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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>
A song & dance sister act strives for happiness and fame on the Great White Way.
Hailed as Hollywood's first true musical, THE Broadway MELODY shows its age, but ought to be judged by its own era, not ours. When it premiered in 1929, the movie industry was still releasing its last silent films. To see a hundred-minute movie full of music & talk, with a storyline that made sense, some good acting and genuinely hummable tunes - this was all tremendously exciting. That the film won the Academy Award for Best Picture of the year is hardly surprising. From this source the mighty American Movie Musical would spring.
Some of the acting is a bit awkward, illustrating the rough transition from silents to talkies - the Microphone was a Monster that would completely devour some actors - but most of the performances are adequate. Of special note is Miss Bessie Love. Pert & pretty, as well as a most engaging actress, she dominates the proceedings as the tough, realistic half of the sibling duo. Able to show joy or despair with equal conviction, she amply demonstrates her mastery of the new medium. Her Academy Award nomination was well earned.
As her younger sister, Anita Page is lovely to look at. Her ease with the microphone would increase with her next few acting assignments. Broadway singing star Charles King plays the composer/performer loved by both young ladies and he is quite agreeable in this role. Mr. King had the distinction of being America's first male musical movie star, aside from Jolson, but his film career would be very short, covering only six pictures from 1928 to 1930.
The team of Arthur Freed & Nacio Herb Brown supplied the tunes, including the classics 'The Broadway Melody,' 'You Were Meant For Me' & 'The Wedding of the Painted Doll,' which is unfortunately missing its original Technicolor hues. Mr. Brown can be spotted as a piano player in the film, while movie mavens should recognize James Gleason as a music publisher in the opening sequence and Jed Prouty as the girl's stuttering agent - both uncredited.
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