1 April 2003 | tfrizzell
Has a Beat of Its Own.
The second Best Picture Oscar winner and the very first that used the then-new advent of sound was "The Broadway Melody", a totally under-rated and under-appreciated musical that started a genre which would be dominant well into the late-1960s. It is depression-era New York and two country sisters (Oscar-nominee Anita Page and a very young Bessie Love) come to the city to make it big on Broadway. Of course the competition is stiff and success is not a sure thing by the longest of shots. Page is in love with the star (Charles King) of the show they want to be a part of. King believes he loves Page too, but quickly falls for her younger sister instead. Now the dilemma begins. The problems escalate further as Love becomes a star and begins to run around with socialite Kenneth Thomson (in an appropriately sleazy performance). Will the bright lights of the city destroy Page and Love's relationship forever and what will become of the two men in their lives? "The Broadway Melody" is admittedly a formula-driven film, but it works so much better than most all other soap operas throughout the history of the cinema. The main reason is because of top-notch direction by Oscar nominee Harry Beaumont and the solid performances from the four leads. There is also much dazzle in the production as the sound is revolutionary with lavish dance numbers and many instrumental ensembles. Wonderful cinematography, costume design, set direction and editing complete the film's excellence. Not quite a perfect film, but definitely a worthy Oscar winner that still stands pretty tall nearly 75 years after its initial release. 4.5 out of 5 stars.