The Broadway Melody Reviews

  • Jan 18, 2021

    Fast forward through the usual awful dancing and music and actually you get one of the better Oscar best picture winners from the early days. There is at least an interesting love triangle and a bit of personality to the film. Not the best film but not as dreadful as some. Why is that girl called Hank though? And why does everyone find her bang average sister to be so much hotter than her?

    Fast forward through the usual awful dancing and music and actually you get one of the better Oscar best picture winners from the early days. There is at least an interesting love triangle and a bit of personality to the film. Not the best film but not as dreadful as some. Why is that girl called Hank though? And why does everyone find her bang average sister to be so much hotter than her?

  • Jul 23, 2020

    Might be historically significant but it isn't good.

    Might be historically significant but it isn't good.

  • Jul 23, 2020

    Jumping from one genre to another, let's talk about The Broadway Melody, winner number two. In this film, The Mahoney sisters Hank and Queenie (Bessie Love and Anita Page) hope to "give their regards to Broadway" with their remarkable debut on a musical show. During which, Queenie "sits on top of the world" while Hank worries about her sister walking on the wrong tightrope. I know that The Broadway Melody was MGM's first Hollywood musical with sound. I know that the film's escapism lightened up the mood during the Great Depression. I know that this film was a game changer for movie musicals at the time. However, The Broadway Melody has not aged well, especially compared to modern-day musical films. With a cliched story, melodramatic performances, and sloppy scene transitions, the movie seems more like a novelty than a timeless classic. Nonetheless, the main redeeming value of the picture is the showtunes, which are entertaining and help set the cheery mood of the 20's. As is, The Broadway Melody is not terrible, but, needless to say, it isn't worth seeing, unless you're wasting your life doing a marathon of Best Picture winners at midnight in your pajamas like I am. (2 Sloppily-Edited Girly Punches in the Face out of 5) (Seriously, what was that?)

    Jumping from one genre to another, let's talk about The Broadway Melody, winner number two. In this film, The Mahoney sisters Hank and Queenie (Bessie Love and Anita Page) hope to "give their regards to Broadway" with their remarkable debut on a musical show. During which, Queenie "sits on top of the world" while Hank worries about her sister walking on the wrong tightrope. I know that The Broadway Melody was MGM's first Hollywood musical with sound. I know that the film's escapism lightened up the mood during the Great Depression. I know that this film was a game changer for movie musicals at the time. However, The Broadway Melody has not aged well, especially compared to modern-day musical films. With a cliched story, melodramatic performances, and sloppy scene transitions, the movie seems more like a novelty than a timeless classic. Nonetheless, the main redeeming value of the picture is the showtunes, which are entertaining and help set the cheery mood of the 20's. As is, The Broadway Melody is not terrible, but, needless to say, it isn't worth seeing, unless you're wasting your life doing a marathon of Best Picture winners at midnight in your pajamas like I am. (2 Sloppily-Edited Girly Punches in the Face out of 5) (Seriously, what was that?)

  • May 16, 2020

    Incorporating sound into films was almost like discovering a new dimension in the medium - but The Broadway Melody will make you wish that they hadn't. The script is quite poor, clearly designed to accommodate the muscial scores (which are surprisingly sparing and undiversified given that they are the main draw), but the delivery and acting are atrocious. The sole redeeming factor of this film is its influence on the craft, paving the way for decades of far, far superior productions. This is a serious contender for the worst to ever win Best Picture. (1/5)

    Incorporating sound into films was almost like discovering a new dimension in the medium - but The Broadway Melody will make you wish that they hadn't. The script is quite poor, clearly designed to accommodate the muscial scores (which are surprisingly sparing and undiversified given that they are the main draw), but the delivery and acting are atrocious. The sole redeeming factor of this film is its influence on the craft, paving the way for decades of far, far superior productions. This is a serious contender for the worst to ever win Best Picture. (1/5)

  • May 01, 2020

    The 1929/1930 Oscar winning Best Picture is The Broadway Melody. It is not a great film, and barely a good one, but it is paced well enough that it is at least entertaining. Original for its time, the story is the now banal concept of a musical about the making of a musical. It is the first fully talking musical film made in the United States, though this is broken during numerous close-up shots that are inserted and noticeably devoid of any sound. These close-ups are a throwback to the more familiar silent films of the era and are jarring distractions scattered throughout the movie. The plot is thinner than tinfoil. Two mediocre singing and dancing sisters (Hank and Queenie Mahoney) move to New York City in order to make it on Broadway. They are assisted by their Uncle Jed. He has an acute stuttering problem, because that's good for a laugh in the 1920's. The girls are quickly cast in a Broadway show (solely because Queenie catches the eye of the producer, even though she is the less driven or talented of the two sisters). Queenie soon advances in the show and her sister Hank is jealous and disheartened. During all of this, Hank's boyfriend Eddie develops feelings for Queenie. Meanwhile, there are lots of large musical numbers, even though whatever plot there is to the ‘musical within the musical' remains completely unknown. It is fun to observe as a film created before the implementation of the Hays Code, it includes three openly (though terribly stereotyped) gay male characters. They are a costume designer and a couple investing in the musical. This may seem uninteresting today, but keep in mind that any portrayal of openly homosexual characters was forbidden in film from 1934 until well into the 1970's. If you are looking for a tight plot, good editing and great acting… this film is not for you. In fact the only actor worthy of mention is Bessie Love who played Hank Mahoney. She alone provides the one portrayal of depth for which the viewer can feel any sense of empathy. Without her, the movie really is more about providing the viewer of its time period to access of lots of sound and the spectacle of several Broadway musical numbers. For the average movie goer of little means or privilege in 1929 or 1930, this film would no doubt have been marvelous. Not so much for someone viewing it in 2020.

    The 1929/1930 Oscar winning Best Picture is The Broadway Melody. It is not a great film, and barely a good one, but it is paced well enough that it is at least entertaining. Original for its time, the story is the now banal concept of a musical about the making of a musical. It is the first fully talking musical film made in the United States, though this is broken during numerous close-up shots that are inserted and noticeably devoid of any sound. These close-ups are a throwback to the more familiar silent films of the era and are jarring distractions scattered throughout the movie. The plot is thinner than tinfoil. Two mediocre singing and dancing sisters (Hank and Queenie Mahoney) move to New York City in order to make it on Broadway. They are assisted by their Uncle Jed. He has an acute stuttering problem, because that's good for a laugh in the 1920's. The girls are quickly cast in a Broadway show (solely because Queenie catches the eye of the producer, even though she is the less driven or talented of the two sisters). Queenie soon advances in the show and her sister Hank is jealous and disheartened. During all of this, Hank's boyfriend Eddie develops feelings for Queenie. Meanwhile, there are lots of large musical numbers, even though whatever plot there is to the ‘musical within the musical' remains completely unknown. It is fun to observe as a film created before the implementation of the Hays Code, it includes three openly (though terribly stereotyped) gay male characters. They are a costume designer and a couple investing in the musical. This may seem uninteresting today, but keep in mind that any portrayal of openly homosexual characters was forbidden in film from 1934 until well into the 1970's. If you are looking for a tight plot, good editing and great acting… this film is not for you. In fact the only actor worthy of mention is Bessie Love who played Hank Mahoney. She alone provides the one portrayal of depth for which the viewer can feel any sense of empathy. Without her, the movie really is more about providing the viewer of its time period to access of lots of sound and the spectacle of several Broadway musical numbers. For the average movie goer of little means or privilege in 1929 or 1930, this film would no doubt have been marvelous. Not so much for someone viewing it in 2020.

  • Apr 25, 2020

    If you put to one side the novelty of combining musical numbers and plot, you're left with characters and dialogue steeped in cringeworthy stereotypes that stand the test of time as poorly as the choreography. The Broadway Musical is an example of a genre that was yet to have its creases ironed.

    If you put to one side the novelty of combining musical numbers and plot, you're left with characters and dialogue steeped in cringeworthy stereotypes that stand the test of time as poorly as the choreography. The Broadway Musical is an example of a genre that was yet to have its creases ironed.

  • Apr 22, 2020

    Harry Beaumont's The Broadway Melody was one of the first sound films ever produced and the first ever all-talking musical. It was also the first musical to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, but there are reasons why it doesn't tend to get mentioned in lists of classic musicals and why it isn't remembered with the same fondness as some of the subsequent examples. The Broadway Melody was pioneering in many ways. With the talkies still in their infancy and musicals even more so, Beaumont reportedly had to experiment extensively to see what worked, resulting in a lengthy shooting schedule with numerous retakes. He also had to make a movie that would work as a silent film, since it would be shown in cinemas that still didn't have sound equipment, which is presumably the reason for the occasional intertitles. The film's experimental spirit is demonstrated by the fact that one sequence was filmed in Technicolor, although it only survives in black and white. Although the film's ambitions are admirable however, the end result isn't very good. In technical terms it has aged far worse than many of its contemporaries, partly because with the emphasis on the musical numbers cinematographer John Arnold goes for static camerawork with mostly medium and long shots which gives the impression that the film has been shot on a theatre stage rather than a movie set; visually, it just isn't particularly interesting to look at. There are many such sacrifices for the sake of musical novelty. The story is about a group of characters trying to put on a Broadway show, which isn't inappropriate but is very slight. The characterisation is similarly flimsy, and motivated mostly by the inevitable romance at the heart of the film, with Jacques Warriner for example written as a textbook sleazy cad. It doesn't help that the script – clearly written to frame the songs – often clunks, with dialogue that rarely sounds natural and a smattering of terrible jokes ("I can't sing without a spotlight." "You couldn't sing if you had a searchlight!"). More interesting are the film's attempts to titillate, tame by modern standards but clearly pre-Code, with shots of Anita Page and Bessie Love half-naked and a gratuitous shot of lots of female legs at one point. The film acknowledges via the indignation of the sisters that sex is used to sell, as they are instructed to strip off much of their clothing because people will come to see the show because of their legs. The acting is variable. Page – who plays Queenie Mahoney – was a popular silent movie actress, but her delivery of her lines is often wooden. Charles King was presumably cast as Eddie Kearns because he can sing and dance, not because he can act, whilst Jed Prouty is terrible as the sisters' stuttering Uncle Jed. The stand-out performance is from Bessie Love as Harriet "Hank" Mahoney, who gives a much more convincing performance, for example when Hank screams and shouts at Eddie in the dressing room before breaking down when she is alone. The Broadway Melody remains a historical curiosity, not least because it won the Academy Award for Best Picture: one assumes that this was due to its novelty value as the first all-talking musical. That was obviously the film's appeal to audiences at the time, but with that novelty now ancient history and little else to recommend it, The Broadway Melody has not stood the test of time.

    Harry Beaumont's The Broadway Melody was one of the first sound films ever produced and the first ever all-talking musical. It was also the first musical to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, but there are reasons why it doesn't tend to get mentioned in lists of classic musicals and why it isn't remembered with the same fondness as some of the subsequent examples. The Broadway Melody was pioneering in many ways. With the talkies still in their infancy and musicals even more so, Beaumont reportedly had to experiment extensively to see what worked, resulting in a lengthy shooting schedule with numerous retakes. He also had to make a movie that would work as a silent film, since it would be shown in cinemas that still didn't have sound equipment, which is presumably the reason for the occasional intertitles. The film's experimental spirit is demonstrated by the fact that one sequence was filmed in Technicolor, although it only survives in black and white. Although the film's ambitions are admirable however, the end result isn't very good. In technical terms it has aged far worse than many of its contemporaries, partly because with the emphasis on the musical numbers cinematographer John Arnold goes for static camerawork with mostly medium and long shots which gives the impression that the film has been shot on a theatre stage rather than a movie set; visually, it just isn't particularly interesting to look at. There are many such sacrifices for the sake of musical novelty. The story is about a group of characters trying to put on a Broadway show, which isn't inappropriate but is very slight. The characterisation is similarly flimsy, and motivated mostly by the inevitable romance at the heart of the film, with Jacques Warriner for example written as a textbook sleazy cad. It doesn't help that the script – clearly written to frame the songs – often clunks, with dialogue that rarely sounds natural and a smattering of terrible jokes ("I can't sing without a spotlight." "You couldn't sing if you had a searchlight!"). More interesting are the film's attempts to titillate, tame by modern standards but clearly pre-Code, with shots of Anita Page and Bessie Love half-naked and a gratuitous shot of lots of female legs at one point. The film acknowledges via the indignation of the sisters that sex is used to sell, as they are instructed to strip off much of their clothing because people will come to see the show because of their legs. The acting is variable. Page – who plays Queenie Mahoney – was a popular silent movie actress, but her delivery of her lines is often wooden. Charles King was presumably cast as Eddie Kearns because he can sing and dance, not because he can act, whilst Jed Prouty is terrible as the sisters' stuttering Uncle Jed. The stand-out performance is from Bessie Love as Harriet "Hank" Mahoney, who gives a much more convincing performance, for example when Hank screams and shouts at Eddie in the dressing room before breaking down when she is alone. The Broadway Melody remains a historical curiosity, not least because it won the Academy Award for Best Picture: one assumes that this was due to its novelty value as the first all-talking musical. That was obviously the film's appeal to audiences at the time, but with that novelty now ancient history and little else to recommend it, The Broadway Melody has not stood the test of time.

  • Apr 03, 2020

    Supposedly the great grandfather of subsequent MGM musicals, but hardly a musical in the sense we have come to love the genre. Not a musical by modern standards. Music was logically integrated into the story line, rather than an intimate emotional expression of the internal dialog of the characters. A few Broadway song and dance numbers, but nothing really catchy. A worn story formula, even for the times: a sister act from the west arrives on Broadway with big dreams. Pretty sister is pursued by all, even by the finance of the ugly sister. Fiance get jealous of rich guy, and fights for the love of pretty sister. Long story short: pretty sister steals fiance from ugly sister, and ugly sister becomes ok with it, knowing that her role in life is to be a "trooper." Plenty of cliche stereotypes to go around. In the unrelenting male pursuit of female beautify, this picture has aged horribly in the age of #MeToo. Though Anita Page as Queenie is a stunning beauty in this film,

    Supposedly the great grandfather of subsequent MGM musicals, but hardly a musical in the sense we have come to love the genre. Not a musical by modern standards. Music was logically integrated into the story line, rather than an intimate emotional expression of the internal dialog of the characters. A few Broadway song and dance numbers, but nothing really catchy. A worn story formula, even for the times: a sister act from the west arrives on Broadway with big dreams. Pretty sister is pursued by all, even by the finance of the ugly sister. Fiance get jealous of rich guy, and fights for the love of pretty sister. Long story short: pretty sister steals fiance from ugly sister, and ugly sister becomes ok with it, knowing that her role in life is to be a "trooper." Plenty of cliche stereotypes to go around. In the unrelenting male pursuit of female beautify, this picture has aged horribly in the age of #MeToo. Though Anita Page as Queenie is a stunning beauty in this film,

  • Apr 03, 2020

    There were some nice songs. The actress that played Queeny was the best performance. The story was small. People trying to make it in American is simple and at times was not stretched. The acting was limited and the film does not hold its own against many film of its time. Surprised it won best picture Oscar. Very cliche script not saying a lot.

    There were some nice songs. The actress that played Queeny was the best performance. The story was small. People trying to make it in American is simple and at times was not stretched. The acting was limited and the film does not hold its own against many film of its time. Surprised it won best picture Oscar. Very cliche script not saying a lot.

  • Mar 22, 2020

    The Broadway Melody was one a very early musical film, so I can see how it was enjoyed for the novelty. More modern musicals, however, make it feel incredibly boring. The musical numbers make sense for the plot of putting on a Broadway show, but are essentially just reprieves from the main plot. The main romantic plot, to its credit, ended unexpectedly, but for a film with two female leads, the sexist parts were very apparent.

    The Broadway Melody was one a very early musical film, so I can see how it was enjoyed for the novelty. More modern musicals, however, make it feel incredibly boring. The musical numbers make sense for the plot of putting on a Broadway show, but are essentially just reprieves from the main plot. The main romantic plot, to its credit, ended unexpectedly, but for a film with two female leads, the sexist parts were very apparent.