Theatrical release poster
Directed byThornton Freeland
Written byWilliam M. Conselman
E.J. Rath (story)
Robert Hobart Davis (story)
Owen Davis (play)
William Anthony McGuire (musical)
Produced bySamuel Goldwyn
Florenz Ziegfeld
StarringEddie Cantor
Ethel Shutta
Eleanor Hunt
CinematographyLee Garmes
Ray Rennahan
Gregg Toland
Edited byStuart Heisler
Music byNacio Herb Brown
Walter Donaldson
Edward Eliscu
Color processTechnicolor
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • October 5, 1930 (1930-10-05)
Running time
101 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$1.3 million[1]
Box office$2,655,000[2]

Whoopee! is a 1930 American pre-Code comedy musical western film directed by Thornton Freeland and starring Eddie Cantor, Ethel Shutta, and Eleanor Hunt. It was photographed in two-color Technicolor. Its plot closely follows the 1928 stage show produced by Florenz Ziegfeld.


In this zany musical, Sally loves Wanenis, a Native American man, but her father has forbidden her to marry him. Instead, she has been convinced to marry Sheriff Bob Wells. At the last minute, however, Sally decides she loves Wanenis too much and tricks farmhand Henry Williams into helping her run away to the ranch of Jerome Underwood. When Wells comes looking for Sally, it proves trouble for the oblivious Henry.


Scene from the film
Scene from the film


The film was produced by Florenz Ziegfeld and Samuel Goldwyn, and directed by Thornton Freeland. Whoopee! made a movie star of Eddie Cantor, already one of the leading stars of Broadway revues and musical comedies, as well as being a popular recording artist in the United States. The song "My Baby Just Cares for Me" was written especially for Cantor to sing in the film and became a signature tune for him. George Olsen and his Music, already well-known Victor recording artists, repeated their work from the stage version. Other stars in the film were Eleanor Hunt, Ethel Shutta (George Olsen's wife), and Paul Gregory. Future stars Betty Grable, Paulette Goddard, Ann Sothern, Virginia Bruce, and Claire Dodd appeared uncredited as "Goldwyn Girls".

The film also launched the Hollywood career of Busby Berkeley. It was Alfred Newman's first composing job in Hollywood. Richard Day did the set designs and behind the camera was Gregg Toland, who later found fame with Orson Welles. H. Bruce "Lucky" Humberstone served in an uncredited role as assistant director.[3]

Cultural references

In 2012, the song "Makin' Whoopee" was featured in the Season 8 premiere of the American adult animated series American Dad!


The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Art Direction by Richard Day.[4][5]

See also


  1. ^ Balio, Tino (2009). United Artists: The Company Built by the Stars. University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 978-0-299-23004-3. p. 106
  2. ^ "WHICH CINEMA FILMS HAVE EARNED THE MOST MONEY SINCE 1914?". The Argus. Melbourne. March 4, 1944. p. 3 Supplement: The Argus Weekend magazine. Retrieved August 6, 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
  3. ^ Whoopee! (1930) - IMDb, retrieved August 29, 2021
  4. ^ "NY Times: Whoopee!". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Baseline & All Movie Guide. 2009. Archived from the original on December 21, 2009. Retrieved December 6, 2008.
  5. ^ "The 4th Academy Awards (1931) Nominees and Winners". Oscars.org (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences). Archived from the original on October 10, 2014. Retrieved May 21, 2019.