Early British "Screen Revue" with Laughton and Lanchester
Released at the beginning of 1930, this "Musical Revue" featured a number of prominent vaudeville and theatrical British artists of the day in songs, dances, dramatic and musical sketches. Originally, in addition to those listed, it featured The Tiller Girls, Noni and Horace, the Melton Club Orchestra, Strelsky's Cossacks, and The Golden Serenaders. Later that same year a "revised version" was issued, drastically cut and considerably sharpened up since it was first shown, with only the most important items remaining. "Comets" was notable for an early teaming on film of Charles Laughton and his wife Elsa Lanchester. They duetted in "The Ballad of Frankie and Johnnie," a repeat for celluloid of a performance they had given of this number in a show called "Riverside Nights" at the Arts Theatre Club, London, in 1928. In 1934, when Laughton and Lanchester had found fame as Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves in "The Private Life of Henry VIII", their "Comets" duet was extracted and shown in America as a 7-minute 'Talking Short' entitled "Frankie and Johnnie". 'Variety' commented that this brief 'short' was a "slovenly produced version of the popular song" but that although Laughton "displays artistry in spite of the drivel he is compelled to sing", the critic found Elsa Lanchester "wild both as to voice and action."
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