Hollywood Cavalcade

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Hollywood Cavalcade
1939 - Strand Theater Ad - 20 Nov MC - Allentownn PA.jpg
Newspaper advertisement
Directed by Irving Cummings
Screenplay by Ernest Pascal
Story byHilary Lynn
Brown Holmes
Produced by Darryl F. Zanuck
Starring Alice Faye
Don Ameche
J. Edward Bromberg
Alan Curtis
Cinematography Allen M. Davey
Ernest Palmer
Edited by Walter Thompson
Music by Cyril J. Mockridge
20th Century Fox
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
  • October 13, 1939 (1939-10-13)
Running time
97 minutes
CountryUnited States

Hollywood Cavalcade is a 1939 American film featuring Alice Faye as a young performer making her way in the early days of Hollywood, from slapstick silent pictures through the transition from silent to sound.



In the wake of Alice Faye's 1938 success Alexander's Ragtime Band , which took a nostalgic look at the musical scene of the 1910s, screenwriter Lou Breslow approached studio chief Darryl F. Zanuck with an idea to do another period piece, this time in Technicolor, concerning the early days of silent movies. [1] The film was directed by Irving Cummings, with comedy sequences directed by Mal St. Clair. St. Clair's old crony Buster Keaton staged some of the gags, and a host of silent-era comedians re-created slapstick sight gags. The romance in the storyline was based on the real-life relationship between pioneer producer Mack Sennett and his first star, Mabel Normand.

Atypical for Faye's 20th Century-Fox output, Hollywood Cavalcade has no musical numbers, and the tone is more dramatic than comic. (The working title was Falling Stars.) The film presents a fictionalized look at silent-era performers and their productions, and ends just after the silent-film industry converts to sound films.


In 1913, movie director Michael Linnett Connors (Don Ameche), chooses Broadway ingenue Molly Adair (Alice Faye) to be in his next film. He makes her a major star in slapstick comedies. Although she is in love with him, she can't understand his preoccupation with the picture business, and wrongly thinks that Connors regards her only in terms of movies. When she marries her co-star Nicky Hayden (Alan Curtis), Connors misunderstands her and fires her. The disillusioned director's career quickly declines, but his ice-cold demeanor changes when he sees the first talking feature film. Inspired, he approaches Molly and eagerly plans her first sound film.


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  1. Scott MacGillivray, Laurel & Hardy: From the Forties Forward, Second Edition, iUniverse, 2009, p. 13. ISBN 978-1440172373.