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The Show of Shows (1929)

 |  Musical  |  29 December 1929 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 221 users  
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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 »


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Complete credited cast:
Master of Ceremonies
William Courtenay ...
The Minister - Guillotine Sequence
The Victim - Guillotine Sequence
Hobart Bosworth ...
Executioner - Guillotine Sequence
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Harry Akst ...
Pianist Accompanying Irene Bordoni
Armida ...
Performer in 'Meet My Sister' Number (as Mimi Vendrell)
Johnny Arthur ...
Hero - Performer in 'The Pirate'
Performer in 'The Pirate' Number
Performer in 'Bicycle Built for Two' Number
'Meet My Sister' Presenter
Performer in "The Pirate" Number / Soldier (segment "Rifle Execution")
Performer in 'Meet My Sister' Number
Monte Blue ...
Condemned Man (segment "Rifle Execution")
Irène Bordoni ...
Performer in 'Just for One Hour of Love' Number


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 be heard in a gaudy, grandiose music comedy revue. But also appear actors and actresses from the first 'talkies', stars from Broadway and of course the German shepherd Rin-Tin-Tin. Frank Fay is the host of the more than 70 well-known stars who show various acts. Written by Robert

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

29 December 1929 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Parada das Maravilhas  »

Box Office


$850,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Vitaphone) (Western Electric Apparatus)


| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In once scene, Sid Silvers does an imitation of Al Jolson. Though Jolson was one of the top stars at Warner Brothers in 1929, he is not among the rest of the studio's lineup in this film. See more »


Referenced in Hollywood Hist-o-Rama: John Barrymore (1962) See more »


Dear Little Pup
Music by Ray Perkins
Lyrics by J. Keirn Brennan
Sung briefly by Frank Fay, but interrupted
See more »

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User Reviews

An Attempt To Out-Ziegfeld-Ziegfeld
9 February 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Thanks to Warner Archive, I can once again see this mammoth variety show which throws in everything but the kitchen sink. (The bathtub, however is present.) This film gives screen time to every person who was under contract to Warners at the time. If some of the artists seem unfamiliar to some, it is because they were big in the silent days, and most faded with the popularity of the talkies. There are some truly remarkable artists from the vaudeville era as well. You will be most impressed with Winnie Lightner, who performs two numbers. Also there is that French star, Irene Bordoni who croons a love song in a sexy manner. Perhaps one of the biggest highlights is the two-strip Technicolor "Chinese Fantasy," which has been restored for this version. It is truly beautiful and it stars Myrna Loy and Nick Lucas. Finally, there is the massive "Lady Luck" finale which goes on for nearly a quarter of an hour. If you have seen Ken Russell's 1971 cult-musical The Boy Friend, you will see that Mr. Russell must have been influenced by some of the numbers in The Show of Shows. The costumes as well as some of the choreography reflect this. The Technicolor segment has been perfectly edited into the black-and-white print in a way that is superior to the similarly restored color footage in films like Sally or Mammy. Opening and closing with a red curtain, the number looks like it always belonged there, even in the black-and-white print. In addition, the color is extremely vibrant, and gives one an idea of the tremendous impact the color must have had on 1929 audiences. The Lady Luck finale, featuring pretty young things attached to chandeliers and curtain pulls, certainly gets my vote for the most outrageously lavish production number of 1929. The Warner Brothers wanted something really big to close out the year, and they actually beat MGM here. It would come in the years that followed that MGM would snatch the lavishness crown away from every other studio and retain it until Hollywood's golden age came to a close.

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