The Rogue Song (1930)
It’s 1928, and the success of Warner Bros’ musical, The Jazz Singer, has ushered in a new age of talking pictures. Audiences adored it, and it was sink or swim time for MGM. Suddenly, the silent cinema rule book was thrown out of the window and numerous opportunities opened up in Hollywood.
Composers were in demand, and song and script writers, along with voice coaches, were needed more than ever. White Shadows In The South Seas was the first MGM sound picture, although not a talkie. Originally filmed as a silent picture, MGM realised that sound wasn’t just a passing fad and, like most studios at the time, swiftly added sound effects to its music. But they did make one character speak – and that was Leo the lion,
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On location: Slap bang in the middle of leafy Beckenham, by the war memorial and next to Kebab Ye. Right opposite a pub that reviewers have called "grubby" and "racist". You can't miss it.
Crowd scene: Happily diverse. Teenagers, young families, couples and – when The King's Speech is on – every single pensioner within a 50-mile radius.
Back story: Originally a single-screen cinema, restaurant and ballroom, the Grade II-listed building was converted into three screens in the 1970s and then became a six-screen building when Odeon took over in 2001. The first movie shown there was The Rogue Song, notable for marking Laurel and Hardy's first appearance in colour.
Show business: Typical Odeon fare.
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