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  • This was yet another of the Vitaphone musical shorts that was on The Jazz Singer DVD I highly enjoyed. The title band is all the show here as they perform various tunes like "The Tiger Rag" that happened to be the theme song of my LSU Tigers football and basketball team. Just one ongoing number after another that provided great joy to I'm sure audiences of the day and certainly to yours truly who likes discovering vintage music and movies whenever I get the chance as I've had for the last several hours watching these vintage films. Since there's a requirement of ten lines in order for this review to be submitted, I'll just say that most of what I've seen so far, I highly was enthralled when seeing them. So that's a recommendation...
  • An early Vitaphone film, this Warner Brothers short apparently was one created using a very complicated system through which an accompanying record was synchronized with a movie camera. There were several serious setbacks for such a system (such as if a film skipped--it became out of sync for the rest of the film plus the records quickly wore out--and 20 showings was the normal life-span of the records) and even though it produced excellent sound, it was eventually replaced. The last of the Vitaphone films were made in 1930, then the studio switched to the standard sound-on-film system.

    Gus Arnheim and his Ambassadors were pretty typical of the talent Vitaphone used for its shorts. This band had achieved some fame and were asked to perform for Warner Brothers in this short. It's an all musical short--with no dialog. The quality and style of the music is about average for the day and the singing, while a bit thin, was pretty much what I've seen in many other similar films of the day. Overall, it's pleasant and inoffensive as well as an important historical document of a bygone era.
  • Typical early musical revue short in sound. Nothing more than a group of rather stiff looking gentlemen in dinner suits singing a couple of tunes and playing their instruments.
  • This Warner Brothers Vitagraph short featuring Gus Arnheim and his orchestra was a real find for me on YouTube. For those that don't know Arnheim was a bandleader and composer of note from what is called the 'sweet' era in music which covers the early Thirties. Arnheim composed Sweet And Lovely and a couple of guys associated with him, Bing Crosby and Russ Columbo each made a great record of that song. Arnheim's band was the featured orchestra for many years of the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in Hollywood.

    Gus jumped on the sound bandwagon with this short subject where we see Russ Columbo not only sing with a trio, but play the violin which he was also skilled. What was unusual for me and for Arnheim and Columbo was that in this film, Gus played jazz mostly. Later on he did nothing, but sweet music. And Russ Columbo in his short career recorded commercially nothing, but ballads. Unfortunately we heard no solo parts for Russ as he sang with a trio.

    The best selection however was strictly instrumental version of Tiger Rag where the tuba was used to good effect imitating the tiger's growl. Great short subject recommended highly for those like myself who love this era's music.
  • The introductory title to the short I watched calls it "Gus Arnheim and His Cocoanut Grove Orchestra" although the table of contents on the DVD packaging lists it as "Gus Arnheim and His Ambassadors." The former title is not listed in IMDb so I'm assuming they're the same. The plot synopsis is the same, at any rate. I'm not familiar with the tunes but the music is nice enough for background music - the kind that's good to listen to when you're cleaning the house. The singing style (which I've heard in many old films) is not one I care for. It's too tinny and thin, almost whinny. So, an interesting bit of history but not memorable.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    . . . for Gus Arnheim and his Ambassadors, but not until 1930-31, so you do NOT need to strain your eyes looking for Spencer Tracy's antagonist in DOUBLE INDEMNITY, Humphrey Bogart's undoing in THE CAINE MUTINY, or Uncle Charley's foil in MY THREE SONS in either of the Vitaphone Warner Brothers shorts featuring Gus Arnheim's bunch, since the first was filmed in 1927 and this one (the last)--9 minutes, 40.41 seconds of questionable listening pleasure--GUS ARNHEIM AND HIS AMBASSADORS first saw the light of night the following year. Eddie Cantor and Joan Crawford would record with Gus (off-screen) on July 23, 1931, well before Arnheim died from a heart attack on January 19, 1955, at age 57. The native Philadelphian ended his life in Los Angeles, and by 1940 his heyday was over. Gus was collaborating with Bing Crosby in 1930 when Bing's group "The Rhythm Boys" broke up, but it does not sound as earth-shaking an event as Yoko Ono allegedly busting up the Beatles.