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Harriet and Queenie Mahoney, a vaudeville act, come to Broadway, where their friend Eddie Kerns needs them for his number in one of Francis Zanfield's shows. Eddie was in love with Harriet, but when he meets Queenie, he falls in love to her, but she is courted by Jock Warriner, a member of the New Yorker high society. It takes a while till Queenie recognizes, that she is for Jock nothing more than a toy, and it also takes a while till Harriet recognizes, that Eddie is in love with Queenie. Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <email@example.com>
Eddie Kane starred as a big shot Broadway producer named Francis Zanfield, which is an obvious take on Broadway legend Florenz Ziegfeld Jr.. While the character name Jock Warriner (played by Kenneth Thomson) was meant to sound like Jack L. Warner who was the head of Warner Bros. Studio, the main rival of MGM studio at that time. See more »
To say the least, watching this movie was an interesting experience. For one thing, "The Broadway Melody" predates the Hayes Code, which placed strong restrictions on what could and could not be seen (or heard) in movies. For example, we see numerous shots of Hank and Queenie in various states of undress, including shots of them in their undergarments as they change clothes, and even one of Queenie in the bathtub(!). No, nothing is revealed, but in 1929, it must have been scandalous to see this.
Another interesting aspect of this film is that, despite the fact that it is a "talkie," title cards like those seen in silent films appear throughout. Apparently, MGM wasn't quite sure how to progress the story of the movie as it switched to different sets.
Another thing I noticed was the similarities between some of the characters' names to those of real people. Specifically, "Jock Warriner" sounds like "Jack Warner" (who was head of Warner Bros. Studios) and "Francis Zanfield" is similar to "Florenz Ziegfeld" (of Ziegfeld Follies fame). It would seem the writers didn't have far to go to create some of these characters.
As for the acting, Bessie Love is the best performer in the film. Her character, Hank (yes, a man's name!), is intelligent, strong-willed, determined, and tough-minded, and she deservedly received an Oscar nomination for her performance in this film.
"The Broadway Melody" is a somewhat dated movie (to echo the sentiment of TV Guide), but it is still worthwhile to watch. The script is a little hokey, but the performances (especially from the women) shine through.
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