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King of Jazz (1930)

Not Rated | | Animation, Comedy, Music | 20 April 1930 (USA)
This revue presents its numbers around the orchestra leader Paul Whiteman, besides that it shows in it's final number that the European popular music are the roots of American popular music... See full summary »

Writer:

Harry Ruskin (comedy sketches)
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Whiteman ... Paul Whiteman
John Boles ... Vocalist ('Song of the Dawn' / 'It Happened in Monterey')
Laura La Plante ... Editor ('Ladies of the Press') / Stenographer ('In Conference') / Quartet Member, 'Nellie'
Jeanette Loff ... Vocalist ('It Happened in Monterey' / 'Bridal Veil' / 'A Bench in the Park')
Glenn Tryon ... Executive ('In Conference') / Unmarried Husband / Husband ('A Dash of Spice')
William Kent William Kent ... General ('All Noisy on the Eastern Front') / Goldfish Owner ('Oh! Forevermore!') / Unmarried Couple's Offspring / Meek Husband ('Do Things For You') / Man in Closet ('A Dash of Spice')
Slim Summerville ... Automobile Owner ('Springtime') / Rear End of Horse / Charles
The Rhythm Boys ... Vocal Group
Kathryn Crawford ... Fourth Reporter ('Ladies of the Press') / Wife ('A Dash of Spice')
Carla Laemmle ... Chorine (as Beth Laemmle)
Stanley Smith ... Bridegroom ('Bridal Veil' / 'A Bench in the Park')
George Chiles George Chiles ... Dancer ('It Happened in Monterey' / Vocalist 'A Bench in the Park' / 'Ragamuffin Romeo')
Jack White Jack White ... Jack White
Frank Leslie Frank Leslie ... Quartet Lead Singer ('Nellie')
Walter Brennan ... Desk Sergeant ('Springtime') / Soldier ('All Noisy on the Eastern Front') / Waiter ('Oh! Forevermore!') / Front End of Horse / Quartet Member ('Nellie')
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Storyline

This revue presents its numbers around the orchestra leader Paul Whiteman, besides that it shows in it's final number that the European popular music are the roots of American popular music, called Jazz. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A NEW ERA in sound and color entertainment!


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 April 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The King of Jazz Revue See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,962,000, 31 December 1930
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Color (2-strip Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A notable flop for Universal in 1930. See more »

Quotes

Announcer: You don't mean to tell me that you are well-versed in the intricacies of the art of Terpsichore?
Paul Whiteman: No, but I can dance.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The 1933 re-release added a few brief, newly-filmed comedy sketches along with slightly revised opening credits, but removed nearly 35 minutes of footage in return. These added scenes are bonus material on the 2018 Criterion release. Prior to 2016, most prints ran about 93 minutes. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Chasing Rainbows (1930) See more »

Soundtracks

Old Black Joe
(uncredited)
Written by Stephen Foster
Played and sung by Paul Whiteman and Orchestra (as "The Paul Whiteman Orchestra") at the beginning of Jack White's act
See more »

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User Reviews

 
It Hath Charms
8 June 2005 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Today's audiences could not possibly have any idea of how big in every way Paul Whiteman was during the 1920s. Radio was in its infancy and Paul Whiteman's band was the first orchestra to achieve popularity through that medium. Whiteman records were the biggest sellers of their time. And The King of Jazz was his auspicious debut in motion pictures.

The King of Jazz was also how Whiteman billed himself. He was maybe taking a bit much on to himself with that one, he surely didn't have anything to do with the development of jazz as an art form. But he did help a great deal to popularize it with a wider {white} audience. That was primarily done with that famous jazz concert that Whiteman gave in the mid twenties where George Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue made its debut. And Rhapsody is reprised here in the movie.

Whiteman's greatest contribution may have been the training of the greatest group of musicians ever. At one time or other, the Dorsey Brothers, Benny Goodman, Bix Biederbecke and so many others were members of the Whiteman orchestra. And of course he was the very first band to hire a vocalist specifically for that role. Previously singers were just musicians who just stopped playing and sang a chorus or two.

Whiteman hired a trio, the Rhythm Boys whose lead singer was Bing Crosby. They are prominent in the film and in fact Bing Crosby made his singing film debut here over the opening credits as he sang Music Hath Charms. He was Whiteman's biggest discovery.

The film is just a musical review done in the style of some of the great musical reviews of the time like the Ziegfeld Follies, Earl Carroll's Vanities, George White's Scandals. Some of the acts are better than others, but's The King of Jazz encapsulates a great era in show business.

The biggest song from the film was It Happened in Monterey sung by John Boles who was Universal's biggest musical star at that point. Boles also got to do the film's finale, The Song of the Dawn, when Crosby who was guzzling a little too much bathtub gin got himself arrested and missed doing the finale which he was scheduled for.

Shortly after recording some of the songs from The King of Jazz the Rhythm Boys left Whiteman and broke up soon after that. Bing Crosby would be heard from again.

For a wonderful piece of nostalgia and filmed in early technicolor at that as an added treat, you can't beat The King of Jazz.


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