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Ted and Lulu Hackett are vaudeville's The Hacketts, a fairly successful song-and-dance team. They bring their son Ted Jr. up in the business and he soon eclipses them. When the son is offered a starring role on Broadway, he arranges for his parents to join him in the show, but Ted Sr. is embarrassed to learn that he and Lulu are there purely in order to keep their son happy. They return to vaudeville, only to find that their duet act has gone stale with time. Meanwhile, Ted Jr. has married and had a son, but he has also fallen victim to drink. Tragedy strikes the Hackett family, and only the march of time will tell whether Ted III will repeat the failings of his father and grandfather. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
There are basically two tales of interest behind this unremarkable maudlin melodrama about three generations of vaudevillians, the second of which succumbs to drink and the third of which succumbs to sloth as well.
The first tale is why this film was made in the first place. In late 1930 MGM producer Harry Rapf was making a sequel to the Hollywood Revue of 1929. Unfortunately, musicals went out of fashion before the movie was finished and MGM had to shelve the project. Thus MGM was saddled with some very expensive musical footage and no movie. This film was an attempt to try to fit a story around some of that footage and recoup some of the losses. That is why you'll find long and often elaborate production numbers that don't really fit the plot placed awkwardly at points along the movie.
The second tale of interest is how this movie was considered by Buster Keaton to be "the final insult" hurled at him by MGM after they unceremoniously fired him this same year - 1933. He thought that the story of the third generation of Hacketts - Ted Hackett III - looked just a little too autobiographical to be a coincidence. Ted the 3rd is the member of a famed vaudeville family who gets recruited to go into motion pictures. Once he gets to Hollywood he begins to drink heavily - a vice that his father also had - and his drinking causes him to be late to the movie set if he even bothers to show up at all. Buster was furious about this movie, and nobody could convince him his own problems with MGM were not at the foundation of the plot and that it was simply an attempt to salvage "The March of Time" alias The Hollywood Revue of 1930.
Take these points of interest away from the film and there really is not much to see here other than Morgan and Brady's excellent performance as the senior generation of Hacketts who see "the march of time" from the height of vaudeville's popularity through the arrival of talking pictures which renders their profession obsolete.
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