Milky Way

Milky Way

Director: Leo McCarey

Cast: Harold Lloyd, Adolphe Menjou, Veree Teasdale

     
 

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One of the funniest, most sharply paced comedies of the 1930s, and perhaps the best of all of Harold Lloyd's talkies, The Milky Way was based on the Broadway play by Lynn Root and Harry Clork. Lloyd plays Burleigh Sullivan, a mild-mannered milkman who intercedes one night when his sister Mae (Helen Mack) is being accosted on the street by two obnoxious drunks -See more details below

Overview

One of the funniest, most sharply paced comedies of the 1930s, and perhaps the best of all of Harold Lloyd's talkies, The Milky Way was based on the Broadway play by Lynn Root and Harry Clork. Lloyd plays Burleigh Sullivan, a mild-mannered milkman who intercedes one night when his sister Mae (Helen Mack) is being accosted on the street by two obnoxious drunks -- they turn their wrath on him, his sister runs for help, and when she returns less than a minute later, both men are out cold on the pavement, with Burleigh standing over them. As one of them, Speed MacFarland (William Gargan), is the world's middleweight boxing champion, and the other, Spider Schultz (Lionel Stander), is his sparring partner, Burleigh makes the front page of every newspaper in New York. McFarland's manager, Gabby Sloan (Adolphe Menjou), has to figure out how to salvage the champ's career, but first he has to figure out exactly what happened, since both fighters were too drunk to remember anything about it. It turns out that Sullivan couldn't beat an egg, but he is good at one thing -- ducking. He can dodge any punch, and the two fighters knocked each other out in the process of trying to pummel him. What's more, on hearing this, they're so angry that Schultz accidentally knocks MacFarland out again, just ahead of the press' arrival, and the little milkman is given credit once more by the reporters for decking the champ. Burleigh loves the attention, even though he never claims to have hit anyone. Meanwhile, Sloan comes up with a way of salvaging his fighter's career, and convinces Burleigh to go along with it for a promised cash sum -- all Burleigh has to do is get in the ring in six fights, to build up his standing and reputation, and finish his "career" in a fight with MacFarland, who will win. In the meantime, complications arise when MacFarland falls in love with Burleigh's sister, while Burleigh himself meets and falls in love with Polly Pringle (Dorothy Wilson), a helpful neighbor. Gabby, Spider, and Speed also discover that turning tiny, wiry Burleigh Sullivan into something that even looks like a fighter is easier said than done -- all of his fights have to be fixed (and then some) behind his back to make his victories look remotely genuine. Finally, after starting to believe his own publicity, and then discovering that the fights were fixed, Burleigh goes through with the final match-up against MacFarland, the culmination of a comedy of errors involving horses, foals, and a wild chase to the arena.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Directed by Leo McCarey and produced by and starring Harold Lloyd, The Milky Way is one of the most finely etched and precisely paced comedic romps ever to grace the screen, and a dazzling showcase not only for Lloyd, but also for the entire cast. Naturally, he is the star and the main spark plug for the film, but Veree Teasdale as Ann Westly, Gabby Sloan's smart, long-suffering fiancée, steals most of the scenes that she's in with a wisecracking gem of a performance, like Eve Arden with a sharper edge; Adolphe Menjou's Gabby Sloan is a manic whirlwind of neurotic tics and apoplexy-in-the-making; William Gargan and Lionel Stander as the middle-weight champion and his stooge make a boundlessly funny dumb-and-dumber duo (Stander was so good in the part of the stooge that he repeated it in the Danny Kaye remake The Kid From Brooklyn a decade later); finally, Helen Mack and Dorothy Wilson are refreshing and delightful as two young women who are smarter than most of the men around them and not afraid to show it. The screenplay, by Frank R. Butler, Richard Connell, and Grover Jones, is a marvel of verbal and physical humor in perfect balance, while McCarey pulls it all together seamlessly as a vehicle for Lloyd's eager-beaver, go-getter screen persona. The first time he saw it, this reviewer almost hurt himself laughing at the scene where Lloyd's Burleigh Sullivan explains how the champion came to be knocked out, and most of the movie is just a few notches off from that sequence. The Milky Way wasn't a huge success when it was originally released, but over six decades it has retained its comedic edge and its charm where many other celebrated comedies of the period have faded -- and today, along with The Freshman, Safety Last, and Mad Wednesday, it's essential viewing for anyone who wants to appreciate Harold Lloyd's work, and for any fan of classic screen comedy.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/22/2004
UPC:
0089218443090
Original Release:
1936
Rating:
NR
Source:
Alpha Video
Presentation:
[B&W]
Time:
1:28:00
Sales rank:
63,048

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Harold Lloyd Burleigh "Tiger" Sullivan
Adolphe Menjou Gabby Sloan
Veree Teasdale Ann Westley
Helen Mack Mae Sullivan
William Gargan Elwood "Speed" MacFarland
George Barbier Wilbur Austin
Dorothy Wilson Polly Pringle
Lionel Stander Spider Schultz
Charles Lane Willard, reporter
Marjorie Gateson Mrs. E. Winthrop Lemoyne
Bull Anderson Oblitsky
Jim Marples O'Rourke
Larry McGrath Referee
Bonita Landlady
A.S. Byron Cop
Earl Pingree Policeman
Mel Ruick Austin's Secretary
Murray Alper 2nd Taxi Driver
Gertrude Astor Woman
Jay Belasco Man in car
Harry Bernard Cop-Tenant
Harry Bowen Bartender
Bob Callahan Onion
Leonard Carey Butler
Jack Clifford Announcer, Todd fight
Morrie Cohan Referee, Polo Grounds
Ray Cooper Man
Thomas Curran Man
Eddie Dunn Barber
James Farley Fight Promoter
James Ford Extras at Fight
Charles French Guest at Mrs. LeMoyne's
Ethel May Halls Woman
Tom Hanlon La Grue Fight Announcer
Sam Hayes Radio announcer, Polo Grounds
Wally Howe Dr. O.O. White, vet
Lloyd Ingraham Barber Shop Customer
Gus Leonard Musician in Band, Title Fight
Charles McMurphy Cop
Frank Mills Extra at Todd fight
Bruce Mitchell Todd Fight Extras
Jack Murphy Newsboy
Harry Myers Photographer at apartment
Broderick O'Farrell Extra at fight
Paddy O'Flynn Reporter
Jack Perry "Tornado" Todd
Victor Potel Man
Anthony Quinn Extra
Henry Roquemore Doctor
Antrim Short Photographer
Oscar Smith Barber Shop Porter
Milburn Stone Reporter
Phil Tead Radio announcer, Todd fight
Dan Tobey Announcer, Polo Grounds
Eddie Fetherstone Cameraman

Technical Credits
Leo McCarey Director
Max Asher Makeup
Frank R. Butler Screenwriter
Richard Connell Screenwriter
Hans Dreier Art Director
A.E. Freudeman Set Decoration/Design
Alfred Gilks Cinematographer
Earl S. Hayman Sound/Sound Designer
Bernard Herzbrun Art Director
Grover Jones Screenwriter
Harry Scott Asst. Director
E. Lloyd Sheldon Producer
LeRoy Stone Editor
Wally Westmore Makeup
Adolph Zukor Producer

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Chapter 1 [9:53]
2. Chapter 2 [14:23]
3. Chapter 3 [13:40]
4. Chapter 4 [14:34]
5. Chapter 5 [14:01]
6. Chapter 6 [20:51]

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