3 user 1 critic

The Canary Comes Across (1938)

Approved | | Short, Music | 26 January 1938 (USA)
A prisoner with a good singing voice escapes, only to grow jealous when an opera singer who looks like him is delivered back to the prison and receives attention, especially from Ann, the warden's daughter who leads the prison glee club.


Will Jason


Val Burton (original story), Will Jason (original story) | 2 more credits »


Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

More Like This 

Short | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

At Phwitterby-on-Thames, England, a murder has occurred and Philo Holmes and Dr. Watkins are out to investigate it. Seems as if there is a second will and changes have been made in who will... See full summary »

Director: Felix E. Feist
Stars: Franklin Pangborn, Charles Judels, William Tannen
Certificate: Passed Short | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A young girl, wanting a life of luxury, takes the "easy" way, and winds up in jail.

Director: Edward L. Cahn
Stars: Irene Hervey, Robert Livingston, Robert Warwick
Hi, Gaucho! (1935)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

The setting is Argentina. When an outlaw band holds up a stage, their leader finds an old man from Spain who has just arrived to marry into a very rich family. So he assumes his identity ... See full summary »

Director: Thomas Atkins
Stars: John Carroll, Steffi Duna, Rod La Rocque
That's My Boy (1932)
Drama | Romance | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Tommy Scott goes to a Connecticut college to become a doctor, but is soon discovered to be a prodigious football talent. He becomes a national star and falls in love, but fame and ill-advised financial deals threaten to ruin his future.

Director: Roy William Neill
Stars: Richard Cromwell, Dorothy Jordan, Mae Marsh
Crime | Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Unscrupulous car dealers foist faulty and dangerous cars on an unsuspecting public.

Director: Joseph M. Newman
Stars: Darryl Hickman, Tommy Baker, Allan Lane
Nocturne (1946)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

In 1940s Los Angeles, when womanizing composer Keith Vincent is found dead, the inquest concludes it was a suicide but police detective Joe Warne isn't so sure.

Director: Edwin L. Marin
Stars: George Raft, Lynn Bari, Virginia Huston
Short | Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Ted Healy and the 3 Stooges are fired and evicted from a theatre because Ted annoys women working there. They then get jobs as waiters at a nightclub. Chaos leads to destruction of the business. At the end, Ted pursues another woman.

Director: Jack Cummings
Stars: Larry Fine, Moe Howard, Curly Howard
Adventure | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Young Sybil visits her grandfather, a British Colonel stationed at a garrison in India, and she helps negotiate a diplomatic truce between him and the local natives.

Director: Bobby Connolly
Stars: Sybil Jason, Lumsden Hare, Charles Austin
Adventure | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Two American soldiers are captured by the Germans on the Western Front during World War One and escape a POW camp only to stumble into further life-threatening adventures when they come across an Arabian king's daughter while on the lam.

Director: Lewis Milestone
Stars: William Boyd, Mary Astor, Louis Wolheim
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A navy lieutenant and his civilian friend use a classified computer to help them break the bank at a Venetian casino.

Director: Richard Thorpe
Stars: Steve McQueen, Brigid Bazlen, Jim Hutton
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

This Traveltalks short starts in San Salvador, El Salvador's capital, emphasizing the Spanish architectural heritage. We then go to the Izalco Volcano, which was created in 1770 by an ... See full summary »

Stars: James A. FitzPatrick
Screen Actors (1950)
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  

This short tries to show that in some ways, the actors we see in the movies are just like us. They have mortgages to pay and families to raise. They also have interests and businesses not ... See full summary »

Director: Hal Elias
Stars: John Nesbitt, Leon Ames, Edward Arnold


Complete credited cast:
Erik Rhodes ... Canary Dillon
Virginia Grey ... Ann Clayton
Maurice Black ... Scarpuss
Oscar O'Shea ... Warden Clayton


At the Lawburn prison, the convicts love the glee club, directed by Ann, the warden's daughter. The warden disbands the club when its best singer, Canary Dillon, escapes. A ranking con puts out the word to the city's underworld to deliver Canary back to Lawburn. An opera-loving mobster discovers Canary singing in an opera chorus, and he's shortly back behind bars. Trouble is, it's not Dillon but a dead ringer who keeps his identity secret for a while to get to know Ann. There's a national radio competition among prison choruses and the real Dillon, safe outside, is jealous of the attention his doppelganger is getting. What will he do? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Music


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

26 January 1938 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Erik Rhodes in a starring role
7 May 2013 | by 39-0-13See all my reviews

Some SPOILERS may follow: Most movie watchers remember Erik Rhodes from his performances in two Astaire-Rogers movies. The jewel was THE GAY Divorcée in which he played Tonetti, the co-respondent in the divorce, one of the best supporting roles in all the Astaire films of the 30's. Here, in this musical short, produced by MGM and written by the Burton-Jason team (who wrote the popular standard "Penthouse Serenade"), Rhodes plays a dual role, totally unlike his Italian impersonations. He is supposed to be "the Canary,"a prisoner with a gifted singing voice. The daughter of the warden, played by Virginia Grey, is trying to get a group of inmates to sing beautifully so they can compete in a singing contest over the radio involving prisoners. (We eventually see a women's trio and a group of African-Americans performing songs.) The Canary makes his escape from prison, and three guys set out to find him. They think they see him as a member of a chorus in an opera, grab him, and drop him off at the prison. The Canary is ostensibly captured, and he and the warden's daughter find a kind of wonderful harmony. Well, eventually, the real Canary gets wise to the situation and breaks into prison to set things right. Some knocking on the heads of two Canaries ensue. Eventually events lead to a resolution bringing a happy ending. We are left with the image of Rhodes as a would be leading man given the chance to sing a romantic song to a lovely blond in a prison filled with the most gentlemanly inmates in the world. Pure fantasy, of course, especially depicting the men interacting with the warden's daughter, and a failed experiment in creating a different more romantic image for a man who was a superb comic actor. Worth a look you like Rhodes as an actor, but clearly not unless you want your preconceived expectations of his performance to be jarred.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 3 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed