It's 1929. The studio gave the cinema its voice gave offered the audiences a chance to see their favorite actors and actresses from the silent screen era to see and for the first time can ... See full summary »
Sally was an orphan who got her name from the telephone exchange where she was abandoned as a baby. In the orphanage, she discovered the joy of dancing and has been practicing since. ... See full summary »
John Francis Dillon
Joe E. Brown
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,... See full summary »
Ruby falls in love with small-time con man Eddie. During a botched blackmail scheme, Eddie accidentally kills the man they were setting up. Eddie takes off and Ruby is sent to a reformatory for two years.
Lila Beaumont is an understudy in a Broadway musical. Her boyfriend, George Shelby, arrives in New York hoping to take Lila back home with him to marry. George buys a majority interest in ... See full summary »
Ayoung kid from Upstate New York named Eddie (Landis) is conned into fronting for a speakeasy on Broadway. Throughout the con there is an inevitable chorus-girl with a heart of gold (... See full summary »
Betty Compson more than makes up for sound, photography
When I saw "On With the Show" on Turner Classic Movies, I was very disappointed in the poor quality of the picture and the sound, but was very pleased by some clever dialog, although realizing some of it was not so clever, and I was absolutely in awe of the performance of Betty Compson.
She was not only lovely just to look at, in her big scene near the end, she stole the show.
She was more than charming -- she was adorable.
Joe E. Brown's presence in a movie is usually enough to make me skip it but here he is toned down considerably, is not so silly, and he performs an eccentric dance with a surprising athleticism. I actually liked him in "On With the Show."
Sally O'Neil was surprising. She sounded at first like some precocious child, with little-girlish voice, but when this caterpillar bursts out of her cocoon, she is a star.
One other aspect of this film is almost unique for its time: The cast is integrated. Right there on stage are black dancers with white dancers, although to be accurate there is not interaction between white and black. Still, it was a start.
Ethel Waters made what was apparently her film debut, and surely was an immediate hit since she was already a star in other media.
A 21st century viewer of "On With the Show" must consider context, remember the times in which it was made, during the changeover from silents to talkies, to be able to appreciate it fully.
There were lots of great individual talents involved, and a viewer should try to ignore the poor framing of the scenes and the poor quality of the sound, at least some of which might be because of the age or even generation of the print.
But appreciate the historicity as well as the talent, and you will enjoy "On With the Show" as much as I did.
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