AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Big Pond
Alternate Title: La grande mare
Director: Hobart Henley (Dir)
Release Date:   3 May 1930
Duration (in mins):   78
Duration (in feet):   6,984
Duration (in reels):   8
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Cast:   Maurice Chevalier (Pierre Mirande)  
    Claudette Colbert (Barbara Billings)  
    George Barbier (Mr. Billings)  
    Marion Ballou (Mrs. Billings)  
    Andrée Corday (Toinette)  
    Frank Lyon (Ronnie)  
    Nat Pendleton (Pat O'Day)  
    Elaine Koch (Jennie)  

Summary: Pierre Mirande, son of an impoverished French family, makes a living by acting as guide to Mrs. Billings and her daughter, Barbara, tourists in Venice. Although Barbara falls in love with him, her suitor, Ronnie, and her father see him as a fortune-hunting foreigner, and accordingly offer him a job in Mr. Billings' chewing gum factory in New York. Forced to live in a dingy boardinghouse, Pierre is given the toughest work in the plant, but Barbara assures him that bluff and fast thinking are necessities in American business. With his humorous songs, he captivates his landlady, Toinette, and the maid, Jennie, but falls asleep on the night he is expected to attend Barbara's party. Wrongfully accused of spilling rum on some chewing gum samples, Pierre is discharged; he is later reinstated and promoted when he sells the idea of rum-flavored chewing gum with his own advertising lyrics. Insulted, Barbara plans to marry Ronnie, but Pierre kidnaps her aboard a speedboat. 

Production Company: Paramount Publix Corp.  
Distribution Company: Paramount Publix Corp.  
Director: Hobart Henley (Dir)
  Bertram Harrison (Stage dir)
Producer: Monta Bell (Prod)
Writer: Robert Presnell (Scen)
  Garrett Fort (Scen)
  Preston Sturges (Dial)
Photography: George Folsey (Cam)
Film Editor: Emma Hill (Film ed)
Music: John W. Green (Mus arr)
Sound: Ernest F. Zatorsky (Rec eng)
Country: United States
Language: English

Songs: "Livin' in the Sunlight, Lovin' in the Moonlight," music and lyrics by Al Lewis and Al Sherman; "This Is My Lucky Day," music and lyrics by Lew Brown, B. G. DeSylva and Ray Henderson; "Mia Cara" and "You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me," music and lyrics by Irving Kahal, Pierre Norman and Sammy Fain.
Composer: Lew Brown
  B. G. DeSylva
  Sammy Fain
  Ray Henderson
  Irving Kahal
  Al Lewis
  Pierre Norman
  Al Sherman
Source Text: Based on the play The Big Pond by George Middleton and A. E. Thomas (New York, 21 Aug 1928).
Authors: A. E. Thomas
  George Middleton

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Paramount Publix Corp. 6/5/1930 dd/mm/yyyy LP1278

Physical Properties: Sd: Movietone

Genre: Comedy-drama
Sub-Genre: with songs
Subjects (Major): Boardinghouses
  Business managers
  Chewing gum
  Fortune hunters
  Venice (Italy)

Note: A French-language version of The Big Pond , La grande mare (see entry below), was filmed simultaneously with the English version. Maurice Chevalier sang "You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me" and "Livin' in the Sunlight, Lovin' in the Moonlight" in both versions. Chevalier, Claudette Colbert and Andrée Corday were also in the French version of the film. Chevalier received a Best Actor Academy Award nomination for his collective work on this film and The Love Parade (see entry below). 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
EHW   24 May 1930   p. 35.
Film Daily   13 Apr 1930.   
New York Times   19 May 1930   p. 21.
Variety   21 May 1930   p. 25.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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