Cast & Crew
When Curly Flagg, a dancer at the Philadelphia Hilarity Club, witnesses a murder during her act, she flees with her last dime to Princeton University, where composer and pre-medical student Paul Lawton agrees to hide her in the dorm room of his friend, Buzz Jones. First, however, Paul must transform Curly into a boy as no girls are allowed in the boys's dorm, and so he cuts her hair and gives her a suit. Meanwhile, Curly's picture is all over the newspapers as an escaped witness to a murder. Paul wires his uncle Charles in Detroit to find Curly a job, but the uncle, furious that his nephew is mixed up with a chorus girl, wires Dean Mercer and scolds him about Princeton's loose moral code. Buzz, meanwhile, visits his father, J. Thorval Jones, owner of Supersound Pictures, Inc., to find work for Curly, and Jones's press agent, Gus McNeal, convinces him to capitalize on Curly's publicity and make her the star of their ailing picture Love for Beginners . Paul, meanwhile, has written to his fiancée, Frances Arbuthnot, asking for her help, but she is convinced Paul has betrayed her. Paul's bootlegger, who has seen Curly, reports to his boss, who was behind the killing in the club, and the boss hires the murderer to kill Curly. Paul's uncle warns him about his wire to the dean, and Paul visits the Mercers and meets the dean's daughter Midge, a singer who admires Paul's music. After singing together, Midge agrees to dispose of the telegram from Paul's uncle if she can meet Curly. The dean enters, however, and tells Paul he heard the message over the phone already and would like to see Paul tomorrow. Gus then arrives and hires Curly for his picture and prepares publicity shots. Midge then arrives and Paul sings a song he composed for her and confesses his love. When Frances and her mother arrive, Midge assumes Frances is Curly and walks out. While Mrs. Arbuthnot and Paul go out for a walk, the killer attacks Frances and nearly abducts her but, hearing Gus's camera click, assumes it is gunfire and escapes to Buzz's room, where he finds Curly. When Paul returns, Frances accuses him of hiring a murderer to kill her, and they break their engagement. Curly then signals for Paul's help and Paul knocks out the killer. Then Gus and the dean enter and Paul knocks them out, too. Realizing what he has done, Paul resigns from school via a letter and says goodbye to Midge over the phone. While the dean and the killer remain tied up on Buzz's couch, Gus and reporters interview Curly about her dormitory exploits and photograph her first in men's underwear and then embracing the dean in her skimpy nightclub outfit. The killer, Gus and Curly all end up in jail, and the dean's compromising photo is published in the paper. Buzz and Paul are suspended from school a few days before graduation. Gus and Buzz's father then wage a propaganda campaign to save the boys' reputations while at the same time promoting their film. After the boys of Princeton demonstrate for Buzz and Paul, Dean Mercer reinstates them. As Curly, now a star, drives down from New York to thank "her boys" and to pose for one last photo opportunity, Midge is reconciled with Paul.
Maude Turner Gordon
Harold C. Lewis
While filming this picture, the spirit gum holding Bing Crosby's ears back failed; he insisted on completing the film with his ears out, and never used the gum again.
Howard Lindsay's play, which was in its forty-seventh week on Broadway when this film was reviewed by Variety on September 11, 1934, ran a total of 367 performances. The Hollywood Reporter review states that Benjamin Glazer was "entirely faithful" to the play in his adaptation. This film was listed in Motion Picture Almanac as a "champion" of August 1934 and of the calendar year 1934. "Love in Bloom" was Tin Pan Alley's number one song at the time of the picture's release, and Crosby recorded a best-selling album featuring it. Schwartz and Heyman did not receive credit on the film for their song, however. "Love in Bloom" became the theme song of Jack Benny's radio program. The Hollywood Reporter review states, "Kitty Carlisle as the Dean's daughter is really something that Paramount should eventually do something about in a big way. The gal now shows that she has a good comedy sense besides a figure that's something to write home about, an interesting face and a personality that has that something it's hard to describe." A modern source credits A. E. Freudeman with sets and Edith Head with costumes. Ralph Rainger and Leo Robin's song "Love in Bloom" was nominated for an Academy Award. This film was remade by Paramount in 1942 as True to the Army, directed by Albert Rogell and starring Judy Canova, Allan Jones and Ann Miller. In 1955, 20th Century-Fox made a film version of Lindsay's play called How to Be Very, Very Popular, directed by Nunnally Johnson and starring Betty Grable, Sheree North and Robert Cummings. Judy Holliday made her television debut as Curly Flagg in a Ford Theatre production of She Loves Me Not directed by Marc Daniels, which aired on CBS in 1949.