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 ... See full summary »
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 »
This is a movie musical from 1930 so expect very static scenes as the sound equipment in those days greatly limited the actors and director. Second, let me caution that the actor in the lead male role and the two actresses in the top female roles are often blushingly amateurish. The director didn't seem to be much help and in a few years he would be at Monogram doing routine programmers.
So what's worthwhile here? First there is the performance of Cliff Edwards, who gets a chance at a full-bodied role and does well. He shows he could be more than a Disney footnote.
But the biggest surprise to me was the fine, natural performance of Benny Rubin. I was so accustomed to him as an aging ethnic comedian that I almost didn't recognize him. The role was flash-flash "Jewish" as he played an employee of a song publisher and he joked about charging the hero interest for a loan. But he was the most natural presence on the screen and he shined as a real human being. The camera loved him at the same time it gave scant grace to the leads in this film.
Rubin is often mentioned as a talented comedian who was limited in Hollywood by the ethnic prejudice. Here we see the very real evidence of what was lost because of that prejudice.
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