Children of Pleasure

Children of Pleasure is a 1930 American Pre-Code MGM musical comedy film directed by Harry Beaumont, originally released with Technicolor sequences. It was adapted from Crane Wilbur's 1929 play, The Song Writer.

Children of Pleasure
Directed byHarry Beaumont
Written byRichard Schayer
Crane Wilbur
StarringLawrence Gray
Wynne Gibson
CinematographyPercy Hilburn (fr)
Technicolor sequences
Edited byBlanche Sewell
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
April 26, 1930 (1930-04-26)
Running time
70 minutes
CountryUnited States


Danny, an acclaimed singer and songwriter, falls in love with a socialite girl who is just playing around. He does not realize that his girl-Friday is the one he really loves until it is almost too late. Although he is awestruck by high society, he overhears the girl's admission that she is stringing him along just in time to avoid marriage. Danny is notably Jewish, and among the issues the movie raises is his temptation to assimilate into the larger culture.

The film is an adaptation of a play that riffed on the real-life relationship between songwriter Irving Berlin and Long Island socialite Ellin Mackay, which was all over the gossip columns in the late 1920s. Mackay's millionaire father cut her off and did not speak to her for years because, after a long courtship, she married Berlin, who was Jewish. (Unlike the fickle debutante in the film, Mackay stayed with Berlin, and their marriage lasted over sixty years.)

The film is played against a theatrical backdrop, and contains many songs and production numbers.



The film was originally premiered and released with Technicolor sequences in the summer of 1930. Several film reviewers refer to these Technicolor sequences[1][2]

One reviewer noted that "the revue scenes filmed in Technicolor being particularly lavish."[3] These color sequences were later replaced with a black-and-white version that had been filmed simultaneously because the backlash against musicals (which occurred in the autumn of 1930) made the expense of printing color prints superfluous and frivolous. Only this black-and-white general release version currently exists with the exception of a portion of the Technicolor "Dust" number that was re-used in the short film Roast-Beef and Movies in 1934, and can also be seen in That's Entertainment! III (1994). This color clip is currently viewable on YouTube.


Lawrence Gray recorded two of his songs from the picture for Brunswick Records. His rendition of the songs Leave It That Way and The Whole Darned Thing's For You were released on Brunswick's popular ten inch series on record number 4775.

See also


  1. Berkeley Daily Gazette, July 10, 1930, p. 14
  2. Times Daily, May 28, 1930, p. 20
  3. The Hartford Courant, June 8, 1930, p. D3

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