The Hollywood Revue of 1929 (1929)

Passed   |    |  Comedy, Music

The Hollywood Revue of 1929 (1929) Poster

An all-star revue featuring MGM contract players.


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4 January 2014 | utgard14
| A Window Into the Past
All-star talent show of MGM silent stars, many of which in their first talkie. They sing, they dance, they do comedy bits. Most of it is a poor representation of the talent of those involved. Still, I found something quaintly charming and entertaining about it. It's certainly interesting from a film history perspective. Yes, it suffers from the crudeness of sound filmmaking in these early days but I try not to hold that against it too severely.

Two of the more entertaining parts were Buster Keaton's sketch and "Singin' in the Rain." But I must admit my personal favorite was the "Lon Chaney's Gonna Get You if You Don't Watch Out" number. The worst was probably Marion Davies. For as much as people bash Joan Crawford's dance routine in this, Marion Davies was a million times worse. She sang off key and did what was supposed to be dancing. Just dreadful. As for Joan, the song she did was fine I thought but yes the dancing was a little goofy looking. The flapper dances were generally graceless to begin with but this was especially silly to watch. The other segment that gets talked about a lot is the "Romeo & Juliet" part with Norma Shearer, John Gilbert, and Lionel Barrymore. This was one of the few parts of the movie done in early Technicolor. I actually don't think this was a bad segment. The part where they do Romeo & Juliet updated for modern language was amusing.

Overall, it's not great but it's way better than a lot of the critiques I've read have given it credit for. If you're a film buff you should see it. Everybody else, check it out if you are already familiar with early sound films and aren't going to harp on its technical failings. If you don't have the patience for that then just avoid it and save yourself the headache.

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