Up 62,249 this week

Hollywood Cavalcade (1939)

Passed  -  Comedy | Drama | History  -  13 October 1939 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.5/10 from 249 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 5 critic

Starting in 1913 movie director Connors discovers singer Molly Adair. As she becomes a star she marries an actor, so Connors fires them. She asks for him as director of her next film. Many silent stars shown making the transition to sound.


, (uncredited) , 1 more credit »


(screenplay), (story), 4 more credits »
0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

Related News

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 1540 titles
created 27 Aug 2011
a list of 1655 titles
created 18 Sep 2011
a list of 5148 titles
created 29 May 2012
a list of 1620 titles
created 05 Jul 2012
a list of 5353 titles
created 1 month ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Hollywood Cavalcade (1939)

Hollywood Cavalcade (1939) on IMDb 6.5/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Hollywood Cavalcade.

User Polls


Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Elmer Butts is a contestant in a radio amateur hour show hoping to win the first price... by dancing and juggling!

Directors: Buster Keaton, Charles Lamont
Stars: Buster Keaton, Diana Lewis, Harold Goodwin
Go West (1925)
Comedy | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

With little luck at keeping a job in the city a New Yorker tries work in the country and eventually finds his way leading a herd of cattle to the West Coast.

Director: Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Howard Truesdale, Kathleen Myers
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Roscoe, his wife and his mother-in-law run a seaside resort. Buster plays a gardener who puts out a fire started by Roscoe, then a delivery boy who fights with the cook St. John, then a cop.

Directors: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, Buster Keaton
Stars: Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, Buster Keaton, Al St. John
Mixed Magic (1936)
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A professional magician, "The Great Spumoni", fires his male assistant and his female assistant insists that he hire another one. The young man he hires turns out to have no aptitude whatsoever for a magic act. Complications ensue.

Directors: Raymond Kane, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Eddie Lambert, Marlyn Stuart
Free and Easy (1930)
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A bumbling manager tries to get a small town beauty contest winner into the movies.

Director: Edward Sedgwick
Stars: Buster Keaton, Anita Page, Trixie Friganza
One Run Elmer (1935)
Short | Action | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Elmer owns a gas station out in the California desert. Soon he has a business rival in Jim, who opens up another station, and is also trying to steal Elmer's girlfriend. She plays both ... See full summary »

Director: Charles Lamont
Stars: Buster Keaton, Lona Andre, Dewey Robinson
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Musical remake of 1940 "Shop Around the Corner" by Lubitch.

Directors: Robert Z. Leonard, Buster Keaton
Stars: Judy Garland, Van Johnson, S.Z. Sakall
The Goat (1921)
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A series of adventures begins when an accident during photographing causes Buster to be mistaken for Dead Shot Dan, the evil badguy.

Directors: Buster Keaton, Malcolm St. Clair
Stars: Buster Keaton, Virginia Fox, Joe Roberts
Speak Easily (1932)
Certificate: Passed Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A timid professor inherits a large sum of money and decides to fund a terrible musical.

Director: Edward Sedgwick
Stars: Buster Keaton, Jimmy Durante, Ruth Selwyn
Certificate: Passed Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Two men decide to cash in on the end of Prohibition by selling watered down beer.

Director: Edward Sedgwick
Stars: Buster Keaton, Jimmy Durante, Roscoe Ates
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

After literally walking to Canada from England, Buster takes a cross-country trip across Canada on a railway motorcar (speeder).

Directors: Gerald Potterton, Buster Keaton, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Buster Keaton
Blue Blazes (1936)
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Buster becomes a fireman, but unfortunately not a particularly good one. He has a chance to prove himself, however, when three women are trapped in a burning building.

Directors: Raymond Kane, Buster Keaton
Stars: Buster Keaton, Arthur L. Jarrett, Marlyn Stuart


Cast overview, first billed only:
Molly Adair
Michael Linnett Connors
J. Edward Bromberg ...
Dave Spingold
Alan Curtis ...
Nicky Hayden
Pete Tinney
Jed Prouty ...
Chief of Police
Buster Keaton
Lyle P. Stout
George Givot ...
Al Jolson-Recreation of Jazz Singer Scene (as Mr. Al Jolson)
Eddie Collins ...
Keystone Cop
Hank Mann ...
Keystone Cop
Heinie Conklin ...
Keystone Cop
James Finlayson ...
Keystone Cop
Chick Chandler ...
Assistant Director


Michael Linnett Connors takes Molly Adair from Broadway understudy to 1913 Hollywood star. Although she is in love with him, she marries her co-star reckoning wrongly Connors thinks of her only in terms of movies. He fires her in pique, apparently terminally damaging his career. Written by Jeremy Perkins <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | History


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

13 October 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Assim Nasceu o Cinema  »

Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)


| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Many film historians believe this movie was based off the real life story of Mack Sennett and Mabel Normand. Darryl F. Zanuck actually hired Mack Sennett to serve as a technical advisor for this film. See more »


Featured in Buster Keaton: A Hard Act to Follow (1987) See more »


Oh, You Beautiful Doll
Music by Nat Ayer
Lyrics by A. Seymour Brown
Played as accompaniment for a silent film
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

The Silent Years
7 September 2007 | by (Kissimmee, Florida) – See all my reviews

"Hollywood Cavalcade" (1939), directed by Irving Cummings, became 20th Century-Fox's answer to David O. Selznick's ever popular and often imitated Hollywood story, "A Star is Born" (1937) featuring Janet Gaynor and Fredric March. As with "A Star is Born," "Hollywood Cavalcade" begins with opening titles in type written form on a movie script, and, with the exception of theatrical screenings of silent comedies and re-enactment of "The Jazz Singer," the entire production is in Technicolor. Unlike "A Star is Born," however, the photo-play goes back further in time, in fact, during the silent years of motion pictures instead of a ten year cycle concluding to the present day. While one might expect Gaynor to appear in this "Star is Born" imitation set during the cycle where her career actually began, the surprise turns out to be Alice Faye, better known for musicals, whose screen career started in 1934, assuming the role as a silent movie queen. Don Ameche, on the other hand, minus his famous mustache in the early portion of the story, is appropriately cast as Faye's guide and director.

As for the fictional account to an existing era, the plot begins in 1913 where Michael Linnett Connors (Don Ameche) and his partner, Dave Spingold (J. Edward Bromberg) come to New York City where they attend a stage production of "The Man Who Came Back" featuring Molly Adair (Alice Faye), an understudy filling in for Trixie Farrell, whose come up with laryngitis. Although Molly's performance comes across as bad, it does attract some attention by Connors, who offers her a studio contract in "pictures" for $100 a week. At first she declines, but after much persuasion, she takes him up on his offer and heads for Hollywood. Molly's screen test for Globe Pictures makes an impression, especially in a slapstick comedy starring Buster Keaton where she accidentally gets a pie in her face that has audiences roaring in laughter. Pie throwing comedies become a sensation, but eventually fade for more sophisticated productions. As years pass, Mike attempts new ideas, making Molly as top star in dramatic roles. While Molly has fallen in love with Michael, his mind is mostly on his work, creativity and his own movie studio bearing his name. He realizes his error too late when Molly marries Nicky Hayden (Alan Curtis), her leading man (who was discovered working in a gas station). Having lost Molly, whose career is at its peak, Michael falls to hard times, with no movie offers due to his big budget costs and bad temperament towards his actors and crew. With the 1927 premiere of "The Jazz Singer" that becomes the talk of Hollywood, putting an end to the silent era, closing a chapter to old careers and opening the door for the new, the studio is faced with the dilemma as to what to do with Molly's unfinished silent production of "Common Clay" with Michael now back in the director's chair.

A great idea to an old story, "Hollywood Cavalcade" is a fun film to sit through, full of nostalgia and re-enactment of how silent movies, especially comedies, were made. Guest appearances by silent comics now past their prime including Buster Keaton, Ben Turpin and Chester Conklin are a plus; Eddie Collins, Hank Mann, Heinie Conklin, Snub Pollard and James Finlayson adding to the enjoyment as The Keystone Kops; with added bonuses of comedy director Mack Sennett delivering a testimonial at the Cocoanut Grove; Lee Duncan, the man who discovered Rin-Tin-Tin, the first dog superstar, as played by Rinty Jr.; as well as the legendary Al Jolson appearing briefly in the Sabbath prayer sequence of "Kol Nidre" from "The Jazz Singer" during the latter part of the story. Up to then, the fun has dimmed due to melodramatics and tragic circumstances that take up the second half with harsh realities taking place during the close of an age of silent movie making.

In the supporting cast, look for the familiar faces of Stuart Erwin as Pete Tinney, the cameraman; Donald Meek as Lyle P. Stout; Jed Prouty, Chick Chandler, Irving Bacon, Willie Fung, and much more.

Because Alice Faye was a specialized singer, it's a wonder why the screenwriters didn't think of having her perform in an early sound musical? A missed opportunity put to better advantage years with MGM's "Singin' in the Rain" (1952) starring Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds. As for "Hollywood Cavalcade," it's sadly forgotten due to lack of revivals, even with Technicolor, though it would have been more authentic with black and white photography. Out of circulation for many years, it did have some repeated showings on American Movie Classicscable channel in 2001, followed by the Fox Movie Channel where it can currently be seen and studied by film enthusiasts. Thanks to its authentic recreation of a bygone era and a grand first hour or so, "Hollywood Cavalcade" is recommended viewing. (***)

5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
DVD release? rsyung
Automobile used in Hollywood Cavalcade touristk8
The Pie Scene georgestrum
Discuss Hollywood Cavalcade (1939) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: