What can I say about Golden Dawn? To describe it as jawdroppingly, breathtakingly, deliriously bad does not come close to doing it the justice it so richly deserves. Film aficionados describe it affectionately as The Second Worst Musical Ever Made (the first being the legendary Howdy Broadway), yet even that hallowed title cannot prepare you for the cheesy wonders in store. Racist, sexist...did I mention racist?...this is a film that must be seen to be believed, and even then you'll wonder if someone slipped you something. The film is based on the semi-hit stage musical of the same name and boasts musical numbers by Oscar Hammerstein, Jr., who really should have known better. From the moment Noah Beery steps on stage in embarrassing blackface to warble an ode to his whip, to the hallucinatory Hymn to Domestic Violence sung (badly) by Marion Byron, to the truly indescribable moment when Vivienne Segal belts out a showstopping "My Bwanna," the laughs just never stop. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wonder who in the hell thought that making a pseudo-Viennese operetta about colonial Africa was a good idea, you'll...but you catch my drift. This movie is available on the Dawn of Sound laserdisc set, but I have decided to hold out for the Collectors Edition Director's Cut DVD with several language tracks, a Making of Golden Dawn documentary, and a whole lot of film-school twaddle on the commentary track. My advice to you is if you insist upon seeing this film-and I cannot recommend it to the faint of heart-do not do so alone! Make sure you are surrounded by friends, and are in a calm, familiar environment. Have oxygen ready and make sure your First Aid kit is fully stocked. It might be best to notify the authorities in advance. I ignored this sage advice for my first viewing and almost swallowed my own tongue. And do not even THINK about popcorn. Golden Dawn is a full-on three martini film. Better yet, just chug the gin from the bottle.
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