Hildy Johnson, newspaper reporter, is engaged to Peggy Grant and planning to move to New York for a higher paying advertising job. The court press room is full of lame reporters who invent ... See full summary »
Big-time (so they think) vaudeville stars Stanley and Oliver take the train to Pottsville, their next booking. On board, they bumble into the wrong sleeping compartment, startling a ... See full summary »
It's Prohibition, and the boys wind up behind bars after Stan sells some of their home-brew beer to a policeman. In prison, Stan's loose tooth keeps getting him in trouble, because it ... See full summary »
Edna marries Texan Sam Gladney, operator of a wheat mill. Edna discovers by chance how the law treats children who are without parents and decides to do something about it. She opens a home... See full summary »
There is a big charity function at the house of Mrs. Cheyney and a lot of society is present. With her rich husband, deceased, rich old Lord Elton and playboy Lord Arthur Dilling are both ... See full summary »
Conrad Nagel, representing the Hollywood movie community, and Jack Benny, representing the Broadway stage community, act as the interlocutors of a musical comedy revue. A plethora of chorus boys and girls are featured front and center in some of the song and dance numbers, and provide back-up to some other acts. But the revue primarily is a vehicle to highlight a cavalcade of Hollywood movie and Broadway stage stars. One early running gag has both Nagel and Benny playing straight man to Cliff Edwards, who just wants a nice introduction to his act. Edwards would return later to be featured along with the Brox Sisters in one of the highlights of the second act, a production number around the song "Singin' in Rain", complete with rain soaked stage. A reprise of the song with the entire cast acts as the revue's finale. Written by
Renée Adorée was supposed to have appeared in a skit with Jack Benny, but her French accent and declining health prevented her from doing so. See more »
After Cliff Edwards' opening number, one of the chorus girls in the background is chatting away with the girl next to her, when a sudden cut appears, and the same girl is now stone still (apparently the director told her in between to stop talking, and pay attention). See more »
By yonder blessed moon, I swear. Which tips with silver all these fruit-tree tops...
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I love this film. I've commented before but just saw it again and have a few more "insights." It seems I like it better with each viewing. Along with The Broadway Melody and 42nd Street, one of the great early musicals--films that set the style and standard for decades to come. Yes there is debate as to the singing and dancing of Joan Crawford and Marion Davies, but there are great (and lesser but charming) moments from Marie Dressler, Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Buster Keaton, John Gilbert (I'm Utsnay about Ouyay), Norma Shearer, Cliff Edwards, the swell Brox Sisters, Conrad Nagel, Charles King, Polly Moran, Bessie Love, William Haines, Anita Page, the snappy June Purcell, Lionel Barrymore, Gus Edwards, a sly Jack Benny, and a slap-happy Ann Dvorak. Who could resist.
Oddities for a talkie include silent bits by Keaton and Laurel (Hardy does all the talking, and some schtick from Karl Dane and George K. Arthur (neither destined for talkie success) during a Benny violin solo. To carry forth the "revue" concept the film is introduced over a live orchestra pit and the intermission sees the musicians taking their seats to reprise the early tunes--Crawford's "Gotta Feelin' for You" chief among them. As noted in other comments, some acts are introed; some are not.
Considering all were singing live (no lip syncing here) the musical numbers are bad at all. The recording (still primitive) hurts a little. Charles King comes off best as a straight singer, and the great Cliff Edwards (as Ukelele Ike) is a treat as the comic singer. Edwards does a straight intro to Singin' in the Rain as well as his signatures falsetto scat. Joan Crawford, who sang in a bunch of early talkies, has a decent if unpolished voice, and her dancing was par for the course for 1929: lively but a little clunky. Remember, movie musicals were new and hadn't really developed a cinematic choreography. Marion Davies' number is the weakest in the film, which is too bad because she was a delightful performer, but singing and dancing weren't her high points. Marie Dressler cannot hit a false note. No matter how badly she mugs and hams it up, she is great. This film also shows hints of what Bessie Love might have done during the 30s with better handling by MGM. And ditto Polly Moran, who was diminished by playing Dressler's foil in a series of early comedies.
The Jack Benny we remember from his 1950s TV show is exactly the same 25 year earlier. All his mannerisms are in place as is his timing. Several parts of the film are very badly edited and sometimes hurt the timing or punchlines of comic bits. William Haines, nearly choking on a licorice button he rips from Benny jacket, is handsome and gracious in a cameo.And Conrad Nagel reveals a not-bad singing voice as he serenades a ravishing Anita Page.
The Singin' in the Rain number rates highest. From the art deco set of Cedric Gibbons to the terrific singing of Cliff Edwards and the Brox Sisters, this number is a true classic. The dancing is simple but effective, the rain effects are ok as is the reflcting "pool." The reprise by the Brox Sisters (all 3 wrapped in 1 raincoat) is wonderful--as is the comic reprise by Dressler, Love, and Moran. Note the arm motions made by the Brox Sisters; they are same as used by Jean Hagen in the 1951 Singin in the Rain.
I love this film.
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