Sunny was one of three RKO Radio Broadway-musical adaptations tailored to the talents of British favorite Anna Neagle by her soon-to-be-husband Herbert Wilcox (the other two were No No Nanette and Irene). The story has been updated a bit and transposed to New Orleans' Mardi Gras, but remains at base a "Cinderella" yarn, replete with a poor girl/rich boy romance. Circus entertainer Sunny Sullivan (Neagle) falls in love with Larry Warren (John Carroll), wealthy scion of an auto-manufacturing family. Accepting his invitation to meet his family at a fancy weekend party, Sunny elects to hide the fact that she's in (horrors!) show business. Just as she's won over the entire family, who should arrive but her circus cohorts, immediately blowing her cover. The shamefaced Sunny returns to the big top, but Larry will not be dissuaded from his intention to make her his bride. The film is at its best when the talented Anna Neagle trades steps with loose-limbed dancer Ray Bolger. A more faithful (but less enjoyable) version of this Otto Harbach-Oscar Hammerstein II-Jerome Kern musical was made in 1930, with the original "Sunny" Marilyn Miller repeating her Broadway role.
by Hal Erickson synopsis