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  • "Paramount on Parade" (Paramount, 1930), with various directorial credit including Ernst Lubitsch, A. Edward Sutherland and Victor Schertzinger, among others, became Paramount's attempt in an all-star movie revue, following the earlier attempts of MGM's "The Hollywood Revue of 1929" and "The Show of Shows" for Warner Brothers, and while many claim this to be the best of the revues, I find it to be a disappointment mainly because the print that's been circulating on television over the last couple of decades, and later cable television, not being the entire movie. Even though I wasn't around when the 102 minute presentation of "Paramount on Parade" was released in theaters, the cuts are quite obvious, especially when French entertainer Maurice Chevalier gives Italian singer Nino Martini a special introduction, and later on in the revue, director Edmund Goulding preparing his cast of actors who are to appear in a Civil War setting musical skit, "Let Us Drink to the Girl of My Dreams," with Gary Cooper, Fay Wray, among others, which never comes. At present, "Paramount on Parade" runs 78 minutes, minus Technicolor segments. Whether the missing scenes are lost forever, or a complete copy is displayed somewhere in a dark vault gathering dust, is anyone's guess. However, at present, it appears that possible restoration of this movie is unlikely to occur.

    The "Paramount on Parade" program is as follows, with the deleted scenes preceded with asterisks (*): * SHOWGIRLS ON PARADE (with Virginia Bruce); * PARAMOUNT ON PARADE (chorus); "We're the Masters of Ceremonies" (sung by Jack Oakie, Richard "Skeets" Gallagher and Leon Errol); "Any Time's the Time to Fall in Love" (sung by Buddy Rogers and Lillian Roth); MURDER WILL OUT (a comedy sketch with William Powell as Philo Vance; Clive Brook as Sherlock Holmes; Warner Oland as Fu Manchu, with Eugene Palette and Jack Oakie; THE ORIGIN OF THE APACHE (with Maurice Chevalier and Evelyn Brent); IN A HOSPITAL (comedy sketch with Leon Errol, Jean Arthur, Phillips Holmes and David Newell); "I'm in Training for You" (sung by Zelma O'Neal and Jack Oakie); * THE TOREADOR (with Harry Green singing "I'm Isador the Toreador" from Bizet's CARMEN, with Kay Francis); "My Marine" (sung by Ruth Chatterton, with Fredric March, Stanley Smith and Stuart Erwin as Marines); "All I Want is Just One Girl" (sung by Chevalier); MITZI GREEN HERSELF (with Mitzi Green reprising "All I Want Is Just One Girl" and doing imitations of Chevalier and Charles Mack of the comedy team of Moran and Mack, The Two Black Crows); "What Did Cleopatra Say?" (sung by Helen Kane); *THE GALLOWS SONG (sung by Dennis King); "Dancing to Save My Sole" (sung and danced by Nancy Carroll and Al Norman, the eccentric rubber-legs dancer); * DREAM GIRL, "Let Us Drink to the Girl of My Dreams" (with Richard Arlen, Jean Arthur, Gary Cooper, Mary Brian, Virginia Bruce, Fay Wray, and others); "I'm True to the Navy Now" (sung by Clara Bow and sailors); FOLLOWING YOUR IMPULSE: (Introduced by George Bancroft in a comedy sketch about social manners showing how people at a function normally act, then presenting them on how they really feel. Kay Francis partakes in this skit); and the finale, "Sweeping the Clouds Away" (sung by Maurice Chevalier).

    As with the previous Hollywood revues, portions of the film succeed musically and comically, while others don't. Highlights include Zelma O'Neal's energetic singing and opposite Jack Oakie in the gymnasium; Nancy Carroll's dance number on top of a giant shoe; Maurice Chevalier's finale; and of course Clara Bow, who brings this revue to life as the sole female vocalist amongst a group of sailors. Her singing voice does record well, but her career in talkies came to an end by 1933. The lesser moments are the comedy skits, including Leon Errol in the hospital bed with his good-for-nothing sons ignoring his requests and telling their dad to "Shut up"; Mitzi Green's dated impersonations of Moran and Mack; and the singing of "My Marine" by Ruth Chatterton, who performs better as dramatic actress than as a singer, making this eight minute segment seems longer than it is. Helen Kane's "Boop, Boopa Doop" number in the classroom starts off well, but grows tiresome only after a few minutes.

    American Movie Classics formerly presented the edited version of "Paramount on Parade" back in 1988-89, and since then, is hardly shown at all these days. However, if this revue should ever resurrect again, whether on video or on Turner Classic Movies, let's hope for a restored complete version. Maybe the 102 minute edition might not make much of a difference entertainment wise, but it certainly will be a rare treat indeed. As it now stands ... (***)
  • I've just watched the current restoration and can add some information to the 2002 review.

    The footage of the opening "Showgirls on Parade" sequence is missing but the sound survives.

    The sound disc for "Isadore the Toreador" has been located (only a few days ago) and will be put into the next restoration with the surviving Technicolor footage..

    Nino Martini's number is now complete, and in Technicolor.

    The "Dream Girl" Technicolor footage survives but the sound is missing.

    The "Gallows Scene" is missing most of the sound except for Dennis King's song.
  • Several scenes are still missing from this 1930 film, but what's left is mostly good stuff, and all interesting from a historical point of view. Would you like to see Clive Brook as Sherlock Holmes? Here's a rare chance. Would you like to see Clara Bow sing? Here she is. Would you like to see rather too many songs by Maurice Chevalier? Take your pick of several here. Would you like to see names such as Lillian Roth, Helen Kane, Mitzi Green, and Zelma O'Neill, who are only half-remembered today? Now you can. Would you like to see early appearances by William Powell and Fredric March before they made it big in talkies? They're in this.

    The musical numbers fall into the 'ok' camp; they are largely static and stagey, and rather old-fashioned, but no more so than any other early talkie revue film. A lot of the film drags (notably Helen Kane's Boop-de-doop school lesson, and the links by Jack Oakie et al) but as a piece of history, it is fine. It should be a candidate for restoration if the whole film survives in a vault somewhere; let's hope so.
  • Of the early talkie-era all-star revues, this one is by far the most "fun." The song sequences are nicely done; in particular, the "Dancing to Save Your Sole" segment with Nancy Carroll. Maurice Chevalier does very well in his three segments, one comedy segment, one comedy musical segment (bearing the noticable stamp of Lubitsch), and the entertaining finale. The comic segments are a bit hit or miss, but the Philo Vance/Sherlock Holmes/Fu Manchu skit near the start is a must-see. I saw this in an old TV print; the color sequences mostly exist, but have yet to be restored, and the copy of most prints that circulate is servicable, but not spectacular. Find the best print you can.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    When "Paramount on Parade" was filmed - Paramount had more musical stars than any other studio. The other studio revues (MGM's "Hollywood Revue of 1929" and Warner's "Show of Shows") may have been more flashy but most of the stars were not singers or dancers and people went for the novelty of seeing their favourites trying to sing or dance.

    In 1930 Nancy Carroll was voted "Queen of the Screen" and Maurice Chevalier was the new sensation of the movies - both were Paramount players. Helen Kane was also very much in vogue (although within a year her popularity had nose -dived). There are three Masters of Ceremonies - Leon Errol, Skeets Gallagher and Jack Oakie are introduced singing "Paramount on Parade".

    As dredmn says several of the segments are missing. Among the sketches I liked:- "Any Time's the Time to Fall in Love" - was sung by Buddy Rogers and Lillian Roth looking vibrant and happy.

    "What Did Cleopatra Say" - Helen Kane attempts to teach history to a class (including Mitzi Green and Jackie Searle).

    "I'm True to the Navy Now" - Clara Bow was fantastic - she could really sing (apparently she had to film her segment during a break from another movie and also do her own hair.)Jack Oakie and Skeets Gallagher were sailors.

    "Dance Mad" - "Dancing to Save Your Soul" was the highlight for me. Coming out of a shoe box Abe Lyman and his band played the song. Nancy Carroll was completely gorgeous and sang in a very sweet voice. Al "Rubberlegs" Norman was on hand and he and Nancy did a funny, eccentric dance.

    "I'm in Training for You" - Jack Oakie and Zelma O'Neal did a novelty song and dance in a girl's gym.( I think Mitzi Mayfair was a featured dancer.)

    Maurice Chevalier came on for his first number "All I Want is Just One Girl" - it's great - Chevalier plays a gendarme who is helping out lovers in a park in Paris.

    Mitzi Green then comes out to sing the song as Maurice Chevalier and Moran and Mack would sing it. I actually really like her and found her very talented.

    "Impulses" - I really loved - I thought it was very funny. George Bancroft (a movie tough guy of the day) in a sketch where people followed their impulses (elegant Kay Francis cracked a vase over Bancroft's head.)

    The finale was "Sweeping the Clouds Away". Maurice Chevalier was a chimney sweep with a chorus of pretty sweeps. It was originally in colour and would have been beautiful. Chevalier climbs a ladder to the top of the rainbow and the sweeps have transformed into the colours of the rainbow. I enjoyed this film so much.
  • Well much of this Paramount landmark talkie is missing but what remains is entertaining and it's fun to see the old stars in their primes. Copying MGM's Hollywood Revue of 1929, which earned a best picture Oscar nomination and was a smash, Paramount on Parade has a lot of talent but the film seems cheesy compared to the MGM revue. However, this served as the talkie debut of a lot of stars on the Paramount lot. Among the major names: Clara Bow, Maurice Chevalier, Kay Francis, William Powell, Jean Arthur, Gary Cooper, Nancy Carroll, Ruth Chatterton, Fay Wray, Fredric March, Lillian Roth, Buddy Rogers. And also Jack Oakie, Mitzi Green, Leon Errol, Harry Green, Stu Erwin, Cecil Cunningham, Warner Oland, Eugene Palette, Clive Brook, Skeets Gallagher, Al Norman, Mary Brian, Zelma O'Neal, Helen Kane, George Bancroft, Mischa Auer, etc.

    Most of the skits are duds but the musical numbers of funny and snappy, especially Chevalier in "Sweeping Away the Clouds," Helen Kane in a "Poop-a-Doop" classroom number, 8-year-old Mitzi Green doing impressions, Clara Bow in her splashy Navy number, Nancy Carroll quite good in her "shoe" dance, and Jack Oakie and Zelma O'Neal in their gym number.

    Where the MGM film had unity via a master of ceremony (Jack Benny) this film seems like a bunch of "shorts" strung together but maybe that's because of the missing material.

    Most at ease among the many big stars are Clara Bow and Maurice Chevalier who are energetic, snappy, and not afraid of the mike..... Worth a look.
  • Sad to say I recently saw an abbreviated version of Paramount On Parade with about only 60% of the numbers and acts in the edited version I saw. Fortunately I do remember seeing the whole film in years gone by.

    Paramount's biggest star in those days was Maurice Chevalier who gets to be in three numbers, one of them being the finale. He also had the biggest hits of the show with All I Want Is Just One Girl and Up On Top Of A Rainbow. His third number the Poor Apache is an Apache number if Mack Sennett had choreographed it.

    The White Mountain studio made both an English and French version and in the French version Jeanette MacDonald was mistress of ceremonies as opposed to comedian Skeets Gallagher for the English. She also was given a number in the French one that we in America weren't privileged to hear. I'm told it's quite lovely.

    William Powell and Clive Brook play Philo Vance and Sherlock Holmes in a murder mystery satire where they annoy Warner Oland as Fu Manchu with insisting on dragging in other suspects. Eugene Palette and Jack Oakie are also in the skit as well.

    Cut out of the version I just saw was Dennis King, Broadway star who had just repeated his role as Francois Villon in The Vagabond King. That film doesn't hold up well for a number of reasons, but his number Nichavo in Paramount On Parade is a stirring song that King's virile baritone takes to easily. King did much better on stage than on the screen although he scored very well in his next film with Laurel and Hardy, Fra Diavolo.

    The finale is Maurice Chevalier with Up On Top Of A Rainbow done with a hundred chorus girls as well. The song and Maurice are fine, but these kind of numbers really needed Busby Berkeley to show how its done.

    I'm a big old sucker for these all star films which had a brief run during the early days of sound and then were revived during World War II as morale boosters. I only wish a complete version was available out there.
  • dbborroughs20 October 2008
    Warning: Spoilers
    Odd mix of music comedy and sketches show casing all of Paramount stars at the time.Since its release the Technicolor sequences were removed or only presented in black and white (the final musical number on the roof tops). Trims over time reduced this from its original 104 minutes to 77. the version I saw ran 73 minutes.(and as anyone who's ever talked about the film has said this film has several introductions for sequences that never come) A scatter shot affair this has some winning things in it (the final dance number), some strange things (Fu Manchu, Philo Vance and Sherlock Holmes all together in a comedy sketch) and some not so good things (a couple of the songs are duds). Clearly made to cash in the idea of all singing and all dancing as well as to assure the public enough stars that some one they like would be in it, this film is too much of a "good" thing. If you like revues this film I suppose would be great, except that the up and down nature makes it hard to really get into an groove of enjoyment. The film isn't bad, but then again it isn't wholly good, or good enough to make it anything more than a curio. To be honest I don't know if I would watch it again in its present form, though if it were ever restored to full length and with the color sequences I might give it ago again (if for no reason then to see the introduced but removed sequences).

    6 out of 10. More if you're a fan of old musicals.
  • You get to see dozens of early talkie stars in this hodgepodge. The short "drama" sequences and most of the "comedy" sequences are awful, but the singing and dancing routines are tops. My favorites are the "I'm in Training for You" routine (Jack Oakie and Zelma O'Neal), the "Dancing to Save Your Soul" routine (Nancy Carroll and an uncredited Al Norman - the great deadpan rubberlegs dancer), Maurice Chevalier singing "All I Want is Just One" and "Sweeping the Clouds Away" and little Mitzi Green imitating Chevalier.
  • "Paramount On Parade" is both a musical revue and a collection of skits by Hollywood stars who can sing and some who cannot. The entertainment value is uneven as some of their stints in front of the camera range from pretty good to mediocre, from Maurice Chevalier to George Bancroft, whose forte was gangster roles. The movie was an excuse for Paramount to showcase as much of their stable of stars as they could assemble, and there were quite a lot of them. I understand that there were a spate of star revue-type pictures produced around the start of the sound era, and this was another one in that mold.

    The main reason to see this picture in 2010, I found, was as a museum piece, watching old stars that I had only heard of. Hadn't seen much of Mitzi Green to speak of, ditto Skeets Gallagher, and had never seen Harry Green before. From that standpoint it was fascinating, but maybe not for moviegoers older than me. There was a good skit with four old-time movie sleuths, Warner Oland, William Powell, Clive Brook and Eugene Palette (who was more of a movie dim-witted cop).

    On the IMDb site it is clocked at 77 minutes but at Capitolfest in Rome,N.Y. (8/10), a 102 minute 35mm print restored by the UCLA film department was shown which made it extra special.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I expected a lot more out of this, perhaps the hardest-to-find of the 1929-1930 musical revues of the big Hollywood studios, but the problems of early sound recording and the parade of some then-stars who are now virtually unknown limits its appeal to dedicated buffs of that cinematic era. There are some ingenious visual tricks, but the material is a series of duds. The most notable exception is the final number, which features some impressively synchronized pre-Busby Berkeley choreography. Of course all this applies to the version currently in circulation, I'm sure a complete print with all the missing footage (over 20 minutes!) and the Technicolor restored would be more memorable. ** out of 4 for this version.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    MGM taught us to sing in the rain, while the Warner Brothers told us "Never take a shower. It's an awful pain. Singin' in the shower is like singin' in the rain". Over at the very art deco Paramount, Maurice Chevalier joined a bunch of chorus girl cuties to literally sweep the clouds out of the sky and shakes all those nasty demons off of the rooftops of Paris. Chevalier, who appears in several numbers, would later have another stormy weather number a few years later in "Folies Bergere" where he got the Busby Berkley like "Rhythm of the Raindrops".

    Among the other highlights are Clara Bow's flirtatious "True to the Navy" (ironically the name of a film she just did a year later), Nancy Carroll's "Dancing To Save Your Soul" (rising out of a giant shoe) and Helen Kane's squeaky voiced "What Did Cleopatra Say", playing a schoolteacher to Paramount's child stars. Ruth Chatterton, one of Paramount's top dramatic stars of this time, also sings, and there are rare glimpses of such early 30's forgotten celebrities as Lillian Roth, Zelma O'Neal and Richard "Skeets" Gallagher, once big names but now a distant memory except to classic cinema buffs like myself.

    Edited after its release and missing much of its footage for its later television release, what still exists is entertaining and nostalgic. There's a great comedy skit that shows a Hollywood party in motion where stars say what they think they should say in polite society, and then a repeat of it where they say what they are really thinking. There's also a detective movie spoof that involves Sherlock Holmes (Clive Brook), Philo Vance (William Powell) and Detective Heath (Eugene Palette) up against Fu Manchu (Warner Oland).

    Pretty much just more of the same with the majority of Paramount's contract players, this is more music than sketch, and the elaborateness of the film is even greater than MGM's "Hollywood Revue", Warner Brothers' "Show of Shows", Universal's "King of Jazz" (in spite of its color photography) and Fox's "The Fox Movietone Follies". In the cut version, appearances by such big names as Jean Arthur, Gary Cooper, Kay Francis and Richard Arlen are fleeting, but for its nostalgic look back at life at the beginning of the sound era as new stars took over the fading silent stars, it makes fascinating viewing.
  • MGM made a film called "Hollywood Review of 1929" and it was a plot less picture consisting of nearly every MGM star singing and dancing--whether they liked it or not! This was because in 1929, folks LOVED talking pictures...particularly musicals with giant production numbers. The film also had some comedy and drama--making it a talent show more than anything else. The film was shot very quickly using several directors and made $1.1 million...a very tidy sum for the time. So, it's not surprising that rival studio Paramount would make their own version only a few months later. Both films lack coherent stories but are must-sees for old movie buffs, as it's great looking for all your favorite old time stars. A few of them, sadly, are very obscure and even the biggest movie buffs would be hard-pressed to recognize all of them. A few of the big and very recognizable stars include: William Powell, Clara Bow, Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur, Maurice Chevalier, Kay Francis, Frederic March and Warner Oland.

    So is it any good? Well, as I mentioned above, there isn't a lot in the way of plot--just lots of little vignettes. And, sadly, portions of the film are missing today...and a recently completed restoration still lacks the opening credits and a few scenes and portions of the soundtrack. As for the acts, most of them are not good--very dated, the songs not memorable and the humor is quite forced. This is not a film you watch because it's fun or enjoyable....more a strange opportunity to see stars behaving very strangely! In particular, you can see Helen Kane--the inspiration for Betty Boop. But, because a living, talking Boop isn't that enjoyable, Ms. Kane ended up making few films. You also get to see some actors trying out outrageous accents or singing when they really aren't very good at singing--although I did enjoy hearing Clara Bow sing (though not necessarily well). And the dance numbers are mostly just strange to say the least. Overall, an odd curio that is NOT for the casual old movie buff (they'll hate it) but the die-hard fans looking for their favorite stars.
  • I used to think KING OF JAZZ, Universal's entry into the studio review genre, was the worst, but Paramount tops it. MGM had THE Hollywood REVIEW, the best of the four; Warners had THE SHOW OF SHOWS; Paramount has PARAMOUNT ON PARADE.

    Only 1 hour and 19 minutes, 20 seconds of this survives, leaving 21 minutes missing. I believe this is lost Technicolor footage (recently restored by UCLA), featuring four numbers: Dream Girl; Singing in a Gondola; The Gallows Song; and Isadore the Toreador.

    What's left has only one redeeming feature and that is Maurice Chevalier in three numbers: History of the Apache (with Evelyn Brent and obviously directed by Lubitsch); One Girl (most likely directed also by Lubitsch) and the Sweeping The Clouds Away finale.

    The comedy and musical numbers are from hunger with cheesy sets, forgettable writing and songs, and blah performances. Elsewhere in other reviews here you will find a run down of the numbers and their performers. Perhaps the worst singing is that f Nancy Carroll, although she dances well. Ruth Chatterton even sings better than Carroll, but her number is stupid and beneath her dignity as a dramatic actress.

    It's fun to see all four of these, just to marvel at how talentless most all the studios were with the advent of sound and musical savor faire. Only MGM comes out on top.