For a full introduction to the Harrison's Reports Box Office ranking reports please see the previous post covering the 1934-35 season of films.
I've taken the rankings for the 1935-36 movies from a series Harrison's ran over four issues dated November 28-December 19, 1936.
These rankings are introduced in Harrison's Reports with the explanation that "more than 500 actual theaters have reported in this check-up." The rankings give a good idea of what films were popular with the audiences ranked not by box office dollars but by reports from actual film exhibitors.
Not as much qualifying information was offered in this report as in the rankings from the previous year. It is still very interesting to see how well certain movies were received. The popularity of Shirley Temple and the Astaire-Rogers pairing is made obvious through these rankings.
Strong reports from Twentieth Century-Fox were qualified based on the recent death of top box office draw Will Rogers. In the December 12 issue covering the Twentieth Century-Fox films Harrison states:
"The exhibitor, however, must bear in mind the following: The void created by the death of Will Rogers has not been filled by another actor of the same drawing power. Robert Taylor is not a Fox star, but was merely borrowed for this picture [Private Number], and it is doubtful whether MGM would let him appear in another picture of some other company--the same is true of Freddie Bartholomew [Professional Soldier]; the Dionne babies are placed in the first star rank, because they drew well in their first picture [The Country Doctor], but they do not deserve either such or a second-rank classification for future pictures. Shirley Temple's last picture, Dimples, is not going over very big."
An issue of Harrison's Reports from earlier in 1936 notes a misguided attempt to replace Will Rogers with Irvin S. Cobb.
Reports of the lowest possible ranking (Poor) are surprising for movies better received today including The Murder Man, Woman Wanted and, especially, The Princess Comes Across. Harrison's nationwide poll was wide enough to confirm to each of those three titles as among the poorest box office performers of the season by any studio.
Another interesting facet of the rankings is the sheer volume of movies ranked Poor versus those ranked Excellent. But as I explained in the previous ranking report post, anything above Poor, or at least above Fair, is actually a movie which performed well. Excellent is a rank for the biggest hits of them all; a report of Good still means the movie did quite well.
Following are the rankings for all non-Western films from Columbia, First National, Twentieth Century-Fox, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Paramount, RKO (Radio Pictures), United Artists, Universal, and Warner Bros. studios for the year 1935-36.
Clicking on any linked title will bring you to an article or review I've written about that specific movie elsewhere on Immortal Ephemera (or in a couple of cases at WarrenWilliam.com).
Unlike our previous reports I've illustrated the 1935-36 rankings with cards and collectibles from various sets and issues. Most have Gallery/Photo ID Pages. Clicking on any image that does have a Gallery page will bring you there.
Columbia - Mr. Deeds Goes to Town.
First National - Shipmates Forever, The Story of Louis Pasteur.
Twentieth Century-Fox - Steamboat Round the Bend, Thanks a Million, In Old Kentucky, The Littlest Rebel, King of Burlesque, The Prisoner of Shark Island, The Country Doctor, Captain January, Under Two Flags, Poor Little Rich Girl.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer - China Seas, Broadway Melody, A Tale of Two Cities, Rose Marie, San Francisco, Libeled Lady.
Paramount - Trail of the Lonesome Pine.
RKO (Radio Pictures) - Top Hat, Follow the Fleet, The Ex-Mrs. Bradford.
Warner Bros. Pictures - The Charge of the Light Brigade.
Excellent to Very Good Performers:
Very Good Performers:
Columbia - If I Could Only Cook.
First National - I Found Stella Parish, Ceiling Zero.
Twentieth Century-Fox - Show 'Em No Mercy, Private Number.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer - A Night at the Opera, Wife Versus Secretary, Small Town Girl, The Gorgeous Hussy.
Paramount - Desire.
United Artists - The Dark Angel, These Three.
Universal - Three Kids and a Queen.
Warner Bros. Pictures - Frisco Kid.
Very Good to Good Performers:
Twentieth Century-Fox - Professional Soldier, A Message to Garcia.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer - Ah, Wilderness!, His Brother's Wife, The Devil Is a Sissy.
Paramount - The Bride Comes Home, The Milky Way, The Moon's Our Home, Poppy.
United Artists - Strike Me Pink, The Ghost Goes West, Modern Times, Little Lord Fauntleroy.
Universal - Diamond Jim, Love Before Breakfast.
Columbia - The King Steps Out.
First National - The White Angel, Earthworm Tractors, China Clipper.
Twentieth Century-Fox - The Farmer Takes a Wife, The Gay Deception, Here's to Romance, The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo, Paddy O'Day, Every Saturday Night, It Had to Happen, Everybody's Old Man, Gentle Julia, Little Miss Nobody.
Paramount - The Big Broadcast of 1936, Hands Across the Table, The Crusades, Collegiate, Anything Goes, Thirteen Hours in the Air.
RKO (Radio Pictures) - Annie Oakley, In Person, The Lady Consents, Let's Sing Again, The Bride Walks Out.
United Artists - Barbary Coast.
Warner Bros. Pictures - Special Agent, Dr. Socrates, Dangerous, The Petrified Forest, I Married a Doctor, Green Pastures.
Good to Fair Performers:
Columbia - Meet Nero Wolfe.
First National - The Goose and the Gander, The Singing Kid, Brides Are Like That, The Golden Arrow.
Twentieth Century-Fox - Charlie Chan in Shanghai, This Is the Life, Way Down East, Navy Wife, Charlie Chan's Secret, Charlie Chan at the Circus, 36 Hours to Kill.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer - The Robin Hood of El Dorado, The Devil Doll.
Paramount - Accent on Youth, Two for Tonight, Mary Burns, Fugitive, So Red the Rose, Early to Bed, Yours for the Asking.
RKO (Radio Pictures) - I Dream Too Much, Mary of Scotland
United Artists - Things to Come.
Warner Bros. Pictures - Little Big Shot, Page Miss Glory, Miss Pacific Fleet, Colleen, Sons o' Guns, Public Enemy's Wife.
Columbia - She Couldn't Take It, The Music Goes Round, The Devil's Squadron, And So They Were Married, The Mine With the Iron Door, Counterfeit, Blackmailer, Shakedown, Two Fisted Gentleman, They Met in a Taxi, Alibi for Murder, Killer at Large, Tugboat Princess.
First National - The Case of the Lucky Legs, Broadway Hostess, The Murder of Dr. Carrigan, Road Gang, Snowed Under, The Law in Her Hands, Hearts Divided, Love Begins at Twenty.
Twentieth Century-Fox - Welcome Home, Dante's Inferno, Metropolitan, Your Uncle Dudley, Here Comes Trouble, The Song and Dance Man, The Country Beyond, Champagne Charlie, Sins of Man, The Crime of Dr. Forbes, White Fang, Educating Father.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer - Here Comes the Band, Speed, Trouble for Two, We Went to College.
Paramount - Every Night at Eight, The Last Outpost, Rose of the Rancho, Big Brown Eyes, Florida Special, The Case Against Mrs. Ames, Palm Springs, And Sudden Death, The Return of Sophie Lang, Spendthrift, Three Cheers for Love.
RKO (Radio Pictures) - Seven Keys to Baldpate, Sylvia Scarlett, Love On a Bet, The Witness Chair, Special Investigator, The Last Outlaw, Walking On Air, Don't Turn 'Em Loose, A Woman Rebels.
United Artists - Red Salute, Splendor, One Rainy Afternoon.
Universal - His Night Out, Stormy, The Great Impersonation, Don't Get Personal, Nobody's Fool, Parole, Crash Donovan, Postal Inspector.
Warner Bros. Pictures - Personal Maid, Stars Over Broadway, The Widow From Monte Carlo, Boulder Dam, Times Square Playboy.
Fair to Poor Performers:
Columbia - The Lone Wolf Returns, Panic on the Air,
First National - Two Against the World, The Case of the Velvet Claws.
Twentieth Century-Fox - Bad Boy, Music Is Magic, The First Baby, Half Angel, Human Cargo, High Tension.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer - The Bishop Misbehaves, It's in the Air, A Perfect Gentleman, Tough Guy, The Voice of Bugle Ann.
Paramount - Here Comes Cookie, The Virginia Judge, Peter Ibbetson, Too Many Parents, Till We Meet Again, Forgotten Faces, Border Flight, Girl of the Ozarks, A Son Comes Home.
RKO (Radio Pictures) - The Return of Peter Grimm, We're Only Human, Farmer in the Dell, Murder on the Bridle Path, Bunker Bean, M'Liss, Grand Jury.
United Artists - Melody Lingers On, I Stand Condemned.
Universal - Storm Over the Andes, King Solomon of Broadway, The Affairs of Susan, The Invisible Ray, Dangerous Waters, Dracula's Daughter, Yellowstone.
Warner Bros. Pictures - I Live for Love, Freshman Love, Man Hunt, The Walking Dead, The Big Noise, Hot Money, Jail Break, Satan Met a Lady.
Columbia - Guard That Girl, The Case of the Missing Man, Grand Exit, Escape from Devil's Island, Too Tough to Kill, One Way Ticket, The Calling of Dan Matthews, Crime and Punishment, Dangerous Intrigue, Lady of Secrets, You May Be Next, Hell Ship Morgan, Don't Gamble with Love, Pride of the Marines.
First National - The Payoff, Man of Iron.
Twentieth Century-Fox - Dressed to Thrill, Redheads on Parade, Thunder in the Night, My Marriage.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer - The Murder Man, Woman Wanted, Pursuit, Kind Lady, Last of the Pagans, Three Live Ghosts, The Garden Murder Case, Three Godfathers, Moonlight Murder, Absolute Quiet, Three Wise Guys.
Paramount - This Woman Is Mine, Without Regrets, Annapolis Farewell, Two Fisted, Ship Cafe, Coronado, Millions in the Air, Scrooge, It's a Great Life, Her Master's Voice, Soak the Rich, Timothy's Quest, Woman Trap, Klondike Annie, The Preview Murder Case, Give Us the Night, F-Men, Sky Parade, Fatal Lady, The Princess Comes Across.
RKO (Radio Pictures) - His Family Tree, Hi Gaucho, The Rainmakers, To Beat the Band, Another Face, Two in the Dark, Chatterbox, Muss 'Em Up, Yellow Dust, Silly Billies, Two in Revolt, The Dancing Pirate, Second Wife.
United Artists - An Amateur Gentleman.
Universal - Fighting Youth, Remember Last Night, Sweet Surrender, East of Java.