21 December 2007 | drednm
Missing Musical Numbers
What a potentially great film (finally got hold of a copy), a big hit MGM musical that boasted Bessie Love, Charles King, Jack Benny, Marie Dressler, and Polly Moran.
What a shame that all the Technolor is gone from the existing print, and even worse, so are all the big production numbers! Title cards appear to tell us where the numbers USED to be. Even the audio is gone.
Indeed we miss Bessie Love leading a chorus in "Everybody Tap," Charles King singing "Love Ain't Nothing' but the Blues." and Marie Dressler singing "My Dynamic Personality." Also the entire finale of "Happy Days Are Here Again" is also gone. Thanks to Richard Barrios for listing the missing songs in a footnote in A SONG IN THE DARK.
The few numbers that are left aren't too great. King sings "Lucky Me and Lovable You" to Love (who does not sing). But they do a short dance number. Dressler does an early number on the train, and Nina Martan (odd spelling) also sings one song.
In this backstage musical about an acting company traveling across country in a show called "Goodbye Broadway," we get the usual stories about jealousy, love, etc. Love is adorable as Carlie, King is better than he was in THE Broadway MELODY, Benny is funny, and of course Dressler and Moran steal every scene they're in. George K. Arthur has a small role as a (gay?) member of the troupe, and so does Gwen Lee as the member who quits early on, requiring them to hire Martan. Eddie Phillips plays the smarmy lover.
After smash hits with THE Broadway MELODY and Hollywood REVUE OF 1929, MGM launched this musical with its A Cast, but by the time the film hit theaters, the craze for musicals was winding down. Revue films were so unpopular that MGM included "Not a Revue" in its advertising for CHASING RAINBOWS. Bessie Love was MGM's #1 musical star of the time, and Marie Dressler and Polly Moran are just plain hysterically funny together.
Let's hope these Technicolor musical numbers are found some day. What a treat that would be!