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IT'S A GREAT LIFE (1929) with the Duncan Sisters

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I have read several places on the net that TCM has aired the 1929 early talking musical IT'S A GREAT LIFE starring the legendary vaudeville stars the Duncan Sisters but I can't ever recall seeing it on the schedule. Has anyone ever seen this film? I just became a D.S. fan this week when TCM aired their 1935 short "Surprise" after the silent movie of the week.

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Hi there.... I also saw SURPRISE! by accident... I have the Duncan Sisters' IT'S A GREAT LIFE and have talked about it much (also see my article at midnightpalace.com). So far as I can remember TCM has not shown this film, but it's likely they have at some point during the wee hours.


Interesting in SURPRISE that Rosetta and Vivian actually did a bit based on their famed TOPSY AND EVA characters. It's probably the only talkie film in which they appeared as these characters. TOPSY AND EVA was a stage show in which the sisters toured for decades; they also starred in a silent film based on the stage show.


IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE failed at the box office and doomed the sisters, but I think they are terrific, and the film (admittedly with some ghastly moments) has some great musical numbers.... and Lawrence Gray.

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. . .probably in about 1995 or 1996. I recall that back in the mid-1990s, when TCM was just starting up, they showed all kinds of early talkie musicals that rarely if ever are shown on the channel now: "Devil May Care," "Golden Dawn," "Sweet Kitty Belairs," "Sally," etc.


I was very pleasantly surprised last year when TCM showed 1930's "Spring is Here" and 1931's "Kiss Me Again." I hope they'll schedule more early talkie musicals soon.


As for "It's a Great Life"--it was NOT a great movie! But it was interesting to see once. And the TCM print included the two-strip Technicolor sequences.

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well I'm a sucker for the old musicals.... I totally loved the Duncan Sisters doing their stage "schtick" with "An Old Spanish Custom" and their spoof of "Tell Me, Pretty Maiden." The ending of the film, however, was pretty dreadful.


I thought GOLDEN DAWN was hilarious and really like SPRING IS HERE, FOLLOW THRU, GOOD NEWS, etc.


SWEET KITTY BELLAIRS I haven't seen yet......

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"It's A Great Life" (1929) aired on a Saturday morning around 9am in February 1996. At that time TCM was showing musicals on Saturday mornings. On that particular day along with "It's A Great Life" TCM also aired a two reeler called "The Songwriters' Revue" (1929) along with "The Broadway Melody" (1929) and the original version of "Girl Crazy" (1932).

Two of the three color sequences in "It's A Great Life" are indeed in the film that TCM aired; however a third color sequence called "Sailing on a Sunbeam" is missing from that particular print. In an odd turn of events TCM has aired the "Sailing on a Sunbeam" sequence (a little over 3 minutes long) as a filler between films a few years ago.

TCM should get back to their roots and air a few (or more) of these early talkies. They're part of the most important era in the history of film, yet seem to be all but forgotten.

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