Highest Grossing Movies, 1937
Maytime starred Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. The film’s story resembled Noel Coward’s operetta Bitter Sweet. In 1940, MGM filmed Bitter Sweet, but altered the plot so that audiences would not notice the similarities.
Written by one of Hollywood’s leading screenwriters, Anita Loos, Saratoga starred Jean Harlow who died during the shoot. To complete the movie, Mary Dees, shot from behind or wearing costumes to obscure her face, played Jean Harlow’s part for the camera, while Paula Winslowe provided her voice.
Mainly because of Jean Harlow’s untimely death, Saratoga became the highest-grossing film of her career.
#1 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Based on the 1812 Brothers Grimm fairy tale, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first full-length animated feature film.
Adriana Caselotti (May 6, 1916 – January 18, 1997) was the voice of Snow White. She was paid $970 for working on the film (less than $19,000 in today’s money). Disney did not offer her a credit for Snow White and she struggled to find career opportunities later in life.
For the third year running, Shirley Temple was the #1 money-making movie star. However, a new name appeared in the top ten – Sonja Henie. A Norwegian figure skater and three-time Olympic champion (ten-time world champion), Sonja Henie, 8 April 1912 – 12 October 1969, appeared in a number of box office hits, including Thin Ice, 1937, Second Fiddle, 1939, and Sun Valley Serenade, 1941. At the height of her acting career, she was one of the highest-paid stars in Hollywood.
Notable Movie Debuts
Lana Turner in They Won’t Forget, a sociological drama based on real events. Lana Turner played Mary Clay, a murder victim.
Over the course of her fifty-year career, Lana Turner achieved fame as an actress. She enjoyed an eighteen-year contract with MGM and her movies made over $50 million for the studio. She also attracted notoriety, marrying and divorcing eight times.