The Milky Way (1936)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

One of the funniest, most sharply paced comedies of the 1930s, and perhaps the best of all of Harold Lloyd's talkies, The Milky Way was based on the Broadway play by Lynn Root and Harry Clork. Lloyd plays Burleigh Sullivan, a mild-mannered milkman who intercedes one night when his sister Mae (Helen Mack) is being accosted on the street by two obnoxious drunks -- they turn their wrath on him, his sister runs for help, and when she returns less than a minute later, both men are out cold on the pavement, with Burleigh standing over them. As one of them, Speed MacFarland (William Gargan), is the world's middleweight boxing champion, and the other, Spider Schultz (Lionel Stander), is his sparring partner, Burleigh makes the front page of every newspaper in New York. McFarland's manager, Gabby Sloan (Adolphe Menjou), has to figure out how to salvage the champ's career, but first he has to figure out exactly what happened, since both fighters were too drunk to remember anything about it. It turns out that Sullivan couldn't beat an egg, but he is good at one thing -- ducking. He can dodge any punch, and the two fighters knocked each other out in the process of trying to pummel him. What's more, on hearing this, they're so angry that Schultz accidentally knocks MacFarland out again, just ahead of the press' arrival, and the little milkman is given credit once more by the reporters for decking the champ. Burleigh loves the attention, even though he never claims to have hit anyone. Meanwhile, Sloan comes up with a way of salvaging his fighter's career, and convinces Burleigh to go along with it for a promised cash sum -- all Burleigh has to do is get in the ring in six fights, to build up his standing and reputation, and finish his "career" in a fight with MacFarland, who will win. In the meantime, complications arise when MacFarland falls in love with Burleigh's sister, while Burleigh himself meets and falls in love with Polly Pringle (Dorothy Wilson), a helpful neighbor. Gabby, Spider, and Speed also discover that turning tiny, wiry Burleigh Sullivan into something that even looks like a fighter is easier said than done -- all of his fights have to be fixed (and then some) behind his back to make his victories look remotely genuine. Finally, after starting to believe his own publicity, and then discovering that the fights were fixed, Burleigh goes through with the final match-up against MacFarland, the culmination of a comedy of errors involving horses, foals, and a wild chase to the arena.
Classics , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Paramount Pictures


Adolphe Menjou
as Gabby Sloan
Charles Lane
as Willard, reporter
George Barbier
as Wilbur Austin
William Gargan
as Speed McFarland
Lionel Stander
as Spider Schultz
Harold Lloyd
as Burleigh "Tiger" Sullivan
Frank Mills
as Todd Fight Extra
Verree Teasdale
as Ann Westley
Mark Collver
as `Tornado' Todd
Milburn Stone
as Reporter
Lloyd Ingraham
as Barber Shop Customer
Helen Mack
as Mae Sullivan
Dorothy Wilson
as Polly Pringle
Marjorie Gateson
as Mrs. E. Winthrop Lemoyne
Harry Bernard
as Cop-Tenant
Broderick O'Farrell
as Extras at Fight
Gus Leonard
as Musician in Band, Title Fight
Sam Hayes
as Radio announcer, Polo Grounds
Harry Myers
as Photographer at apartment
Eddie Dunn
as Barber
Murray Alper
as 2nd Taxi Driver
Charles K. French
as Guest at Mrs. LeMoyne's
Eddie Fetherston
as Cameraman
Jack Clifford
as Announcer, Todd fight
Jim Farley
as Fight Promoter
Jack Murphy
as Newsboy
Bruce Mitchell
as Todd Fight Extra
Eddie Fetherstone
as Cameraman
Charles McMurphy
as Policeman
Leonard Carey
as Butler
James "T-Model" Ford
as Extras at Fight
Harry Bowen
as Bartender
Dan Tobey
as Announcer, Polo Grounds
Phil Tead
as Radio announcer, Todd fight
Larry McGrath
as Referee
Oscar Smith
as Barber Shop Porter
Tom Hanlon
as La Grue Fight Announcer
Veree Teasdale
as Ann Westley
Earl Pingree
as Policeman
Mel Ruick
as Austin's Secretary
Wally Howe
as Dr. O.O. White, Veterinarian
Antrim Short
as Photographer
Bull Anderson
as Oblitsky
Jim Marples
as O'Rourke
Jay Belasco
as Man in car
Mme. Bonita
as Landlady
Morrie Cohan
as Referee, Polo Grounds
Paddy O'Flynn
as Reporter
Marty Martin
as Ticket Seller
Hazel Laughton
as Woman in Coupe
Eugene Barry
as Policeman
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Critic Reviews for The Milky Way

All Critics (2)

Many say this is Harold Lloyd's best talkie.

Full Review… | April 23, 2009
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Fine later (sound) Harold Lloyd has some stylish touches.

November 1, 2008

Audience Reviews for The Milky Way


Probably Harold Lloyd's best talkie, but his silent films are far superior. It's still a fine comedy, but it's not outstanding. Decent writing and direction.

James Higgins
James Higgins

Probably Harold Lloyd's best talkie, but his silent films are far superior. It's still a fine comedy, but it's not outstanding. Decent writing and direction.

James Higgins
James Higgins

A real weird Leo McCarey-directed Harold Lloyd talkie in which Harold Lloyd seems like he's going to learn the error of his ways and then he actually doesn't. Mostly very uneven and kind of tedious, unfortunately, but Lloyd gives it his all, and McCarey manages to get a few really sublime moments out of some very subpar-at-best material.

Davey Morrison Dillard
Davey Morrison Dillard

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