Life Begins in College is a 1937 American comedy film. It marked the
Ritz Brothers' first starring role in a feature film.
6 External links
The action takes place at Lombardy College, founded "to give the
Indian nations of North America access to higher education". Little
Black Cloud (Nat Pendleton) enrolls as "George Black". After being the
subject of a hazing prank by football star Bob Hayner (Dick Baldwin),
George decides he is too humiliated to stay at school. He first stops
to get his ripped pants repaired and meets the
Ritz Brothers who
convince him to stay.
Tim O'Hara (Fred Stone), the football coach, is being pressured to
resign because of his age. Janet (Gloria Stuart), the coach's
daughter, is Bob's love interest. Bob is on the committee trying to
force out Coach O'Hara, but he likes the coach's daughter Janet. He
tries to gain Janet's approval by helping her father, but fails at
both. Janet, meanwhile, helps George escape from Inez (Joan Davis, a
love-struck student. Then George wishes to return the favor by helping
the coach. George is actually rich, but does not want anyone to know
in case they only like him for his money.
The Ritz Brothers
The Ritz Brothers offer to
pretend it is their money. After spending a good deal on themselves,
the brothers donate $50,000 to the college with two conditions: O'Hara
must remain as coach, and they must be allowed to play for the
After a scuffle between them on the practice field, Bob is replaced by
George as quarterback. A winning streak for Lombardy ensues, no thanks
to the Ritz Brothers, who score for the other side whenever they play.
Inez continues to pursue George, and Janet's feelings towards Bob
soften. Bob, however, is being pursued by his former girlfriend,
Cuddles (Joan Marsh).
It turns out that George's participation on a company football team
makes him a professional and therefore ineligible for the college
team. This information is used by Cuddles to blackmail Bob into dating
her. When she sees Bob with Janet, she makes good on her threat of
exposing George right before the "big game". Since George cannot play,
Bob must take over as quarterback. Bob scores a touchdown but breaks
his collarbone while the other team is still ahead. The Ritz Brothers
sneak onto the field and nearly destroy Lombardy's chances with their
antics. At the last second Harry Ritz scores an unlikely touchdown to
win the game.
Al Ritz as Al
Harry Ritz as Harry
Jimmy Ritz as Jimmy
Joan Davis as Inez
Tony Martin as Band Leader
Gloria Stuart as Janet O'Hara
Fred Stone as Coach Tim O'Hara
Nat Pendleton as George "Little Black Cloud" Black
Dick Baldwin as Bob Hayner
Joan Marsh as Cuddles
Jed Prouty as Oliver Stearns, Jr.
Maurice Cass as Dean Moss
Ed Thorgersen as Radio announcer
Marjorie Weaver as Miss Murphy
Robert Lowery as Sling
Lon Chaney Jr.
Lon Chaney Jr. as Gilks
J.C. Nugent as T. Edwin Cabot
Fred Kohler Jr.
Fred Kohler Jr. as Bret
Elisha Cook Jr.
Elisha Cook Jr. as Ollie Stearns
Charles C. Wilson as Coach Burke
Frank Sully as Acting captain
Norman Willis as Referee
Life Begins in College was filmed between early July to early
September 1937. The several working titles were variations on Pigskin
Parade. The screenplay by Don Ettlinger and
Karl Tunberg was based on
a series of stories by Darrell Ware.
The Ritz Brothers
The Ritz Brothers had been on
20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox for over a year but this was the first
picture to give them star billing, as well as the first to make
them more than incidental to the plot.
Lew Pollack composed and Sidney Mitchell wrote the lyrics to "Big
Chief Swing It", "Our Team Is on the Warpath", "Fair Lombardy", and
Talk About Love?". The song "Sweet Varsity Sue" was written by
Charles Tobias, Al Lewis, and Murray Mencher.
Special material for the
Ritz Brothers was contributed by Sam Pokrass, Sid Kuller, and Ray
The film premiered in New York September 24, 1937, and was released
nationally on October 1. Generally favorable reviews appeared in
Variety, Motion Picture Daily, and The Film Daily.
^ a b "
Life Begins in College (1937) – Original Print Information".
Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2015-02-03.
^ Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century-Fox: A Corporate and Financial
History Rowman & Littlefield, 2002 p 217
Life Begins in College (1937) – Notes". Turner Classic Movies.
^ a b Gevinson, Alan (1997). Within Our Gates: Ethnicity in American
Feature Films, 1911–1960. University of California Press.
pp. 589–590. ISBN 978-0-520-20964-0.
^ Tucker, David C. (2014). Joan Davis: America's Queen of Film, Radio
and Television Comedy. McFarland. pp. 49–52.
^ Cullen, Frank; Hackman, Florence; McNeilly, Donald (2004).
Vaudeville Old & New: an Encyclopedia of Variety Performances in
America. Psychology Press. p. 936.
^ "Life Begins in College". Variety. 128 (3). September 29, 1937.
p. 14. Retrieved 2015-02-03 – via Internet Archive.
^ "Hollywood Preview: Life Begins in College". Motion Picture Daily.
42 (72). September 24, 1937. p. 6. Retrieved 2015-02-03 – via
^ "Reviews of the New Films: Life Begins in College". The Film Daily.
72 (75). September 28, 1937. p. 8. Retrieved 2015-02-03 – via