Film and Food

Movies reviews with matching food – eat, watch, enjoy

Best Picture – The Broadway Melody (1929)

Starring, Charles King, Anita Page and Bessie Love

Rating 2/10

This film opens with a fly over the city scape of New York City in the 1920’s. This alone was interesting. It then focuses on a typical New York building with Gleason Music Publishing Co. written on the window. Here we meet Eddie, a song writer and star of the musical The Broadway Melody.

Eddie is engaged to Hank (Harriet), one half of a struggling sister singing duo. She’s a tough nut, the manager and the brains of the two. Her sister, Queenie, is the ‘looker’ and a little witless. Thanks to Eddie, they find themselves miraculously cast in The Broadway Melody (they can’t hold a tune to save themselves) and a rift develops between the sisters. Queenie is featured in an important scene, while Hank’s part is cut. Eddie secretly woos Queenie while pretending to still love Hank and Queenie falls for a wealthy man who offers her the world in exchange for her soul.

The negative side: this movie was disappointing. Compared with its predecessor, The Broadway Musical was a tad, well… boring. There is romance, music, brrrooaadddwwwaaay and awesome shots of 1930’s New York City but it wasn’t enough. Was it because it was made at the dawn of the depression? I don’t know. But I just didn’t care about the characters or the musical and I LOVE musicals. The men were patronising and the girls were simply too much. There was no heart.

The positive side: this film was the first full ‘talkie’ musical; the first musical

example of an intertitle

to win an Oscar. This was HISTORY in the making. It was a dawn of a new era in filmmaking; a pretty exciting time to be working in the biz! This was a time of transition from the silent movie era to the ‘talkies’. Silent film devices were still being used at this time. For example, the use of intertitles (title cards) to link scenes and melodramatic acting techniques.

Is this worthy of an Oscar? I don’t think so. It was a little naff. But here we find it, on our Oscar list. We must obey the mighty Oscar and watch the winners he deemed worthy.

The Broadway Melody Trivia:

  • Budget: $350 000
  • MGM released a silent film version as many theatres were still without sound capabilities
  • One of its enduring influences was the use of red and green Technicolor technology. From then on musicals were associated with the use of this device.
  • MGM made three later versions of this film (and I hope they were better than this one!)
  • According to the films nominated for Oscars in 1930 were, “some of the weakest films in the history of American cinema.”

Next week we head back to war with the classic All Quiet on the Western Front. This one should be much easier to find. All good dvd stores should have a copy you can rent. Join in the Oscar ride as we count down to the most recent Best Picture Oscar winners.


3 comments on “Best Picture – The Broadway Melody (1929)

  1. Pingback: Wings movie matched with authentic WWI recipes | Film and food

  2. Pingback: Best Picture – Wings (1927) and Holiday fruit chocolates | Oscarclub's Blog

  3. Pingback: Best Picture – Wings (1927) | Oscarclub's Blog

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This entry was posted on September 6, 2010 by in Best Picture Films and tagged , , , , .
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