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This was another Vitaphone musical short I just watched on The Jazz Singer DVD. It stars The Hot Four with George Stoll on the violin. Oh, and the way he plays it is a bit unusual as you'll see if you ever watch this. There's also a female singer named Edythe Flynn who is quite stunning and has such a vibrant voice! Really, this was such a fun musical short to watch I didn't want it to end! Okay, since ten lines is required in order for this review to be submitted, I'll just also say that I've enjoyed so far many of these vintage films I've seen so far from the disc. I'm a big movie and music buff so these really are treats for me. So on that note, The Jazzmanie Quintette gets a high recommendation from me.
An early Vitaphone film, this Warner Brothers short apparently was one
created using a very complicated system through which an accompanying
record was synchronized with a movie camera. There were several serious
setbacks for such a system (such as if a film skipped--it became out of
sync for the rest of the film plus the records quickly wore out--and 20
showings was the normal life-span of the records) and even though it
produced excellent sound, it was eventually replaced. The last of the
Vitaphone films were made in 1930, then the studio switched to the
standard sound-on-film system.
Wow...this short will really set your feet or fingers to tappin'! Within seconds after it began, I found myself tapping my fingers and having a nice time. That's because unlike some bands in Vitaphone shorts, this one is rather comical and jazzy in their interpretations of songs. In some ways, they remind me of the way Chico and Harpo Marx did their songs in their movies--fun and relatively low-brow all the way. In particular, pay attention to George Stoll and his crazy bow and violin! Later, when a lady joins them, the level of fun drops quickly, as the band stops their crazy antics and acts almost 100% normal (yuck!). Still, her next number was much better and the film had me wondering if these guys made any more films--their energy was rather infectious.
Sadly, while this is one of the better Vitaphone shorts, starting in the middle the print is a bit of a mess and it could use some restoration work.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
. . . (the famous 1939 version with Judy Garland, NOT the 2013 remake with Johnny Depp); after being one of THE JAZZMANIA QUINTET, he became music director for MGM studios and winner of an Oscar for ANCHOR'S AWEIGH! in 1945, as well as being credited with writing "additional music" for OZ. A child violin prodigy, Stoll's appearance here apparently was the first of only two on-camera shots of him that still exist today (and this short only lasts 9 minutes, 38.41 seconds). This set concludes with the song "I Ain't Got Nobody Much (and Nobody Cares for Me)," which perhaps can be viewed as portentous, given the postscript to Mr. Stoll's life. The Academy of Motion Pictures frowns on any of its Oscar awards falling into civilian hands (i.e., movie paraphernalia collectors), preferring that each golden statuette be handed down as a family heirloom through the endless hallways of posterity. In the case of Mr. Stoll's lone Oscar, it turned up at an estate sale in September, 2001 (within days of the Twin Towers falling), and actor Kevin Spacey was kind enough to shell out $156,875 to preserve the Academy's honor.
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