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Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams
George Raft, playing himself, recalls his days on Broadway, where he acquired a reputation as a great dancer--and also one as a brawler, a ladies man and an associate of some of the city's most notorious gangsters.
After 75 years considered lost, "Broadway" directed by Herr Paul Fejos was found in Hungary, in a very well preserved copy with Hungarian titles but that European language is not a problem for this German Count because he remembers very well those Austro-Hungarian old times. This remarkable discovery gives silent fans the chance to watch the virtuosity of camera work of a director not very well known. His obscurity is a complete disgrace because Herr Fejos'surviving silents are absolutely fascinating.
"Broadway" tells the story of underworld criminals who run the "Paradise Club". In between musical numbers we have crimes and intrigues involving showgirls and special investigators. Passion, strange business and love affairs are all part of the mix too."Broadway" shows characters caught up in dual roles and the turmoil in which feelings come out into the open, the sort of conflicts that Herr Fejos was so fond of.
The most remarkable aspect of this film is the extraordinary camera work, especially Herr Fejos' use of an enormous and amazing camera crane which he himself designed and which scrutinizes every corner of the "Paradise Club", giving a frenzied rhythm to the film with those incredible camera movements. It also highlights with many details and angles, the beautiful and astounding sets that are the backgrounds for the fuss, happy and dangerous night life in the Broadway streets. The second notable aspect of this modern silent film is that it was made before the superb "Lonesome" (1929) and, like that film, it is part of the transition period between silent films and talkies. "Broadway" was an early musical available in both formats, silent and talkie and what's more, the silent version found in Hungary is a complete copy that includes at the end of the film "Technicolor" footage ( faded after so many years ) of the final musical scene number and this so startled this German Count that his monocle popped out from his aristocratic eyes more than once.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must leave vaudeville behind and attend the opera.
Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien http://ferdinandvongalitzien.blogspot.com/
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