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The Show of Shows (1929)

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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Cast

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

Plot Keywords:

revue | See All (1) »

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)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Vitaphone) (Western Electric Apparatus)

Color:

| (2-strip Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the original review published in 'Variety' 27 November 1929, only 21 minutes of the total running time were not in Technicolor, a 17 minute section of Part One, and a four minute opening of Part Two. See more »

Quotes

Master of Ceremonies: I want to tell you that I have sung and gotten some real recognition. Decorations for singing. Here's one little medal I got for yodeling.
[Points to his German Iron Cross]
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Connections

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

Soundtracks

Pirate Band
(uncredited)
Music by M.K. Jerome
Lyrics by J. Keirn Brennan
Performed by Ted Lewis and others
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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