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THE BROADWAY MELODY (1929) 
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Post THE BROADWAY MELODY (1929)
Click here for the review of The Broadway Melody (1929)

Best Picture winner at the 1930 Oscars.


Sun Nov 01, 2009 1:29 pm
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Post Re: THE BROADWAY MELODY (1929)
You don't really have to go to Busby Berkeley to get to great screen musicals. The Love Parade was released later in 1929 and is terrific. The Academy Award calendar was different in those days, so it was up for Best Picture the next year and lost to All Quiet on the Western Front.

For those first few years, though, directors were feeling their way around trying to come up with ways to make musical films, and their solutions are interesting historically. Another nominee from 1929, The Hollywood Revue of 1929 is essential a vaudeville revue, a genre which was popular for a few years. Broadway Melody was better than that, at least. (My favorite of the revue films is The King of Jazz with its wonderfully inventive and bizarre sets and camera tricks.)

I hope your criticism of bad acting doesn't extend to Bessie Love and Anita Page, who are pretty good. Charles King and much of the supporting cast, on the other hand...

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Sun Nov 01, 2009 2:26 pm
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Post Re: THE BROADWAY MELODY (1929)
Where's Sunrise?


Sun Nov 01, 2009 5:17 pm
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Post Re: THE BROADWAY MELODY (1929)
Syd Henderson wrote:
I hope your criticism of bad acting doesn't extend to Bessie Love and Anita Page, who are pretty good. Charles King and much of the supporting cast, on the other hand...


Bessie Love is quite good. Can't say the same about Anita Page, at least in this film. This is far from her best work.


Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:03 pm
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Post Re: THE BROADWAY MELODY (1929)
Patrick wrote:
Where's Sunrise?


I'm not going strictly in order. SUNRISE is next.


Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:04 pm
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Post Re: THE BROADWAY MELODY (1929)
I'm glad this one's on DVD, even though I have no interest in watching it. It just seems more fitting to have Video Views for films that are available to watch at home.

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Sun Nov 01, 2009 10:46 pm
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Post Re: THE BROADWAY MELODY (1929)
Syd Henderson wrote:
You don't really have to go to Busby Berkeley to get to great screen musicals. The Love Parade was released later in 1929 and is terrific. The Academy Award calendar was different in those days, so it was up for Best Picture the next year and lost to All Quiet on the Western Front.

For those first few years, though, directors were feeling their way around trying to come up with ways to make musical films, and their solutions are interesting historically. Another nominee from 1929, The Hollywood Revue of 1929 is essential a vaudeville revue, a genre which was popular for a few years. Broadway Melody was better than that, at least. (My favorite of the revue films is The King of Jazz with its wonderfully inventive and bizarre sets and camera tricks.)

I hope your criticism of bad acting doesn't extend to Bessie Love and Anita Page, who are pretty good. Charles King and much of the supporting cast, on the other hand...


Interesting thoughts. We're a bit stacked in favour of newer films here, so it's always nice to find someone with knowledge of the classics.


Mon Nov 02, 2009 2:51 pm
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Post Re: THE BROADWAY MELODY (1929)
Just because they're old doesn't make them classics...

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Mon Nov 02, 2009 2:54 pm
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Post Re: THE BROADWAY MELODY (1929)
JamesKunz wrote:
Just because they're old doesn't make them classics...


A fair point, with which I concur. However, a few of the films he originally mentioned are now considered to be classics.


Mon Nov 02, 2009 2:58 pm
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Post Re: THE BROADWAY MELODY (1929)
I will concede that All Quiet on the Western Front is a legitimate classic. Have you seen it recently? The battle sequences hold up incredibly well to this day.

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Mon Nov 02, 2009 10:56 pm
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Post Re: THE BROADWAY MELODY (1929)
JamesKunz wrote:
I will concede that All Quiet on the Western Front is a legitimate classic. Have you seen it recently? The battle sequences hold up incredibly well to this day.


I watched it for the first time last night in anticipation of James's review in a week or two. Agreed, it is a classic, and the long battle sequence starting about forty minutes in is one of the best ever filmed. Powerful film. I'll wait till James gets to it before saying more.

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Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:10 pm
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Post Re: THE BROADWAY MELODY (1929)
JamesKunz wrote:
Just because they're old doesn't make them classics...


Broadway Melody and the films that actually were up against it being good examples. Although the Patriot hasn't survived except for a few clips, so I don't know what we're missing there.

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Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:16 pm
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Post Please compare them with modern films
Thanks James, for doing this series. It should be a very interesting read. I hope you will review these older films without considerations to their age and compare them with modern films. A nice historical background to important films are welcomed and appreciated, but I think most films fans only want to know one thing. Is this film good entertainment for my time and money?

I find nearly all movie critics are overly lenient on "classic" films. In older "classic" films, I think most film critics tend to overvalue historical importance, forgotten famous stars, and non-traditional storytelling. It can be a little disheartening reading "classic" film reviews sometimes, because they never recieve bad reviews, even though when they were originally released there were some or many bad reviews.

Recently I saw "Double Indemnity" on netflix, a movie that I have read glowing reviews at Ebert's site and others, but it disappointed me. After the movie, I read an original release review by a NYTimes critic from a link on Netflix. It was a mixed review, and I agreed with it. I doubt a modern NYTimes film critic would give it a mixed or negative review.


Wed Nov 04, 2009 2:09 am
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Post Re: THE BROADWAY MELODY (1929)
I agree with you Forwonder that people are sometimes too lenient on movies from the past (though I happen to find Double Indemnity very good) because of their "classic" status. Hence my comment on "just cause they're old..." Just for fun, here are 4 older movies that are assuredly not classics...

The Godfather Part II: Is it a good movie? Absolutely. Professionally made and with some interesting scenes. But so redundant. The Michael-turning-evil plot was finished in the end of the first Godfather. The rise-of-Vito plot just salvages parts of Puzo's book that they left out, and feels at right angles to the modern plot. Plus we get to hear DeNiro doing a bad Brando impression. Basically the whole movie is an incredibly overlong 200 minutes we didn't need in the first place. Ebert and the New York Times felt the same way in the 70s, though the former recently changed his tune.

The Jazz Singer: Admittedly I'm not the only one who doesn't find it great, but it's more than just not great, it's an awful movie. Historically important? Certainly. Incredibly cliched and contrived, even for its time? Certainly

The Maltese Falcon: Only really comes alive when Sydney Greenstreet is on screen. Mary Astor is annoying and weak, Bogart looks thoroughly bored as the straight man (I like him so much better in The African Queen or The Caine Mutiny or Treasure of the Sierra Madre, when he actually gets to *act*) and everything is so emotionless. Why should I care when he gives her up at the end? He sure doesn't seem to. "The stuff dreams are made of" he says monotonously...

The Searchers: Saddled with a ridiculous subplot that eats up running time and slows the movie down to a crawl, The Searchers is a decidedly overrated movie. I'll take George C. Scott in Schrader's Hardcore any day over the Duke in this slow, slow film.

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Wed Nov 04, 2009 4:35 pm
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Post Re: THE BROADWAY MELODY (1929)
JamesKunz wrote:
Okay I can buy the argument that the Searchers is well-shot, and the last shot in particular is good, but why exactly is it one of the best films ever made? Again, the subplot is unredeemably awful. It'd be like if Citizen Kane had a segment in which the bumbling Jedidah had a love interest and amusing antics and pratfalls ensued. It's unbelievably jarring and at right angles to the rest of the film.

And if you think that The Searchers proved John Wayne had more than one note in him, you have very low standards for actors' range. It reminds me of when people claimed Hugh Grant was playing a "different" role in Bridget Jones' Diary because instead of being sweetly charming and affable he was roguishly charming and affable. John Wayne, like Grant, is ideally suited for some roles but I think he's decidedly one-note


If you're going to continue discussing THE SEARCHERS, take it to the General Movie forum. This topic is for discussion of THE BROADWAY MELODY.


Thu Nov 05, 2009 10:20 am
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Post Re: THE BROADWAY MELODY (1929)
To the general movies forum, post haste!

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Thu Nov 05, 2009 11:41 pm
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Post Re: THE BROADWAY MELODY (1929)
James Berardinelli wrote:
Patrick wrote:
Where's Sunrise?


I'm not going strictly in order. SUNRISE is next.




So... 'Deer Hunter' next week? Anyone?



Just kidding. I'd rather wait it out to see. Too bad 'Deliverance' didn't win Best Picture, though. I always wanted to see what the great Sir Berardinelli thought of that masterstroke of a thriller (should I start bribing ram1312 about now?).


Fri Nov 06, 2009 12:00 am
Post Re: THE BROADWAY MELODY (1929)
James Berardinelli wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
Okay I can buy the argument that the Searchers is well-shot, and the last shot in particular is good, but why exactly is it one of the best films ever made? Again, the subplot is unredeemably awful. It'd be like if Citizen Kane had a segment in which the bumbling Jedidah had a love interest and amusing antics and pratfalls ensued. It's unbelievably jarring and at right angles to the rest of the film.

And if you think that The Searchers proved John Wayne had more than one note in him, you have very low standards for actors' range. It reminds me of when people claimed Hugh Grant was playing a "different" role in Bridget Jones' Diary because instead of being sweetly charming and affable he was roguishly charming and affable. John Wayne, like Grant, is ideally suited for some roles but I think he's decidedly one-note


If you're going to continue discussing THE SEARCHERS, take it to the General Movie forum. This topic is for discussion of THE BROADWAY MELODY.


We actually have a "The Searchers" thread in the Great Movies subforum, so this would be the ideal place. As a matter of fact a mod could move the relevant parts of the discussion there...


Fri Nov 06, 2009 3:14 pm
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