Wonder Bar

Overview

Based on Al Jolson's 1931 Broadway hit, Wonder Bar transposes the "Grand Hotel" formula to a lavish nightclub in Paris' Montmartre district. Presiding over the evening's entertainment is manager-emcee Al Wonder Jolson, who after greeting his guests in a multitude of languages a la Joel Grey in Cabaret introduces a steady stream of top variety acts. The star attraction of the Wonder Bar floor show is the Latin dance team of Inez Dolores Del Rio and Harry Ricardo Cortez. Al worships Inez from afar, but she is ...
See more details below
DVD (B&W / Pan & Scan)
$17.99
BN.com price
Other sellers (DVD)
  • All (9) from $11.25   
  • New (7) from $11.25   
  • Used (2) from $23.91   
Note: This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. This disc is expected to play back in DVD Video "play only" devices and may not play back in other DVD devices including recorders and PC drives.

Overview

Based on Al Jolson's 1931 Broadway hit, Wonder Bar transposes the "Grand Hotel" formula to a lavish nightclub in Paris' Montmartre district. Presiding over the evening's entertainment is manager-emcee Al Wonder Jolson, who after greeting his guests in a multitude of languages a la Joel Grey in Cabaret introduces a steady stream of top variety acts. The star attraction of the Wonder Bar floor show is the Latin dance team of Inez Dolores Del Rio and Harry Ricardo Cortez. Al worships Inez from afar, but she is hopelessly in love with Harry, a no-good louse who is carrying on with Liane Kay Francis, the wife of prominent banker Renaud Henry Kolker. Meanwhile, German military officer Captain Von Ferring Robert H. Barrat, who has lost his fortune to bad investments, enjoys one last fling at the Wonder Bar before committing suicide. The two main subplots converge when Inez stabs Harry out of pique, whereupon the ever-loyal Al deposits Harry's body in Von Ferring's car, knowing full well that Von Ferring intends to drive himself off a steep hill to his death. Never letting Inez find out that she killed Harry, Al stands stoically aside as she finds true happiness with composer Tommy Dick Powell. Lest this all sound heavily somberly serious, it should be noted that Wonder Bar is chock full of laughs, from both Jolson who runs through quite a repertoire of tried-and-true routines and the drunken antics of "tired business men" Hugh Herbert and Hobart Cavanaugh. The musical numbers staged by Busby Berkeley range from sedate to incredible, with the bizarrely racist 10-minute "Goin' to Heaven on a Mule" truly a jaw-dropping experience falling into the latter category. The film's most outrageous moment, however, is an uninhibited chunk of homosexual humor on the dance floor "Boys will be boys!," crows Jolson which just barely squeaked past the Hollywood censors!
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Wonder Bar is one of the strangest of Hollywood's early musicals. A backstager, Wonder Bar is much less concerned with getting a show on than with cataloguing the sexual desires of its ensemble cast -- sometimes with humor, sometimes with drama. There's a refreshing frankness and even a lurid quality to much of the goings-on, surprising for the era, which gives the film a distinctive tone. Busby Berkeley has a grand time with the "Don't Say Good Night" sequence, which grows from a duet between Dolores Del Rio and Ricardo Cortez to a group number involved white clad and black masked revelers moving betwixt shifting white columns, leading up to a climax involving mirrors that is quite breathtaking. Unfortunately, Berkeley is also at least partially responsible for the notorious "Goin' to Heaven on a Mule" number, considered by many as the most offensive sequence in musical film history. Another of Jolson's blackface routines, it features practically every possible racial stereotype, including a giant watermelon upon which Hal LeRoy performs his taps. Much more interesting (and better) is the masochistic tango danced by Del Rio and Cortez, a powerful number with a whipping sequence that is truly disturbing. Aside from the "Mule" number, Jolson is good here, fitting into the ensemble surprisingly well while still retaining his bravado, and Del Rio and Cortez are a fascinating couple. Bacon's direction is solid, with some inventive editing and camera angles. In spite of "Mule," Wonder Bar is an absorbing musical melodrama with some exceptional sequences.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/21/2009
  • UPC: 883316182147
  • Original Release: 1934
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Archives
  • Presentation: B&W / Pan & Scan
  • Time: 1:24:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 36,570

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Kay Francis Liane Renaud
Dick Powell Tommy
Al Jolson Al Wonder
Dolores Del Rio Inez
Ricardo Cortez Harry
Hal Le Roy Himself
Guy Kibbee Henry Simpson
Ruth Donnelly Ella Simpson
Hugh Herbert Corey Pratt
Louise Fazenda Pansy Pratt
Fifi D'Orsay Mitzi
Robert H. Barrat Capt. von Ferring
Henry Kolker Mr. Renaud
Demetrius Alexis
Billy Anderson Call Boy
Hobart Cavanaugh Drunk
Spencer Charters Pete
Emile Chautard Concierge
Clay Clement
Gino Corrado Waiter
Michael Dalmatoff Count
Jane Darwell Baroness
Gordon de Main
William "Wild Bill" Elliott Norman
Pauline Garon Operator
William Granger
Robert Graves Police Officer
Grace Hayle Fat Dowager
Mia Ichioka GeeGee
Amo Ingraham
George Irving Broker
Alfred P. James Night Watchman
Bud Jamison Bartender
Eddie Kane Frank
Edward Keane Captain
Merna Kennedy Claire
John Marlowe Young Man
Alphonse Martell Doorman
Dave "Tex" O'Brien Chorus Boy
Dennis O'Keefe Man at Bar
Henry O'Neill Richards
Paul Power Chester
Rosalie Roy Chorus Girl
Rolfe Sedan Waiter
Kathryn Sergava Ilka
William Stack Businessman
Renee Whitney
Harry Woods Detective
Technical Credits
Lloyd Bacon Director
George J. Amy Editor
Earl W. Baldwin Screenwriter
Busby Berkeley Choreography
Alexis Dubin Songwriter
Leo F. Forbstein Musical Direction/Supervision
Robert Lord Producer
Jack Okey Art Director
Orry-Kelly Costumes/Costume Designer
Sol Polito Cinematographer
Harry Warren Songwriter
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously