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The Show of Shows (1929)

 |  Musical  |  29 December 1929 (USA)
5.9
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 215 users  
Reviews: 21 user

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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Title: The Show of Shows (1929)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Frank Fay ...
Himself - 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 ...
Himself - 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
...
Himself - '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 ...
Himself - Performer in 'Just for One Hour of Love' Number
Edit

Storyline

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

Genres:

Musical

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 December 1929 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Parada das Maravilhas  »

Box Office

Budget:

$850,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Vitaphone) (Western Electric Apparatus)

Color:

| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film contains John Barrymore's only screen appearance as Richard III, one of his greatest stage successes. However, the excerpt is not from the play "Richard III", but from William Shakespeare's "Henry VI: Part III", a "prequel" to "Richard III" in which he also appears. See more »

Connections

Featured in Busby Berkeley: Going Through the Roof (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
Mainly of interest to students of early sound films
28 September 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It is very hard to rate this film. As entertainment value for 21st century viewers, it fails miserably. However, for the student of early sound films and history, it is a jewel. "Show of Shows" was a revue filmed to compete with MGM's successful "Hollywood Revue of 1929", which still survives intact complete with its Technicolor scenes.

The purpose of the all-star revue was to showcase a particular studio's silent stars in speaking roles, and show that they could make the transition. However, Warner Bros. seems to have forgotten this and employs many acts and stars that they didn't even have under long-term contract such as Ben Turpin, Lloyd Hamilton, Beatrice Lillie, and even a marching band. Meanwhile, their biggest talent - Al Jolson - is noticeably absent. Even at a high salary he could not be compelled to join in. Almost every act is overly long and the film plays like a dozen or so Vitaphone shorts strung together with no continuity. The finale is also overly long, but it is really enjoyable with all of its dance numbers.

The highlights of the film are two numbers from Winnie Lightner - "Pingo Pongo" and "Singin in the Bathtub", a couple of numbers with Nick Lucas, John Barrymore performing Shakespeare, and the Chinese Fantasy "Li Po Li" with Nick Lucas and Myrna Loy. This last number is the only part of the film that survives in Technicolor, and it really is quite attractive. Reasonably enough, the players in these good acts were long-term Warner Bros. stars so perhaps the director knew how to play to their strengths since he was familiar with them.

This film acts as a snapshot at an odd point in film history - the year 1929, which was the bridge year between two eras - the silent and sound eras, and the roaring 20's and the Great Depression. Just two years later this same film would have had an entirely different cast, as Warner Bros. would abandon its silent era stars and the stars they hired just to produce the early musicals in favor of those stars that gave Warner Bros. its distinctive urban look and feel - James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Edward G. Robinson, and others.


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