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Anything Goes

Anything Goes(1956)

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Anything Goes marked Bing Crosby's final film for Paramount Pictures, the studio at which he had been under contract for twenty-two years. According to modern sources, Paramount, faced with competition from television, decided to drop their high-priced contract players and opted to sign their stars on a picture-by-picture basis. Prior to Anything Goes, Crosby and Donald O'Connor had appeared together in the 1938 Paramount film Sing You Sinners (see entry in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40). O'Connor and Mitzi Gaynor appeared together in the 1954 Twentieth Century-Fox film There's No Business Like Show Business . According to Daily Variety, Anything Goes was Gaynor's first film after the conclusion of her contract with Twentieth Century-Fox.
       Anything Goes also marked the feature length film directorial debut of Robert Lewis, although he had directed one segment of the 1946 M-G-M picture Ziegfeld Follies (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films; 1941-50) and served as a dialogue director for Twentieth Century-Fox in the early 1940s. French ballerina Jeanmaire and choreographer Roland Petit were married in Paris just prior to working together on this film, according to Hollywood Reporter. In April 1955, Hollywood Reporter mistakenly reported that Phil Harris had been cast in Anything Goes in the role of Crosby's Broadway producer. That role was performed by Kurt Kasznar; Harris appeared as Gaynor's father, "Steve Blair."
       A January 1954 Daily Variety news item states that Edmund Hartmann was originally slated to write the screenplay for Anything Goes. It has not been determined, however, if Hartmann actually worked on the film or made any contribution to the script's final construction. According to information found in the file on the film at the AMPAS Library, in May 1955, writer Sidney Sheldon contested the "screenplay by" credit he was tentatively set to receive from Paramount. On June 17, 1955, Paramount agreed to the writer's request for an additional "screen story" credit as well. Hollywood Reporter news items include Paul De Rolf, Fran Lansing, Johnstone White, Dennis Habicht, Gary Hunley, Terry Ragno, Connie Bowden, Nancy De Carl, Vivien Price, Cathy Bisutti, Michelle DuCasse, Patty Gerrity, Donna Bowden, Judy Lee Hunley, Billy Street and Nick Castle, Jr. in the cast, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed.
       Crosby had also starred in Paramount's 1936 adaptation of the musical play Anything Goes, directed by Lewis Milestone and co-starring Ethel Merman, who had appeared in the original Broadway production. For a detailed history on the authorship of the play, please see the entry for the 1936 picture in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40. There were also two television adaptations of the play Anything Goes: in October 1950, NBC produced a version for its Musical Comedy Time program, starring Martha Raye and John Conte, and directed by Richard H. Berger; then, in March 1954, Ethel Merman reprised her Broadway role for The Colgate Comedy Hour, with Frank Sinatra and Bert Lahr performing the roles originated on the New York stage by William Gaxton and Victor Moore.