AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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My Lucky Star
Alternate Title: They Met in College
Director: Roy Del Ruth (Dir)
Release Date:   2 Sep 1938
Production Date:   25 Apr--1 Jul 1938
Duration (in mins):   81 or 84
Duration (in feet):   7,574
Duration (in reels):   10
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Cast:   Sonja Henie (Kristina Nielson)  
    Richard Greene (Larry Taylor)  
    Joan Davis (Mary Dwight)  
    Cesar Romero (George Cabot, Jr.)  
    Buddy Ebsen (Buddy)  
    Arthur Treacher (Whipple)  
    George Barbier (George Cabot, Sr.)  
    Louise Hovick (Marcelle [La Verne])  
    Billy Gilbert (Nick)  
    Patricia Wilder (Dorothy)  
    Paul Hurst (Louie)  
    Elisha Cook Jr. (Waldo)  
    Robert Kellard (Pennell)  
    Brewster Twins (June and Jean)  
    Kay Griffith (Ethel)  
    Charles Tannen (Saier)  
    Paul Stanton (Dean Reed)  
    Ed Le Saint (Executive)  
    Frederick Burton (Pilsbury)  
    Frank Jaquet (Burton)  
    Sumner Getchell (Fat freshman)  
    John Dilson (Department head)  
    Cully Richards (Photographer)  
    Matt McHugh (Cab driver)  
    Dora Clemant (Secretary)  
    June Gale (Secretary)  
    Arthur Rankin (Cameraman)  
    Harold Goodwin (Cameraman)  
    Fred Kelsey (Detective)  
    Eddy Conrad (Gypsy)  
    Arthur Jarrett Jr.    
  Alice in Wonderland ballet: Bert Clark (White Rabbit)  
    Jack Heasley (Tweedledee)  
    Bob Heasley (Tweedledum)  

Summary: When George Cabot, Sr., owner of Cabots Fifth Avenue department store, learns that his son, George, Jr., has eloped with cabaret performer Marcelle La Verne, and that Marcelle's lawyer wants a cash settlement to end the marriage, he threatens to have bodyguards take his son to his Oklahoma ranch. George escapes down the department store's fire escape and sees through a window Kristina Nielson, an employee, ice-skating on the store's rink. After George slips on the ice, Kristina helps him to his apartment, where Marcelle sees them and endeavors to get Kristina's name as a co-respondent. A fortune-teller then suggests that George get Kristina to leave New York, and he convinces his father and the board of directors to send Kristina to Plymouth University as a student with a multitude of winter outfits to encourage the girls to shop at Cabots. Kristina agrees, but at the college, she makes an enemy of Dorothy, one of her roommates, because of the interest Kristina shows in Larry Taylor, Dorothy's beau. Dorothy then borrows Kristina's clothes and has the boys wear them during a tryout for the winter ice carnival, during which they sing an insulting song about Kristina. After Larry convinces Kristina not to leave, she ice-skates and wins the students' respect and affection. Her talent is the subject of a Life magazine cover story, which Marcelle sees. After Marcelle names Kristina in the divorce suit, the college dean suspends her. Larry and Kristina find Marcelle in New York, and sympathizing with Kristina, whom she is convinced is innocent, Marcelle says that if George will pay her $50,000 in cash, she will tell the newspapers that Kristina is innocent. George cannot pay, but when Larry suggests that he combine the ice carnival with a fashion show at the department store, George, whose father is in Havana, arranges it. The carnival is a great success, Cabot, Sr. returns and gives his son a bonus to pay Marcelle, and Kristina returns with Larry to P.U. 

Production Company: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.  
Production Text: Darryl F. Zanuck in charge of production
Distribution Company: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.  
Director: Roy Del Ruth (Dir)
  Booth McCracken (Asst dir)
Producer: Harry Joe Brown (Assoc prod)
Writer: Harry Tugend (Scr)
  Jack Yellen (Scr)
  Karl Tunberg (Story)
  Don Ettlinger (Story)
Photography: John Mescall (Photog)
Art Direction: Bernard Herzbrun (Art dir)
  Mark-Lee Kirk (Art dir)
Film Editor: Allen McNeil (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Thomas Little (Set dec)
Costumes: Royer (Cost)
Music: Louis Silvers (Mus dir)
Sound: Eugene Grossman (Sd)
  Roger Heman (Sd)
Dance: Harry Losee (Skating ensembles staged by)
Country: United States

Songs: "By a Wishing Well," "Could You Pass in Love," "This May Be the Night," "I've Got a Date with a Dream," "Classy Clothes Chris," "Plymouth Rock," "Marching Along," "Plymouth Farewell Song," music and lyrics by Mack Gordon and Harry Revel.
Composer: Mack Gordon
  Harry Revel

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. 2/9/1938 dd/mm/yyyy LP8520

PCA NO: 4279
Physical Properties: b&w with col seq: b&w with sepia seq
  Sd: Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording

Genre: Musical comedy
Sub-Genre: College
Subjects (Major): Clothes
  College life
  Department stores
  Fashion shows
  Ice skaters and ice skating
Subjects (Minor): Cabaret performers
  Department store owners
  Fathers and sons
  Life (Magazine)
  Norwegian Americans

Note: The working title of this film was They Met in College . This was Norwegian ice-skating Olympic champion Sonja Henie's fourth film. In 1938, she was ranked third biggest money-making star in an MPH poll of exhibitors. The film was 90 minutes at its preview in Westwood on 26 Aug 1938. Var noted that the closing "Alice in Wonderland" number was "done in sepia and very effective." The name of the character played by Joan Davis was "Mary Dwight" in the film, but "Mary Boop" in trade advertising billing sheets and reviews. Davis suffered a sprain of her back muscles while trying to lift Buddy Ebsen during a rehearsal and was hospitalized for three weeks, according to publicity for the film. To follow Sonja Henie as she skated in the rink, an apparatus was built containing a camera platform with metal sled runners attached to a metal stake driven into the center of the rink, which measured 100 by 145 feet, and had been used in all of Henie's films. During the production, the brace supporting the platform, which held two cameras, crews, three large lights and electricians, snapped, and Henie barely escaped being hit by skating out of the way, according to publicity. Louise Hovick was also known as the burlesque star Gypsy Rose Lee. According to a HR news item in Jan 1938, Don Ameche was expected to be in this film. The Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Theater Arts Library contains in the file for this film a treatment by Sam Hellman from a play by Sheridan Gibney and Victor Wittgenstein, but this does not seem to have been used for this film. The film's end credit contains the statement, "This is one of the movie quiz $250,000 contest pictures." No information has been located concerning this contest. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   3 Sep 1938.   
Daily Variety   27 Aug 38   p. 3.
Film Daily   12 Sep 38   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   14 Jan 38   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   25 Apr 38   p. 9, 11
Hollywood Reporter   27 Jun 38   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   27 Aug 38   p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily   30 Aug 38   p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald   16 Jul 38   p. 63.
Motion Picture Herald   3 Sep 38   pp. 38-39.
New York Times   12 Jun 1938.   
New York Times   10 Sep 38   p. 20.
Variety   14 Sep 38   p. 15.

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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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