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Hollywood Revue of 1929
     

Hollywood Revue of 1929

Director: Charles "Chuck" Riesner,

Cast: Charles "Chuck" Riesner, Marion Davies, John Gilbert, Norma Shearer

 
With the arrival of talkies, every major studio hopped on the musical bandwagon by turning out lavish "revues," spotlighting their top stars performing specialty numbers. MGM's entry in this all-star genre was Hollywood Revue of 1929, which, though a box-office smash and a "Best Picture" Oscar nominee, is an absolutely deadly experience when seen today. Even so

Overview

With the arrival of talkies, every major studio hopped on the musical bandwagon by turning out lavish "revues," spotlighting their top stars performing specialty numbers. MGM's entry in this all-star genre was Hollywood Revue of 1929, which, though a box-office smash and a "Best Picture" Oscar nominee, is an absolutely deadly experience when seen today. Even so, it coasts by on its curiosity value, as several major MGM luminaries display their all-talking, all-singing, all-dancing talents (or lack of same). The film is hosted by Conrad Nagel and Jack Benny, the latter still purveying the "wise-guy" personality he used on screen before adopting his more likable radio characterization. Some of the individual acts are modestly entertaining: Joan Crawford, the top of her head cut off due to faulty camerawork, is quite appealing in a jazz number; Laurel and Hardy and Buster Keaton provide genuine laughs, the former in a makeshift magic act and the latter performing a burlesque ballet; Bessie Love and Marion Davies are cute and cuddly in their respective musical numbers, while Marie Dressler is outrageously funny in her brace of appearances; and, best of all, Cliff Edwards solemnly introduces MGM's "signature" tune "Singin' in the Rain," which serves as a leitmotif throughout the picture. Other "highlights" are more impressive for their concept than their actual execution: Gus Edwards' "Lon Chaney Will Get You if You Don't Find Out" would have been more interesting had the real Lon Chaney Sr. made an appearance (something he reportedly refused to do), while John Gilbert and Norma Shearer's "slang" version of the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet (a sequence filmed in Technicolor) produces winces rather than laughs. At that, these scenes are easier to digest than the wretched sentimental ballad "Your Mother and Mine," performed ad nauseum by the otherwise reliable Charles King, and the overproduced and under-rehearsed "Orange Blossom" finale (also in color). Long available only in its 82-minute TV release version, Hollywood Revue of 1929 was restored to nearly its original 125-minute length in the 1970s; the film is worth seeing once for historical purposes, but is hardly a "keeper," even for the most diligent of video collectors.

Product Details

Release Date:
12/01/2009
UPC:
0883316224854
Original Release:
1929
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Archives
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Time:
1:58:00
Sales rank:
14,138

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Marion Davies Actor
John Gilbert Actor
Norma Shearer Actor
William Haines Actor
Joan Crawford Actor
Buster Keaton Actor
Bessie Love Actor
Charles King Actor
Conrad Nagel Master of Ceremonies
Lionel Barrymore Actor
Marie Dressler Actor
Jack Benny Master of Ceremonies
Gus Edwards Actor
Oliver Hardy Actor
Gwen Lee Actor
Anita Page Actor
George K. Arthur Actor
Nils Asther Actor
Ernest Belcher's Dancing Tots Actor
Biltmore Quartet Actor
Karl Dane Actor
Polly Moran Actor
Rounders Actor
Ann Dvorak Chorus girl
Charles King Bibby Actor
Stan Laurel Actor
Albertina Rasch Actor
Cliff "Ukelele Ike" Edwards Actor

Technical Credits
Charles "Chuck" Riesner Director
John Arnold Cinematographer
David Cox Costumes/Costume Designer
George Cunningham Choreography
Richard Day Art Director
Gus Edwards Score Composer
Max Fabian Cinematographer
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Joe Goodwin Songwriter
William S. Gray Editor
Sammy Lee Choreography
John M. Nickolaus Cinematographer
Harry Rapf Producer
Irving G. Ries Cinematographer
Douglas Shearer Sound/Sound Designer
Cameron K. Wood Editor

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