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William K. Howard
Johnny Mack Brown
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
Lon Chaney had just signed a new three picture a year deal with MGM when he was asked to do a cameo in the all-star film. Chaney agreed if it would count as one of his three contracted pictures and he would be paid his regular fee for the bit. As his salary would have eaten up most of the film's budget, the part was played by Gus Edwards with a mask and costume from "London after Midnight." Chaney was not happy that his name was exploited with the song, "Lon Chaney Will Get You if You Don't Watch Out." When he died in 1930, the sequence was deleted from existing prints out of respect but was later restored. 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 »
The egg trick is OUT! But, nevertheless, we will show YOU how to put a large cake into OBLIVION!
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THE Hollywood REVUE OF 1929 allows some important Silent stars to exercise their vocal chords.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Hollywood's mightiest film studio, bowed to the inevitability of sound with this cinematic variety show which highlighted performances from most of their top talent. (Conspicuous by their absence are Garbo, Chaney & Novarro, each of whom would make their talkie debut elsewhere.) Like all the other studios, it was vitally important for box-office reasons that MGM establish the viability of their top performers in the new medium, even though some of those appearing here would find their film careers swept away almost immediately.
This should be looked on as a representative of its time. Much of the humor is now flat and a few of the performances sag badly, but it should be remembered that this is a cinematic collection of scared individuals, desperate to make good in the frightening new world of talk.
Naturally, MGM's own in-house composers are heavily relied upon in the film, with the tunes of Nacio Herb Brown & Arthur Freed and Joe Goodwin & Gus Edwards much in evidence.
Highlights include songs by Marie Dressler, a dance by Buster Keaton and Cliff Edwards' "Singing in the Rain."
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