Harry and Inez are a dance team at the Wonder Bar. Inez loves Harry, but he is in love with Liane, the wife of a wealthy business man. Al Wonder and the conductor/singer Tommy are in love ... See full summary »
Harry and Inez are a dance team at the Wonder Bar. Inez loves Harry, but he is in love with Liane, the wife of a wealthy business man. Al Wonder and the conductor/singer Tommy are in love with Inez. When Inez finds out, that Harry wants to leave Paris and is going to the USA with Liane she kills him. Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <email@example.com>
Al Jolson insisted on singing the opening number Vive la France live on set, as he claimed it would be impossible to do the song justice if was filmed miming to playback, in order to deliver it with the excitement and verve that only he could bring to it. Even though this presented considerable technical problems, Warner Brothers agreed (that's the real studio orchestra actually on set playing the house band of the Wonder Bar) and this is one of the very last musical numbers to be performed live on camera. See more »
[rolls eyes as two men dance off together]
Boys will be boys, woooo!
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The opening credits appear as the respective actors enter the nightclub through a revolving door. See more »
The storyline of this film is fairly ordinary: something of a "Grand Hotel" set in a Paris cabaret in the 20s. What makes it noteworthy -- besides the opportunity to watch Al Jolson in action -- is the jaw-droppingly insensitive closing number, "Goin' to Heaven on a Mule," staged by Busby Berkeley in characteristically over-the-top fashion. A blackface Jolson takes us through a version of heaven with Pork Chop Orchards and Possum Pie Groves, automatic fried chicken, dancing watermelons, and a streetcar going from the "Milky Way to Lenox Ave." And in the midst of it all, a winking Al grins over a copy of a Yiddish newspaper, just to let us all in on the joke.
The number makes the Lincoln's Birthday number in "Holiday Inn" look tame. Even Stepin Fetchit suddenly appears endowed with a singular dignity. Watching it helps one to understand the unhappy history of race relations in this country.
Which is why I think that the film should be seen, if only in order for younger Americans to understand just where all that racial anger comes from. This is our cultural history, and we shouldn't run from it. It ought to be screened in every cultural studies class in America!
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