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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 <email@example.com>
This film originated in an unreleased musical revue, The March of Time (1930), which was to have featured real and recreated vaudeville star acts. When that project was abandoned, MGM tried to salvage the footage by creating a new story into which they could insert footage shot for the earlier project. Some of the inserted footage contained shots of well-known performers who had only been in the earlier film, such as Fay Templeton, Marie Dressler, William Collier Sr., and DeWolf Hopper Sr., but since almost all of the incorporated footage was in long shot, most of these actors, if present, are impossible to identify. A copyright continuity of the film, however, suggests that they are present, even if unrecognizably so. Dressler, however, is mentioned by characters in the movie. See more »
The idea of showing the history of Broadway through a fictional family dynasty that lasts three generations is a very good one. And, in the process, they could have done a nice job of showing the changing styles and tastes of theater. However, the writing really, really, really disappointed in "Broadway to Hollywood"--it should have been a lot better. The problem is that the main characters are too flawed--so much so that you don't like them. The men are womanizers and sometimes alcoholics--full of promises to change but down deep they are simply jerks. The women are long-suffering idiots who tolerate their husbands' infidelities and selfishness--at least most of the time. So, you hate the men and are irritated with the women--not a great recipe for an enjoyable film. In many ways it came off like an amoral and self-centered (and sometimes heavy-handed) version of "Yankee Doodle Dandy"--a film about Broadway that DID work! As a result, "Broadway to Hollywood" was mildly interesting but nothing more.
I have a few final comments that I hope provoke your interest and might make the film, despite its limitations, worth watching. It's interesting that Jackie Cooper received third billing in this film--although he's in the film only about five minutes or so! This is undoubtedly because, at the time, he was a HUGE star at MGM, but I am sure his fans were disappointed in seeing so little of him in the movie. Also, right after Junior's wife dies, watch for a scene with two bizarre clowns. It's practically impossible to tell because of all the makeup, but these are Curly and Moe Howard of the Three Stooges! This is because the Stooges originally signed with MGM but the studio had no idea what to do with them--and stuck them in some very strange films (including some very odd roles in "Dancing Lady"). Finally, watch the very young Mickey Rooney tap dancing (in the scene right after the Stooges). He is simply amazing to watch--especially because this performing dynamo was so young! Wow--what talent.
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