A group of German infantrymen of the First World War live out their lives in the trenches of France. They find brief entertainment and relief in a village behind the lines, but primarily ... See full summary »
Georg Wilhelm Pabst
When the Manhattan investment firm of Sherwood Nash goes broke, he joins forces with his partner Snap and fashion designer Lynn Mason to provide discount shops with cheap copies of Paris couture dresses.
Oswald the Rabbit puts on a concert for a group of barn animals - but when they discover that he's miming to a record of his idol, Paul Whiteman - they boo and shun him. Oswald wanders off ... See full summary »
This revue presents its numbers around the orchestra leader Paul Whiteman, besides that it shows in it's final number that the European popular music are the roots of American popular music, called Jazz.Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <email@example.com>
The Rhythm Boys and The Sisters G sing Yellen & Ager's " Happy FEET". But the number is introduced in a stop-motion sequence with the title "Happy SHOES". See more »
No record of American music could be complete without George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, which was written for the Whiteman Orchestra and first played at the Aeolian Hall, in 1924. The most primitive and most modern musical elements are combined in this rhapsody.
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Restored in 2016 with a running time of 99 minutes. This version replicates the scene continuity of the 1930 release version, including about a minute of exit music. A small amount of footage was not found and is covered by still photographs. This is the version that played at the Museum of Modern Art and Film Forum in 2016, and was released by the Criterion Collection on Blu-Ray and DVD in 2018. See more »
1930's King of Jazz is the strangest and most surreal of the early sound cycle of movie studio revues. Very few films shot completely in two-strip Technicolor survive - this is one of them. Warner Bros. probably made the most all-Technicolor films in the early sound era, but since most of them were Vitaphone the films have long since been lost in most cases.
The 1929 and 1930 early sound revues were made by the studios primarily to showcase their talent in an all-talking setting. MGM's "Hollywood Revue of 1929" started the cycle, and did a pretty good job. However, other studios lost sight of the goal and the revues that followed were often clumsily put together and didn't even showcase talent that belonged to the studio.
"The King of Jazz" is a surprise not only because it holds up so well with time, but because it is such a non-typical product for Universal Studios of that era. Universal of the 20's and 30's mainly made westerns for rural moviegoers with an occasional prestige picture and they were beginning to dabble in the horror genre for which the studio is most remembered. However, at this time they were also known for their thrift, which went out the window when they made this film. The film starts out with a cartoon showing how Paul Whiteman - who called himself The King of Jazz - discovered Jazz. What follows are a sequence of musical and comedy routines. This film doesn't make the mistake of trying to sew the numbers together with some maudlin backstage melodrama. It simply presents the numbers in sequence. Most of the talent here is not under long-term contract to Universal. Laura LaPlante is one of the rare exceptions to that rule. The musical numbers are a delight and it is great to see Bing Crosby at the very beginning of his career. The Brox Sisters light up this film just as they did MGM's revue with "Singin in the Rain". The whole thing is so lively and done with with such innovation and energy considering the static camera of the early talkie era that I can't believe Universal has never thought to put this on DVD. They made this one great musical and didn't really make another one until 1936's "Showboat".
My favorite number is "Song of the Dawn" featuring handsome John Boles with his piercing eyes in close up during most of the number belting out a song with that wonderful tenor voice of his. The most memorable number though has got to be "Happy Feet" with dancing shoes and the Sisters G as singing heads in a shoebox. This number also has the aptly named Al "Rubber Legs" Norman showing us the moon dance 28 years before Michael Jackson was even born.
Highly recommended for the fun of it all.
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