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A tunesmith, a user and an out-and-out heel, puts the stories of his broken romances into song, turning old love letters into lyrics, and capitalizing on the death of his best friend to turn it into the subject of a tear-jerker that turns into a hit. Written by
In late 1928, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer announced that it had bought Nell Martin's novel "Lord Byron of Broadway" and would be turning it into a musical with William Haines and Bessie Love. However, it went downscale when actually casting the central roles, and the lack of star power and the so unappealing story added up to a flop at the box office. Critics commented about its lackluster casting, and "Lord Byron Of Broadway" quickly sank at the box office. See more »
Originally announced for William Haines and Bessie Love
This backstage musical a la THE Broadway MELODY about love and angst behind the footlights was based on a famously nasty novel by Nell Martin. Haines and Love balked at the idea of playing in such a nasty plot so MGM had it re-written (watered down) and brought in stage stars Charles Kaley and Ethelind Terry, and ingenue Marion Shilling. Creaky and a little slow in places but very interesting for the music and the 2-strip Technicolor.
Kaley (who slightly resembles Haines) plays a user. He latches on to anyone or anything that will get him ahead. He uses women (Shilling and Gwen Lee) as well as his partner (Cliff Edwards). But while he meets his match in the grasping Ethelind Terry (the original star of RIO RITA on Broadway), he's not the one who pays.
One good song: "Should I" which one used in SINGIN'IN THE RAIN decades later. Co-stars included Benny Rubin, Drew Demorest, Eddie Kane, Rita Flynn, and the voice of Jack Benny. Ann Dvorak is in the chorus.
Shilling and Edwards, perhaps, come off best.
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