Anything Goes is a 1936 American musical film directed by Lewis Milestone and starring Bing Crosby, Ethel Merman, Charles Ruggles and Ida Lupino. Based on the stage musical Anything Goes by Guy Bolton and P. G. Wodehouse, the stage version contains songs by Cole Porter.
The film is about a young man who falls in love with a beautiful woman whom he follows onto a luxury liner, where he discovers she is an English heiress who ran away from home and is now being returned to England. He also discovers that his boss is on the ship. To avoid discovery, he disguises himself as the gangster accomplice of a minister, who is actually a gangster on the run from the law. The film required revisions of Porter's saucy lyrics to pass Production Code censors. Only four of his songs remained: "Anything Goes", "I Get a Kick Out of You", "There'll Always Be a Lady Fair", and "You're the Top". "You're the Top" contained substantially revised lyrics, and only the first line (sung by Ethel Merman during the opening credits) was retained from the song "Anything Goes".
Bing Crosby's influence was used to gut most of Porter's score and obtain four new songs from several new songwriters, Richard A. Whiting, Hoagy Carmichael, Leo Robin, Edward Heyman, and Friedrich Hollander, but other than "Moonburn", written by Hoagy Carmichael and Edward Heyman, which temporarily became a hit for Crosby, it is usually agreed[by whom? ] that most of the replacement score was forgettable. Some, including movie musical expert John Springer, have criticized Paramount for substituting new songs by other composers for the originals. (This was a common policy in Hollywood during the 1930s, when film studios owned music publishing houses and hoped that songs written especially for films would guarantee extra profits for the studio.)
When Paramount sold the 1936 film to television, they retitled the movie Tops is the Limit because the 1956 film version, also from Paramount, was currently in theaters.
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