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"Broadway" is a very unusual film. While it is a very early talky and is dated in some ways, in others it's amazingly advanced...especially with the truly spectacular camera-work. For the artistry alone, it's well worth seeing!
The opening credits are shocking and very interesting...and you know you're in for a special film. Using a model of Broadway, a man dressed up like a demon roams the streets and the titles then appear over it! For a model scene, it was very, very well done. Also well done are scenes using cranes, amazing dissolves and a roving camera- - something rarely seen even in films of the 30s! Also amazing are the costumes....especially the one with the skyscraper hats!
As for the story, a mobster named Crandall owns the theater in which the film is set. He's involved in bootlegging and early on in the picture, he murders his competition. As he and his sidekick are dragging the body outside, Billie and Roy see them...and are told the guy was drunk and they are 'helping him'. This story is unquestioned...but when Scar is found dead nearby, Roy realizes what has happened. As for Billie, she obviously has feelings for Crandall, and he's been heaping his attention on her, and she lies for the guy when asked about this later. So what's going to become of Billie and Roy? And, what of the murder? Will it go unpunished?
This film is unusual because although you see lots of costumes and dancers, it's not a musical until the very end--which is, incidentally, in Two-color Technicolor...and it's very degraded (looking mostly black and orangy-red). The copy I saw on YouTube sure could stand restoration.
As far as the overall film goes, it was BRILLIANT for 1929....and still holds up pretty well today.
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