Harriet and Queenie Mahoney, a vaudeville act, come to Broadway, where their friend Eddie Kerns needs them for his number in one of Francis Zanfield's shows. Eddie was in love with Harriet, but when he meets Queenie, he falls in love to her, but she is courted by Jock Warriner, a member of the New Yorker high society. It takes a while till Queenie recognizes, that she is for Jock nothing more than a toy, and it also takes a while till Harriet recognizes, that Eddie is in love with Queenie. Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This was not planned as MGM's initial foray into talking pictures. That distinction was earmarked for a film version of the popular stage musical "The Five O'Clock Girl," which was co-produced by MGM and William Randolph Hearst as a vehicle for Marion Davies. But Davies had never spoken on film, let alone sung and danced, and the sound-on-disc technology was not yet perfected. The resulting footage led to a fatal clash of wills between the studio and Hearst, who shelved the film in 1928, thus leading MGM to put its weight behind The Broadway Melody (1929). Ironically, Charles King was brought to MGM from New York expressly to partner Davies in The Five O'Clock Girl (1928), and he was immediately transferred over to The Broadway Melody (1929) once the Davies vehicle was aborted. See more »
[Instructions to the piano player]
Now, give us a pick-up for an introduction and a couple of choruses. And swell to the finish. But you follow us, not us you.
See more »
Even though the occasional subtitle appears like training wheels on a bicycle with The Broadway Melody sound had finally arrived to tell the story of a movie. Though the movies had learned to talk, the players hadn't quite gotten down acting with a microphone instead of exaggerated gestures to make a point.
Everybody was overacting that year, you ought to see Mary Pickford's Best Actress performance in this same year. In fact she beat out Bessie Love who did a very good job as one of the aspiring Mahoney sisters for stardom on the Great White Way.
Bessie Love and Anita Page play the Mahoney Sisters who come to Broadway after being sent for by an old friend Charles King. King's had his eye on Love, but now little sister Page is all grown up. And she's also attracting Broadway wolf, Kenneth Thomson.
Charles King was a popular Broadway leading man of the day, his career going back to 1908 there. Such people as George M. Cohan, Irving Berlin, and Vincent Youmans had songs introduced by him. King had a nice singing and dancing act. He never really took to the big screen, but introducing Broadway Melody and You Were Meant For Me should qualify him for some screen immortality.
The plot is your usual backstage story, but the greatness of Broadway Melody was the singing and dancing. The possibilities of the screen musical hadn't been fully explored, it would take Busby Berkeley to do that in a few years. In its numbers Broadway Melody is a photographed stage musical.
But not a bad one at that. And our second Best Picture Oscar.
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