco sets, spiced with liberal doses of pre-Code innuendo, and stirred by director Edmund Goulding's liberated camera movement compared to the stagy talkies of the period, and what pours out is a bubbly comedy cocktail with one show-stopping musical number as the cherry. Financial tycoon Larry Day (Fairbanks) is a Wall Street wiz, but a dud at the arts of love. Falling head over heels for glamorous aviatrix Vivian Benton (Daniels), he follows her onto an ocean liner, even though she is going overseas to marry someone else. Struggling to woo her, Larry is coached by his valet (Horton). But Larry is wiped out by the market crash and devastated by Vivian's rejection of him. Will he regain his fortune and win his lady love? Find out in this delightful early sound treasure. 60 minutes.« less
Terry C. Rossen | Germantown, MD United States | 09/30/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This 1931 romantic comedy is top notch entertainment! It's only 62 minutes, but it is so well paced and totally envolving, you'll think the movie was 2+ hours and you will still hate to see it end!It has some of the best, CLASSIC 1920's dance scenes and CLASSIC 20's costumes. 1920's era film buffs should study this flick!For those of you out there thinking about a play to put on at the High School: this could be a real crowd pleaser and money maker!Here's a brief synopsis:It takes place right before the stock market crash. Doug is a tycoon, Larry Day. He has never been succesful in affairs of the heart. He's been a real dud.A beautiful girl comes into his office to talk to him about a problem. Doug can't solve the problem, but falls head-over-heels in love with this girl. He hears she's going to Europe by boat and chases after her. She's headed to Europe to get married. He boards the ship also and chases after her on board.Meanwhile the market crashes and he is wiped out.During a big scene, she embarrasses him while her friends hide in a life boat while he confesses his love to her. Later, after they marry, she helps him regain his wealth and status. ALSO: a young Edward Everet Horton plays a butler in this flick on board the ship. And you'll be surprised when Bing Crosby appears!! Now if this film were ever redone: could you imagine Jim Carey as Larry Day? Who would you elect to play the leads in this film?Enjoy!"
G. Shoemaker | Toledo, OH` | 03/18/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"While the previous entries acturately discuss the film itself, none mention the abysmal quality of the source material and/or the mastering of the DVD itself. Not only is the film tough to watch, Passport has added the words "Reaching for the Moon" in the right-hand conner of the frame which appears throughout the running time of the film. The viewer knows the title of the film. It's an annoyance for 72 minutes. Lastly, there are no chapter stops on the DVD. So if you stop the DVD prior to the movie's conclusion and your DVD player doesn't remember the location as mine doesn't, you must watch the whole film again or scan through the movie to the section you last watched. Also annoying. The only good thing going for this DVD is the price, the chance to see some incredible art deco sets, and Fairbanks in his first talkie, if you can manage to wade through the fuzzy, low contrast image."
Entertaining--but where's the restoration ???
Matthew G. Sherwin | last seen screaming at Amazon customer service | 11/16/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Reaching for the Moon is a good movie, but it could have been much, much better with some changes. Bebe Daniels does a great job in this film; but poor Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. just doesn't cut it--his higher-pitched voice simply doesn't match my expectations for a tough guy who could still do remarkable acrobatics at the age of 47! His character, a wealthy businessman, seems rather manic at times, too. The plot, however, moves along at a rather good pace and actually I was never bored--the film is entertaining despite the "so-so" quality of the print and the crackling sound in a few scenes which also detracts from the quality of the movie. On the bright side again, there's a great performance by Edward Everett Horton as Roger, the valet to the wealthy businessman in this story.
When the action begins, we quickly meet wealthy aviatrix Vivian Benton (Bebe Daniels) who is engaged to the somewhat stuffy Sir Horace Partington Chelmsford (Claud Allister); she's having a farewell sailing party with her female friends at a fancy hotel in New York. When she lays eyes on Wall Street tycoon Larry Day (Douglas Fairbanks) who is also at that same hotel for a dinner in his honor, Vivian wants to capture Larry and maybe even make him her own despite her engagement to Sir Horace. The next day she sails into Larry's office and although she doesn't make it too far initially, things do start to happen.
Larry, for all his financial success, knows next to nothing about women so his valet Roger (Edward Everett Horton) coaches him in some very funny scenes. Eventually Larry is so interested in running after Vivian that he hops the ship to England she's taking with her father and friends in an attempt to woo her.
The plot can go anywhere from here. No spoilers--watch and find out!
There are, however, a few things that I do want to point out to you--Bing Crosby makes his earliest released film appearance in Reaching for the Moon although he only sings one quick song about 46 minutes into the picture. This film was also one of the very last film performances for Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.; he didn't a smooth transfer from silent movies to "talkies" probably because of his voice and his age limiting him to fewer and fewer acrobatic stunts. In addition, it's interesting to see how the stock market crash of 1929 is initially referred to as a "panic;" it's only later in the film that we see just how bad the market crash really was.
Reaching for the Moon deserves a restoration; it's not that bad a film and even though the plot is somewhat thin it's entertaining. I recommend this movie for fans of the actors in it although the quality of the print and the sound is average at best. It's also an interesting movie for people who enjoy early "talkies.""
Dime Store Restoration for Million Dollar Film
Peter Mintun | New York, NY USA | 12/28/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Shame on PASSPORT VIDEO for this unenlightened packaging of a film that deserves better. Many of us waited patiently for the DVD release of REACHING FOR THE MOON. This glamorous film boasted some of the biggest film stars of the era (Bebe Daniels, Fairbanks, SR., Edward Everett Horton), and was co-written by America's greatest song writer, Irving Berlin. This film also represents the historic studio founded by Hollywood royalty (Pickford, Fairbanks, Sr., Chaplin and D.W. Griffith). The unique, modernistic set design was by the illustrious William Cameron Menzies. So considering all those important factors, it is a crime that PASSPORT VIDEO released this in such compromised condition. The audio and the video are both second rate. To further insult the educated film fans, the DVD claims to include the "original theatrical trailer." When this film was released, Bing Crosby originally had LAST BILLING on the credits. The trailer was obviously made several years later, when the Studio used Crosby's accumulated fame as an excuse to reissue the film!"
Bing Crosby's Solo Debut & one of Douglas Fairbanks' Few Sou
VideoQ | Massachusetts | 08/28/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Reaching for the Moon is a piece of Hollywood History because it contains one of Douglas Fairbanks's few sound films and it is the solo debut of Bing Crosby.
Fairbanks is a wizard of Wall Street who falls head over heels for aviatrix Bebe Daniels and chases after her on an ocean liner to England. Along for the ride is Edward Everett Horton who plays his butler/sidekick.
Irving Berlin wrote an original score and the screenplay. During production it was decided to scrap Berlin's score with only one song remaining, When the Folks High Up Do a Mean Low Down. Bing Crosby sang a chorus of it and then passed it over to Bebe Daniels and bit player June McCloy. At the time of the filming Crosby was appearing at the Cocoanut Grove at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles with his Rhythm Boy trio.
Bebe Daniels is pretty much forgotten today. But she was a beautiful woman and had a great singing voice."