Banjo on My Knees (1936): John Cromwell’s Oscar-Nominated Comedy Starring Stanwyck and Joel McCrea

Barbara Stanwyck and Joel McCrea star in Banjo on My Knees, John Cromwell’s musical comedy, set on a Mississipppi riverboat.

The tale centers on two newlyweds who must postpone their honeymoon when the groom gets in a fight with a villain and  believes he has killed him,

Fleeing on a riverboat, Ernie Holley (McCrea) leaves his young bride Pearl (Stanwyck), a fomer Ziegfeld girl, who then gets courted by a womanizing photographer. She and the cameraman head for New Orleans, leading to all kinds of action, romantic misunderstandings, and musical sequences, written by Tony Martin.

The secondary cast includes perennial character actor Walter Brennan and Buddy Ebsen.

Oscar Nominations: 1

Sound Recording: E. H. Hansen

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

The winner of the Sound Recording Oscar was “San Francisco.”


Barbara Stanwyck as Pearl Holley

Joel McCrea as Ernie Holley

Walter Brennan as Newt Holley

Buddy Ebsen as Buddy

Helen Westley as Grandma

Walter Catlett as Warfield Scott



Released  by Fox

Running time: 95 Minutes.

Directed by John Cromwell

Released December 11, 1936.