This, along with 4 other Metro Movietone Revues, is available on THE Broadway MELODY DVD. My comments are only about this first one. It's a 14 minute presentation of four musical acts, without a live audience. The MC is the very effeminate Harry Rose. The program starts with the diminutive, androgynous singer Grace Rogers singing a song I couldn't recognize. Mr. Rose introduces each act saying they will sing a made up "humorous" song title.
Then the team of Gus Van and Joe Schenck sing "Stay Out of the South (If You Want to Miss a Heaven on Earth)"; one of many examples of the sub-genre of "idyllic South" songs, usually sung in a fake Negro accent. Sample line "If you don't like darkies hummin' - if you don't like banjos strummin' - stay out of the south". No wonder "Strange Fruit" was such a shock.
The MC then does a humorous number about "Frankfurter Sandwiches". Last is the Capitolines, a small orchestra, doing what seems like a medley of themes - that was the number I liked best.
I have 37 CDs of music from the 1920's. Louis Armstrong, Carter Family, Duke Ellington, Jimmie Rodgers, Bessie Smith - their music is remembered - for a reason. The average popular tunes you might have heard on a stage in that time have been mostly forgotten - also for a reason. I'd rate this entertainment a 4. I will say it sounds a little more appealing if you watch it right after THE Broadway MELODY, immersing yourself somewhat in that musical era's frame of mind.
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