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Heads Up (1930)



Complete credited cast:
Charles 'Buddy' Rogers ... Jack Mason (as Charles Rogers)
Helen Kane ... Betty Trumbull
Margaret Breen Margaret Breen ... Mary Trumbull
Victor Moore ... Skippy Dugan
Gene Gowing Gene Gowing ... Rex Cutting
Helen Carrington Helen Carrington ... Mrs. Martha Trumbull
Billy Taylor Billy Taylor ... Georgie
Charles Anthony Hughes Charles Anthony Hughes ... Larry White (as C. Anthony Hughes)
Harry Shannon ... Capt. Denny
John Hamilton ... Capt. Whitney
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Preston Foster ... Blake
Stanley Jessup Stanley Jessup ... Naval officer
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A Glorious Jamboree of Girls, Giggles and Gayety- a Boatload of Love, lyrics and Laughter! (Print Ad- Schenectady Gazette, ((Schenectady, NY)) 27 November 1930)


Comedy | Musical


Did You Know?


The original Broadway production of "Heads Up" opened at the Alvin Theatre on November 11, 1929 and ran for 144 performances. See more »


Readin', Ritin', Rhythm
Music by Victor Schertzinger
Lyrics by Don Hartman
See more »

User Reviews

Vastly underrated Rodgers & Hart curio
18 June 2006 | by escheticSee all my reviews

This interesting filming of an almost (now) forgotten Broadway musical is enormous fun for any serious student of 20's/30's Broadway and Hollywood and a classic example of how writers today frequently mislead by failure to understand the economics of earlier eras.

Another reviewer cavalierly refers to HEADS UP as "a Rodgers & Hart flop" when it was anything but. Racking up a respectable 144 performances despite opening less than two weeks after the Wall Street Crash of 1929 (following serious out-of-town problems and a major re-write between Detroit and Philadelphia while the Market was crashing), HEADS UP has not survived as one of the R&H classics, but clearly lives up to the original New York Times assessment of "a fairly lively diversion (with) new tunes worth a hearing." 8 of the 27 musicals that season ran longer., but only a couple of them got filmed without waiting close to a decade.

The 1929 hit song "A Ship Without A Sail" (one of two retained in their original form from the Broadway score by the "Hollywood know-it-alls) is intriguingly filmed to incorporate the sailor chorus which made the number on stage a fascinating attempt on Rodgers & Hart's part to duplicate the success of Jerome Kern's great male chorus "Some Girl Is On His Mind" in SWEET ADELINE, opening only a few weeks before (and inexplicably omitted when that show was filmed in 1935!).

"My Man Is On The Make" retains its fun as do most of the re-written musical numbers in the staging by George Hale, repeating his Broadway choreographic duties.

Only the great Victor Moore repeats his Broadway role of "Skippy Dugan," but with all too little Moore on film (his 1941 film transfer of Irving Berlin's LOUISIANNA PURCHASE with other members of the Broadway cast and Bob Hope in the William Gaxton role is a must-see) this record of much of Moore's early Broadway schtick is priceless. (It's also interesting to see the uneven makeup conventions of this transitional era in stage and film - with Moore's heavily pointed "comedian" lips among the rest of the more modern, naturalistic representations.)

Joining Moore are Broadway cast member John Hamilton, shifting over to play the smuggling captain, and the marvelous talents of Helen Kane (showing exactly why she was a Broadway comic star of the era) and Charles "Buddy" Rogers (three years after top billing the first Oscar winner, the silent film, WINGS).

For some reason, Rogers was not uniformly appreciated by the critics of 1930 for this musical, but his and Kane's comedic performances both play today as modern and fresh as any performance filmed in the LAST decade, even filtered through the early sound technology on display in HEADS UP which was so quickly outpaced by the rapidly improving technology of the next decade after musical was filmed.

With HEADS UP's Broadway book writer John McGowan joining Jack Kirkland in scripting the film, we have an unusually faithful picture of what a moderately successful Broadway musical of the era looked like - shorn of too much of its music but retaining the most successful tunes and comic "bits." It may not "wow" the dilettantes who don't think anything older than they are has value, but connoisseurs of our musical history shouldn't miss this one.

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Release Date:

11 October 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Ilha da Felicidade See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (MovieTone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

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