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Cinemascope

The Broadway Melody (1929)

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So I'd been meaning to check this out for a long time but hadn't gotten around to it. Yes, I'd heard it was pretty dated by now but still I thought it would be worth watching.

 

I finally got to watch it, on DVD. The quality of the image and sound was pretty good, at least compared to Rio Rita, which is also from 1929.

 

The story is a fairly tedious romantic triangle/backstage musical, perhaps the most unusual thing about it is the names of the Zanefield and Jacques Warriner characters.

 

Although I certainly can't put it at the top of my list of favorite MGM musicals, it sure has given me much greater appreciation for the increased sophistication of musicals (not just at MGM, but also WB, RKO, etc.) in the 30's. Perhaps I never fully realized the attributes of 42nd Street until I had something earlier and less accomplished.

 

At any rate, it's a great way to gain a greater appreciation for movie musicals, especially right at the beginning as they were in transition from filmed vaudeville acts to something that was unique to the movie screen.

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I didn't really like The Broadway Melody when I first saw it on VHS years ago. I found it to be very creaky and slow in parts. The only thing that I really liked was the performance of Bessie Love as Hank--she was so spunky and her acting was natural. I thought that Anita Page especially was not very believable in her acting.

 

However, after I joined these boards a few years ago, some posters were discussing the film and the merits of Page, in particular. So, I took a second look the next time it was on TCM. I found that I could appreciate the film's place in the history of film musicals, and while I still don't think that Anita Page is a great actress, I liked her in the role of Queenie.

 

I still think that Bessie Love is the best reason to watch the film. She's really good.

 

Sandy K

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Well I do think it's a bit dated, which didn't stop me from enjoying it, but musicals definitely changed significantly (and for the better) in the early 30's. :)

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On Sunday, January 28, 2007 at 8:20 AM, Cinemascope said:

So I'd been meaning to check this out for a long time but hadn't gotten around to it. Yes, I'd heard it was pretty dated by now but still I thought it would be worth watching.

 

I finally got to watch it, on DVD. The quality of the image and sound was pretty good, at least compared to Rio Rita, which is also from 1929.

 

The story is a fairly tedious romantic triangle/backstage musical, perhaps the most unusual thing about it is the names of the Zanefield and Jacques Warriner characters.

 

Although I certainly can't put it at the top of my list of favorite MGM musicals, it sure has given me much greater appreciation for the increased sophistication of musicals (not just at MGM, but also WB, RKO, etc.) in the 30's. Perhaps I never fully realized the attributes of 42nd Street until I had something earlier and less accomplished.

 

At any rate, it's a great way to gain a greater appreciation for movie musicals, especially right at the beginning as they were in transition from filmed vaudeville acts to something that was unique to the movie screen.

This film spoofed some of the names. Mr. Zanfeld was a spoof of Ziegfeld of the Ziegfeld follies, and Jacques Warriner was spoofing Jack Warner of Warner Bros.

It's true that this film led the way to the better early 1930s musicals like 42nd St. This film was an early projector job, and with the whitewashed picture quality, many of the showgirls looked the same when the camera was showing them from further angles. Many of the girls were very flapper like with this still being the 1920s.

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I watched two different versions and note that pre censorship regulations the costumes were more scant obviously 

than post regulations. I was not terribly familiar with Charles Kiing and found the acting to  be not as honest as later musicals.

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