On with the Show

On with the Show

Director: Alan Crosland

Cast: Alan Crosland, Betty Compson, Louise Fazenda, Sally O'Neil

     
 

This early talkie antique is a backstage musical from Warner Bros. The plot involves the out-of-town tryout of a new musical comedy, and the people who perform therein: a bitchy leading lady (Betty Compson), an arrogant comedy lead (Joe E. Brown), and a starstruck chorus kid (Sally O'Neil). At the very last moment, the leading lady refuses to go on, forcing the… See more details below

Overview

This early talkie antique is a backstage musical from Warner Bros. The plot involves the out-of-town tryout of a new musical comedy, and the people who perform therein: a bitchy leading lady (Betty Compson), an arrogant comedy lead (Joe E. Brown), and a starstruck chorus kid (Sally O'Neil). At the very last moment, the leading lady refuses to go on, forcing the producer to put the chorus girl in her place. It turns out that the star's seemingly rotten behavior was deliberately designed to give the chorine her big break. In between several Technicolor musical numbers (now only existing in black-and-white), we hear a lot of pedantic talk about "the show business." On with the Show's sole virtue is the exquisite Ethel Waters, who introduces her hit song "Am I Blue?"

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Often incorrectly cited as the inspiration for 42nd Street, On With the Show does feature some similarities with that better-known film, especially in the fact that the young and inexperienced ingenue goes on for the imperious star. However, the tone and feel of the two are quite different, and Show is much more primitive both technically and dramatically than the later landmark musical. None of this mattered to audiences at the time, who turned it into a tremendous moneymaker. Seen many decades later, Show is enormously uneven, although musical film aficionados will find it immensely rewarding. The dialogue is leaden, corny and repetitious, although the structure of the script itself is sound. Sally O'Neil as the kid from the chorus is attractive, but she's a dreadful actress and has an irritating voice. Joe E. Brown does not get a chance to display his more appealing characteristics, but Betty Compson makes the imperious star very interesting and quite entertaining. Best of all, however, is Ethel Waters, shoved into the picture to do little but deliver two numbers -- and easily stealing the movie with them. Her "Am I Blue" is deservedly acclaimed, but her "Birmingham Bertha" is every bit as good, giving her a chance to curl her voice into a soothing purr before spitting out a little venom. ("Bertha" also benefits from John Bubbles' nifty footwork.) The score as a whole is agreeable, and the "In the Land of Let's Pretend" is an enjoyable pastiche of a Ziegfeld number. Despite its flaws, there's an innocent charm to Show; that -- and Waters -- make it worth seeing.

Product Details

Release Date:
12/01/2009
UPC:
0883316224823
Original Release:
1929
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Archives
Presentation:
[B&W, Full Frame]
Time:
1:44:00
Sales rank:
58,152

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Betty Compson Nita French
Louise Fazenda Sarah
Sally O'Neil Kitty
Joe E. Brown Ike Beaton
Purnell Pratt Sam Bloom
William Bakewell Jimmy
Wheeler Oakman Bob Wallace
Lee Moran Pete
Harry Gribbon Joe
Arthur Lake Harold Astor
Henry Fink Father
Otto Hoffman Bert
Ethel Waters Herself
Sam Hardy Jerry
Thomas Jefferson Dad

Technical Credits
Alan Crosland Director
Harry Akst Score Composer
Larry Ceballos Choreography
Tony Gaudio Cinematographer
Jack Killifer Editor
Robert Lord Screenwriter
Humphrey Pearson Screenwriter
Louis Silvers Musical Direction/Supervision
Darryl F. Zanuck Producer

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >