The road-show troupe of a top Broadway show go cross-country while taking the audience along on the on-stage scenes as well as what happens and is happening back stage of the production. ...
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The road-show troupe of a top Broadway show go cross-country while taking the audience along on the on-stage scenes as well as what happens and is happening back stage of the production. The spectacular dancing ensembles and colorful costumes and pulchritude on-stage offers a contrasting background to the drabness of the backstage, where joy, sorrow, tragedies, deception, and romance are intertwined.Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
In its original format, the film contained 1249 feet of 2-strip Technicolor footage which, unfortunately, is either lost or unavailable at the present time; this unhappily includes the "Everybody Tap" number with Bessie Love and Charlie King at the beginning of Reel #5, "Love Ain't Nothin' But the Blues" with Charles King in blackface, a reprise of "My Dynamic Personality" by Marie Dressler and the "Happy Days Are Here Again" finale in Reel #11. See more »
Say, where's Terry? Did you lose him in that chop suey joint?
Oh, I guess he couldn't find the place. He'll maybe wind up in some chink laundry lookin' for me.
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"Chasing Rainbows" (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1929-30), directed by Charles F. Reisner, was the studio's attempt in duplicating the success of its very first all sound musical titled "The Broadway Melody" (1929), that won the Academy Award as Best Picture. To review "Chasing Rainbows," one cannot help but compare this to "The Broadway Melody," a backstage story revolving around a sister act (Bessie Love and Anita Page) that nearly breaks up on account of their love for the same leading man (Charles King). Aside from the re-teaming of Love and King, this new edition, set in small town theaters during a road show tour instead of the Broadway theater district, substitutes troublesome leading ladies over kid sisters to complicate matters. Love, whose climatic crying scene from "The Broadway Melody" that earned her an Academy Award nomination as Best Actress, attempts doing same thing here with her moment of hysterics, this time with laughter. As much as the situations are basically the same, the results aren't. Although the film's title might indicate an old favorite of "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows" as one of its highlight production numbers, it actually began production as "Road Show" a title more appealing to the plot at hand.
Following the opening title credits over the visual of a passing train, and minus any underscoring, the plot gets underway with the closing of the road show performance of "Good-bye Broadway" where the cast gathers together in the big finale. Eddie Brock (Jack Benny), the stage manager, gets the company ready for their next engagement in another town. Terry Fay (Charles King), the leading man, is blind by the true love of Carlie Seymour (Bessie Love), his partner of five years. Upset over Peggy (Gwen Lee) quitting the show and leaving with another man, Terry threatens suicide until Brock acquires Daphne Wayne (Nita Martan) as the show's new leading lady. Terry falls for Daphne, who, in reality, is using him for her own professional gain. After Carlie discovers Daphne carrying on an affair with Don Cordova (Eddie Phillips), her former leading man, she tries to warn Terry, who refuses to listen. Even after he realizes Carlie accusations are correct, Terry, still blinded by Daphne's presence, marries her, complicating matters all around.
For the motion picture soundtrack, songs (*indicating two-strip Technicolor sequences) include: "Happy Days Are Here Again" (sung by chorus); "Pure But Honest" (sung by Marie Dressler); "Lucky Me and Lovable You" (sung by Charles King); "Do I Know What I'm Doing?" (sung by Nita Martan, reprized by Marie Dressler and Polly Moran); *"Everybody Tap" (performed by Bessie Love); *"Love Ain't Nothing But the Blues" (sung by Charles King); "Lucky Me and Lovable You" (reprised by Charles King); *"My Dynamic Personality" (sung by Marie Dressler) and *"Happy Days Are Here Again" (sung by chorus). Considering its bright score, only "Happy Days Are Here Again," twice performed briefly, remains relatively known to this day. "Lucky Me and Lovable You," the film's best song, used for underscoring during the tender moments between King and Love, did not recapture the similar mood and qualities of "You Were Meant For Me" that was introduced in "The Broadway Melody." While "Chasing Rainbows" improves technically over its primitive production style of "The Broadway Melody," which simply lacked the brighter moments supplied by Marie Dressler and Polly Moran in their usual feuding pal roles. Dressler, shortly before achieving super stardom following her Academy Award winning performance in "Min and Bill" (1930), not only gets a chance to sing, but shares a drunken scene with Moran, cast here as the wardrobe woman. Fans of Jack Benny's radio and TV show can get an early glimpse of the popular comedian before reaching 39 playing a straight man providing some funny one-liners here and there.
Of all the musicals produced during the early sound period, "Chasing Rainbows" is truly a forgotten one. Due to the missing two-strip Technicolor musical sequences, shortening its original length from 100 minutes to 86, "Chasing Rainbows" has never been televised, at least until the era of Turner Classic Movies following its 1984 premiere where this musical became part as its very own film preservation series where still photos for the missing sequences were inserted with sub-titles indicating its actions filling in the void. With that said, "Chasing Rainbows," in spite of Charlie King's occasional annoying character portrayal, proves not only one of the more worthier rediscoveries of the early sound era, but a good companion piece to the much better known "Broadway Melody." (** curtain calls)
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