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1929 Desert Song still scheduled for 12/2 at 11:15AM


LsDoorMat
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Maybe nobody but me is interested in this, but my understanding was that this original film version of The Desert Song was only available in a fuzzy black and white print since it was considered lost until a copy was found in Jack Warner's safe. I saw that copy on youtube several years ago and it looked just awful, but still I was glad to see it. Imagine my surprise that they were actually going to show this on TCM. Thus they must have cleaned it up.

 

Maybe it will go the way of The Sainted Sisters and be pulled at the last minute, but I am looking forward to it. It is very stilted and probably only of interest to early film buffs like myself, but with Thanksgiving coming I thought I would remind everybody early.

 

The real interest in this film is historical. Warner Brothers actually filmed this musical in 1928, before anybody else had done this, and it was ready to go by fall of 1928, after The Singing Fool. But WB went by a certain schedule. They shut down the studio for a certain period every year to save money, and only released every film on a schedule. The Desert Song was scheduled to go out in the spring of 1929. With the release of The Broadway Melody by MGM in February, The Desert Song looked like a museum piece by spring. You'd think WB would alter their way of doing things given the unique circumstances of the dawn of sound in film, but they did not. I'm remembering this story from "A Song in the Dark" by Richard Barrios, so I hope I have the details correct.

 

At any rate, enjoy. Or at least get a dose of film history.

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     I hope it's not pulled out at the last minute. Two films that I had wanted to see were listed on the schedules then pulled out with no explanation. They were Wild Girl with Charles Farrell and Lilac Time with Colleen Moore. TCM also had Wharf Angel listed on their schedule for last January but pulled that too. I don't hold my breath for these rare gems until I actually see them on the screen.

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Thanks for the notification, calvinme.

 

Let's hope Desert Song is not another TCM announced rarity for film buffs that disappears at the last minute. I've never seen this one.

 

desert-song.jpg

 

 

Damn! I just checked the Canadian schedule and see that this film is NOT scheduled for Canada. TCM Canuck film buffs lose out again!

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This one's worth watching--The two leads, John Boles and Carlotta King, have fine strong voices.  The clips on YouTube have a Lot of hissing/background noise, but there are two "Calling Dr. Freud" moments--the end of "Azuri's Dance" (YT has almost cut out the racy parts, but not quite).

 

Carlotta King's rendition of "The Sabre Song" is something to see--There is a tremendous amount of hissing in the clip on YouTube, but King can still be heard.

 

Am looking forward to seeing this on TCM and hearing a noise-free print.

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Note that Oscar Hammerstein is with Sigmund Romberg. (Richard Rodgers, of course, was collaborating with Lorenz Hart.) You can also see the two of them together in the "Silver Anniversary" short that WB made in 1930.

 

Unfortunately, the short missed some opportunities to use talking pictures better. It showed congratulatory telegrams from those stars doing location shooting, rather than filming them speaking into a microphone on location; considering the purpose of the short, you didn't have to hide the microphone.

 

And WB didn't have quite the cavalcade of stars MGM would have two decades later for Some of the Best.

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Note that Oscar Hammerstein is with Sigmund Romberg. (Richard Rodgers, of course, was collaborating with Lorenz Hart.) You can also see the two of them together in the "Silver Anniversary" short that WB made in 1930.

 

Unfortunately, the short missed some opportunities to use talking pictures better. It showed congratulatory telegrams from those stars doing location shooting, rather than filming them speaking into a microphone on location; considering the purpose of the short, you didn't have to hide the microphone.

 

And WB didn't have quite the cavalcade of stars MGM would have two decades later for Some of the Best.

I love that short. Its full name is "An Intimate Dinner in Celebration of Warner Bros. Silver Jubilee ". For  the film history buff this kind of stuff is priceless. I just love the very early Warner Bros. talkies and their goofy themes - "Dancing Sweeties", "The Mad Genius", "The Green Goddess", etc. Only at this time - 1930 - and at this studio could such films be possible, and this short helps explain how they were possible.

 

Only in 1930 at Warner Brothers - a studio with poverty row roots and a wad of cash from its part in the birth of the sound revolution, much like a bus driver winning the lottery, could you see such an awkward struggle to join the big leagues forever enshrined in celluloid. Let's start with the cast. How often can you find Sidney Blackmer, Evalyn Knapp and Claudia Dell billed above Edward G. Robinson and Joan Blondell?

 

As for the premise of this short, it is completely false. The only milestone 25 years before 1930 would have been in 1905 when the Warner Brothers opened their first nickelodeon in New Castle, Pennsylvania, and then only as distributors. They didn't dabble in film creation for another ten years after that and got their first hit with what was basically a WWI propaganda piece - "My Four Years in Germany" in 1918. 1923 is really the birth of Warner Brothers as we know it, when they incorporated as a film production company.

 

"Some of the Best" actually was MGM's silver anniversary. Yet in the end - and you'd never guess it by looking at the two companies in 1930 - Warner Brothers survived and MGM did not. In fact, Warner Brothers owns all of MGM's films through 1985?. Not sure about the date.

 

MGM's problem was that their true innovator - Irving Thalberg - died in 1936. They coasted along for ten years after that and then started a long decline in 1946. Part of the problem was Louis B. Mayer really never knew what he lost with the death of Irving Thalberg and did not know how to adapt to the post war era until he was finally booted from his own company. And here I am derailing my own thread. Sorry. Just a favorite subject of mine.

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The Desert Song (1929) now shows no upcoming playdates on the TCM Database, although it's still listed on the Daily Schedule.

 

 

Now Playing and TCM Daily Schedule:

 

 9:15 am EST  When a Man Loves (1927)

11:15 am EST  The Desert Song (1929)

  1:30 pm EST  The Great Divide (1929)

 

 

My onscreen guide (I'm in the USA):

 

9:15  Midnight Alibi (1934)

10:15  The Personality Kid (1934)

11:30 When a Man Loves (1927)

 1:30  The Great Divide (1929)

 

Checking the TCM Database for each of these four titles confirms the second list's times; as stated, The Desert Song's entry shows no bookings.  I believe they've pulled it.

 

 

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The Desert Song (1929) now shows no upcoming playdates on the TCM Database, although it's still listed on the Daily Schedule.

 

 

Now Playing and TCM Daily Schedule:

 

 9:15 am EST  When a Man Loves (1927)

11:15 am EST  The Desert Song (1929)

  1:30 pm EST  The Great Divide (1929)

 

 

My onscreen guide (I'm in the USA):

 

9:15  Midnight Alibi (1934)

10:15  The Personality Kid (1934)

11:30 When a Man Loves (1927)

 1:30  The Great Divide (1929)

 

Checking the TCM Database for each of these four titles confirms the second list's times; as stated, The Desert Song's entry shows no bookings.  I believe they've pulled it.

 

If you are talking about the TCMDb database, I haven't found concrete evidence on this indicating an airing, in spite of them mentioning upcoming shows.  I would stick to either the daily, weekly, or monthly TCM schedule.

 

P.S, FWIW I just checked my Schedules Direct feed (3rd party source), and Desert Song isn't in there either.  Hmm this isn't looking good.

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Allow me to give a plug here for When A Man Loves, which is on the TCM schedule for Dec. 2. A handsomely produced costume drama, the kind they just don't make anymore, as they like to say, with John Barrymore and Dolores Costello.

 

Yes, it gets increasingly over the top as far as the melodrama is concerned, but that's pretty well par for the course with most silent costumers of this kind. Perhaps not quite in the same league as Barrymore's Don Juan (or Beloved Rogue) but still fun.

 

When_a_Man_Loves_1927_8693160.jpg

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As of 1:17 p.m. E.S.T. "The Desert Song" (1929)  has been yanked from the online schedule and replaced.  *******!

 

Maybe TCM will have a theme day called "Movie Rarities We Announced But Never Showed."

 

Perhaps then we will have a chance to finally see The Desert Song, Lilac Time and Wild Girl. Throw in Reunion in Vienna and Seven Footprints to Satan, both of which they also announced a few years ago but disappeared from the schedule, and we'll have a real day to celebrate.

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Maybe TCM will have a theme day called "Movie Rarities We Announced But Never Showed."

 

Perhaps then we will have a chance to finally see The Desert Song, Lilac Time and Wild Girl. Throw in Reunion in Vienna and Seven Footprints to Satan, both of which they also announced a few years ago but disappeared from the schedule, and we'll have a real day to celebrate.

 

Then there would be a service provider outage, but at least it would be off of TCM's back.

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Maybe TCM will have a theme day called "Movie Rarities We Announced But Never Showed."

 

Perhaps then we will have a chance to finally see The Desert Song, Lilac Time and Wild Girl. Throw in Reunion in Vienna and Seven Footprints to Satan, both of which they also announced a few years ago but disappeared from the schedule, and we'll have a real day to celebrate.

 

I figured this would happen. I even mentioned it in an earlier post on this thread. I've learned the hard way never to get my hopes

up when I see a film rarity on the schedule or listed in the "Now Playing" magazine.  I've had too many disappointments.

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As of 10:09 a.m. E.S.T. Sun. Nov. 27th--"The Desert Song" (1929) is back On the online schedule, but with no playing time on the TCM webpage--and the substitution film(s) are scratched.  Is this a rights issue, or what?  Time will tell, I guess.

The thing I was suspicious of from the first is, because there are three Desert Songs - 1929, 1943, and 1953(?) - that some TCM employee got one mixed up with the other. The 43 and 53 versions are in good shape. However, it was always my understanding that the 1929 version existed only as a blurry black and white print, thought lost until this blurry copy was found in Jack Warner's safe after his death. I was surprised that anybody would be able to clean it up enough to display it. Thus I figured at some point the mistake would be caught and something else would be substituted. The reason I was at least a little hopeful is that all of the Dec 2 films are part of the Myrna Loy SOTM tribute in December, and they seemed to be starting with her earliest roles when she was just a bit player over at Warner Brothers. She actually had very small roles in "The Jazz Singer" and "Don Juan", and they may be playing those in December too for all I know.

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As of 10:09 a.m. E.S.T. Sun. Nov. 27th--"The Desert Song" (1929) is back On the online schedule, but with no playing time on the TCM webpage--and the substitution film(s) are scratched.  Is this a rights issue, or what?  Time will tell, I guess.

 

I'm trying to understand.  Can you reword this?  Do you mean you see it on your DVR schedule?  Based on your post I rebooted my DVR to get the latest schedule and still don't see it anywhere.

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I'm trying to understand.  Can you reword this?  Do you mean you see it on your DVR schedule?  Based on your post I rebooted my DVR to get the latest schedule and still don't see it anywhere.

 

I think film lover means that The Desert Song  is showing up on the TCM schedule page, here on the website.

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Ok that was my first thought.  Where could it be listed though, yet not have a day and time.

 

It's on the daily grid schedule, but when you click on it, and it takes you to the TCMDb page for it, it doesn't show that it's airing at all. So one or the other has not been updated yet.

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It's on the daily grid schedule, but when you click on it, and it takes you to the TCMDb page for it, it doesn't show that it's airing at all. So one or the other has not been updated yet.

 

Thanks.  I didn't think to look through the Daily, too tedious to page through, I usually look through the Weekly.  I now see the discrepancy between the Daily and Weekly.  Wow...

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