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The Voice of Hollywood No. 5 (1930)

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Himself, Guest Host
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Short

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February 1930 (USA)  »

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1.20 : 1
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STAR power?
21 March 2010 | by See all my reviews

It seems that the low-budget Taffany Studios produced a series of these one-reel "Voice of Hollywood" shorts as program-fillers around this time. The concept is that we the audience are looking in on a broadcast of station STAR, which answers requests which may have been sent in by the audience, or may just have been fabricated by Tiffany according to which stars were available. This affords the opportunity to cash in awkwardly on the novelty of sound film and hearing some stars voices.

The result is a kind of surreal kaleidoscope that in this case involves semi-celebrities, corny jokes told in what must be a deliberately stodgy-possible way, fragments of hula dances, and songs being "rehearsed." It's bizarre but watchable half because of that.

Of interest to big Harry Langdon fans such as myself is an appearance by that "one of America's foremost comedians" (who starred this year in a series of two-reel comedies for Hal Roach) at the end. They don't give him too much to do, though, so he engages in a kind of unintelligible that is like his famous physical indecision translated into semi-words. It's interesting to see him translate his character to sound in this way, even if just for a few moments. An interesting curio, for historical interest and a Langdon footnote.


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