On With The Show

  • 1929
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Musical

The first film in all natural color is a musical that revolves around the backstage actions of a troupe trying to put a show together, the same type of story that would make a big hit with 42ND STREET four years later. The show is about to make its out-of-town opening when the backer walks out because the coat check girl has turned him down. The producer...read more

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The first film in all natural color is a musical that revolves around the backstage actions of a troupe trying to put a show together, the same type of story that would make a big hit with 42ND STREET four years later. The show is about to make its out-of-town opening when the backer

walks out because the coat check girl has turned him down. The producer then is unable to pay the cast or meet expenses, with more pressure added when the prima donna refuses to continue with the show until she is paid. The little money the company has is stolen by the doorman. In between all this

farrago are rehearsals for the musical and dance numbers. Prime among these are two tunes sung by Ethel Waters, "Am I Blue" and "Birmingham Bertha." Crude photography and sound recording techniques acted as drawbacks to the filming of these numbers. Large camera booths were placed much too far

from the stage, making for long static shots with no closeups of the performers. Compson is miscast in the lead, as she has no singing or dancing ability, forcing the use of an obvious substitute (Josephine Houston dubbed her vocals). Direction is well paced, but more effort could have been put

forth in the editing room. It was elastic-faced Brown's debut for Warner Bros., and he was roundly panned for a poor performance. Other songs include: "In the Land of Let's Pretend," "Let Me Have My Dream," "Welcome Home," "Don't It Mean a Thing to You," "Lift the Julips to My Lips," "On with the

Show" (Harry Akst, Grant Clarke).

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: The first film in all natural color is a musical that revolves around the backstage actions of a troupe trying to put a show together, the same type of story that would make a big hit with 42ND STREET four years later. The show is about to make its out-of-… (more)

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