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Manhattan Serenade (1929)



(dialogue) (as Joe Farnham)


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Credited cast:
... Man in Park
... Woman in Park
... Singing Group
... Singer / Dancer
... Specialty Dancer
Cy Kahn ... Man on Swing
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bobbe Brox ... Singer (as The Brox Sisters)
Kathlyn Brox ... Singer (as The Brox Sisters)
Lorayne Brox ... Singer (as The Brox Sisters)


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Short | Musical





Release Date:

21 December 1929 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



(Two-strip Technicolor)| (one sequence)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?


Although filmed otherwise entirely in 2-strip Technicolor, the film includes a 425 foot/five minute aerial tour of Manhattan filmed in black and white. See more »

Crazy Credits

Manhattan Serenade, based upon an original composition by Louis Alter. See more »


What Does It Mean When the Owl Says Whoo
Music by Louis Alter
Lyrics by Jo Trent
Performed by the Brox Sisters (Bobbe Brox, Kathlyn Brox & Lorayne Brox)
Danced by Mitzi Mayfair and ensemble
See more »

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User Reviews

Tribute To The Big Apple
15 August 2015 | by See all my reviews

A young woman sits on a park (presumably Central Park) bench and is evidently having a bad day. A young man sits next to her and attempts to cheer her up. She says things are too tough, the City is unfriendly, she can't make it here, etc. His glass is half full and says it's a great City with lots of opportunities, look on the sunny side, etc. and launches into a rambling tribute to New York City, and this is when the short gets interesting.

What follows is an homage to NYC in the form of a short travelogue (6-8 minutes) of scenes 'all around the town', as the song says. If you pay attention to the landscape and the areas the camera records, it can be something of an eye-opener, as many landmarks are gone or changed so much as to be unrecognizable. Can anyone remember the 6th Ave. elevated subway, for instance?

After the footage of parts of the city, it becomes a musical tribute. First up are the Brox Sisters, a singing group popular in the 20's and early 30's, perhaps an early version of the Andrew Sisters of the 40's or the McGuire Sisters of the 50's. If you get a chance to see "The King Of Jazz" (1930), they are a featured act. Next was an unidentified male singer and last, but not least, was Nina Mae McKinney, legendary black actress, here made up in a bizarre costume and she sings and dances in a way which makes you think she was underutilized in Hollywood - which she was. She showed talent and star quality in her sequence which makes you think she could have been a big star. She pre-dated Lena Horne but her film roles were as a maid or in black films.

The overall impression of the short was of a fragmented production which couldn't do justice to its subject matter - just a quick look at 20's NYC and 2 or 3 musical numbers. The message was that anyone could make it in New York, but there wasn't enough time to make a coherent point. Except for the footage of NYC, it was in gorgeous 2-strip Technicolor. It was shown at Capitolfest, Rome, NY, 8/15.

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