The King of Jazz (1930) - Rotten Tomatoes

The King of Jazz (1930)





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Intended as Universal Pictures' entry in the "all-star musical" cycle of the early talkie era, King of Jazz is certainly the most elaborate of the bunch, though far from the most successful financially. Staged by Broadway impresario John Murray Anderson, the film is held together by the charismatic personality of rotund bandleader Paul Whiteman. The show begins with a Walter Lantz cartoon wherein it is recalled how Whiteman earned the title of the King of Jazz (Lantz's animated star Oswald Rabbit makes a brief appearance). Then Whiteman appears in the flesh (and plenty of it), coaxing his miniaturized orchestra out of a small box. The film then assumes the traditional revue format, with brief comedy sketches featuring such Universal contractees as Laura LaPlante and Slim Summerville interspersed with some of the most spectacular production numbers ever captured on film. The musical talent includes John Boles, the Rhythm Boys (with Bing Crosby), and "swing" violinist Joe Venuti. Highlights include a full-length "picturization" of Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" (with Gershwin look-alike Roy Bargy at the piano), the surrealistic "Happy Feet", the splendiferous "Bridal Veil", and the gargantuan "Melting Pot" finale. The current Technicolor negative of King of Jazz, lovingly assembled from pristine original prints and battered dupes, runs 93 minutes -- some 12 minutes short of the film's original length.
Musical & Performing Arts , Special Interest
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Critic Reviews for The King of Jazz

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Audience Reviews for The King of Jazz

The most enjoyable of the early talkie revues; highlights include the elaborate "Bridal Veil" production number, and the hit song "It Happened in Monterey," sung by John Boles.

Michael Troudt
Michael Troudt

"King if Jazz" is an elaborate musical revue film showcasing popular music from 1930, lead by Paul Whiteman and his orchestra, and featuring a young Bing Crosby, and some mildly amusing comedy skits. Only the famous Gershwin song really grabbed me...but I must give credit for some creative techniques and unique dance numbers.

Ken Scheck
Ken Scheck

in 1929 and 1930, all the major studios were creating all-star extravaganzas that showed off their grapplings with sound and color technology. some of also showed off the fact that their hottest properties should not have been in musicals(like warners' 'the show of shows'). but universal's 'king of jazz' shows off some of the finer musical talent of the time like bing crosby, john boles, jeanette loff, jeanie lang and the paul whiteman orchestra going at an edited version of gershwin's 'rhapsody in blue'. the musical numbers feature the crazy dancing of the sisters g and the first rockettes, then known as the russell markert girls. some of the comady sketches haven't aged well, but full-on production numbers like 'happy feet' and the dance prelude to rhapsody are fun and wonderful.

darryl clark
darryl clark

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