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The Broadway Melody (1929) Poster

Trivia

The number "Wedding of the Painted Doll", 307 feet in length, was filmed in two-color Technicolor, but survives only in black and white except for a 16-second Technicolor fragment with the beginning of the number preserved at George Eastman House. The original choreography was rejected and had to be filmed again. Rather than have a live orchestra perform the music again, the new choreography was filmed during a playback of the music, making this to be the first film sequence filmed during a playback of pre-recorded music.
A silent version was also released as many cinemas hadn't acquired sound equipment in 1929.
The first musical to win an Academy Award for Best Picture; however, at this time, this award was given by season, not by calendar year, so, technically, the award was for Best Picture of the 1928-1929 season, which ran from September 1928 to August 1929. Other important productions of that calendar year were released between September and December 1929, and so would have been in competition the following "season" which ran from September 1929 through August 1930.
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.
This movie was MGM's first all-talking picture, and it was the first sound film to win Oscar Best Picture.
The first film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. The category of Best Picture was introduced in the second annual Academy Awards in 1930, whereas the first in 1929 had two similar categories, "Best Picture, Production" (awarded to Wings (1927)) and "Best Picture, Unique and Artistic Production" (awarded to Sunrise (1927)).
1929's top grossing film.
The first film to win Best Picture without winning any other Academy Awards.
The first all-talking musical feature. Also the first musical to spawn sequels (three more Broadway Melody films would appear between 1935 and 1940).
Early musicals tended to be just filmed vaudeville performances. The Broadway Melody (1929) broke with this tradition by actually incorporating musical numbers into its plot.
The first sound film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.
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Followed by Broadway Melody of 1936 (1935), Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937) and Broadway Melody of 1940 (1940). Another film in the series was planned, "Broadway Melody of 1943" starring Eleanor Powell and Gene Kelly. However, that project was abandoned, and a dance number filmed by Eleanor Powell was edited into Thousands Cheer (1943).
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MGM's first musical.
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The first production to use pre-recorded music on its soundtrack, which is the standard in Hollywood today.
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As of 2016, this is the lowest rated Best Picture winner on the movie review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes with a score of 35%.
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The film featured an inserted Technicolor sequence which is now preserved only in black and white except for a short fragment from the beginning of the sequence.
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The film was originally planned for Rosetta Duncan and Vivian Duncan (aka the Duncan Sisters), but they were unavailable, so Bessie Love and Anita Page won the roles of the Mahoney Sisters.
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Bessie Love won the role of Hank on the strength of her Vaudeville act in which she played a ukulele. She won a best-actress Oscar nomination for her efforts and a contract at MGM.
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Anita Page was already under contract at MGM when she was picked to play Queenie.
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This film was first telecast in Philadelphia Sunday 31 March 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6) and in San Francisco Sunday 22 June 1958 on KGO (Channel 7). Major market telecasts were otherwise few and far between at this time, because of its age, and the relative obscurity of its leading players, leading to strong sponsor resistance.
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Jock Warriner played by Kenneth Thomson shows a close-up of his calling card to Queenie twice (starting at 0:50:25 on the Warner Home Video DVD, and at 1:22:36). That card has his name imprinted as Jacques Warriner. That French first name translates correctly to James, not Jack. That lessens a claim that the character name refers to studio competitor, Jack Warner.
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Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
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