Reaching for the Moon (1930): Goulding’s Pre-Code Musical

Edmund Goulding directed Reaching for the Moon, a pre-Code musical film. (The working title was Lucky Break).

Originally released at 91 minutes, the film was cut to 62 minutes, and then restored on DVD to 72 minutes.

The film was originally intended to be a musical with songs written by Irving Berlin. But Berlin found director Goulding difficult to work with.

Goulding jettisoned many of Berlin’s songs from the score. Although just five Berlin songs had been recorded, even the scaled-down movie was expensive to make. (Budget is estimated at $1 million).

The one song retained was “When the Folks High Up Do the Mean Low Down,” introduced by Bing Crosby.

Wall Street wizard, Larry Day, new to the ways of love, is coached by his valet. He follows Vivian Benton on an ocean liner, where cocktails, laced with a “love potion,” are served.

When loses his fortune in the market crash, he feels that he has also lost his girl.

Douglas Fairbanks as Larry Day
Bebe Daniels as Vivien Benton
Edward Everett Horton as Roger
Claud Allister as Sir Horace Partington Chelmsford
Jack Mulhall as Jimmy Carrington
Walter Walker as James Benton
June MacCloy as Kitty
Helen Jerome Eddy as Larry’s Secretary
Bing Crosby as Bing