|Index||3 reviews in total|
A superior short from Joe Henabery, featuring several good night club acts, including 'Bazooka' Bob Burns a popular performer of the period: a hillbilly Will Rogers with a homemade trombone he called a 'bazooka'. No nightclub ever featured this array of talent, but as a short variety show a lot of fun.
The Vitaphone division of Warner Brothers was mostly devoted to
producing sound shorts--both BEFORE "The Jazz Singer" debuted and
through much of the 1930s. The acts in these shorts mostly consisted of
night club acts, vaudeville entertainers and a few were soon to be
stars being given their chance in these shorts (such as June Allyson).
In "Rooftops of Manhattan" you have a nightclub supposedly set atop a
huge skyscraper and act after act come and go on the screen...mostly of
the nightclub quality. Most of the acts are pleasant enough but not
especially memorable or super-talented. And, because of this, you've
probably never heard of any of the acts. If you are curious, check the
IMDb page for this film.
So is it worth seeing? Well, if you are a nut about Vitaphone, of course. For the average viewer, however, it's very hit or miss. The comedy of Bob Burns and his 'bazooka' (a homemade trombone sort of contraption) is nice and I enjoyed his mother-in-law jokes. The rest...well they were fine...but nothing special.
Twenty-two amateurish minutes of a Vitaphone "Broadway Brevity" short,
this is strictly cornball stuff that should have been discarded, just
as vaudeville died.
Nothing I can say about the musical interludes except that they fall flat, the dancing is clumsy and the intentionally funny clumsiness of Gil Lamb is barely good for a few chuckles.
It's a sort of "42nd Street" sketch with the rooftops of Manhattan supposedly telling the stories of a disparate group of patrons who enter the club, all with weak back stories that are supposed to give some significance to the "rooftops of Manhattan" theme.
Evidently, there was no Busby Berkeley around to give this a shot in the arm. It's barely watchable and highly forgettable as entertainment.
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