|On with the Show!|
theatrical release poster
|Directed by|| Alan Crosland |
|Written by|| Robert Lord |
(scenario & dialogue)
by Humphrey Pearson
|Starring|| Joe E. Brown |
|Music by||Harry Akst|
|Cinematography||Tony Gaudio (Technicolor)|
|Edited by||William Holmes|
|Color process||Two-strip Technicolor|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|May 28, 1929|
|Box office||$2,415,000 (worldwide rentals)|
On with the Show! is a 1929 American Pre-Code musical film released by Warner Bros. Filmed in Two-strip Technicolor, the film is noted as the first all-talking, all-color feature length film, and the second color film released by Warner Bros.; the first was the partly color, black-and-white musical The Desert Song (1929).
With unpaid actors and staff, the stage show Phantom Sweetheart seems doomed. To complicate matters, the box office takings have been robbed and the leading lady refuses to appear. The cast includes William Bakewell as the head usher eager to get his sweetheart, box-office girl Sally O'Neil, noticed as a leading girl. Betty Compson plays the temperamental star and Arthur Lake the whiny young male lead. Louise Fazenda is the company's eccentric comedian. Joe E. Brown plays the part of a mean comedian who constantly argues with Arthur Lake.
Warner Bros. promoted On with the Show! as being in "natural color." The pioneers of sound were the first to introduce full talking combined with full color. Adverts proclaimed 'Now color takes to the screen'. For Warner's this would be the first in a series of contracted films made in color.
The film generated much interest in Hollywood and virtually overnight, most other major studios began films shot in the process. The film would be eclipsed by the far greater success of the second Technicolor film, Gold Diggers of Broadway . ( Song of the West was actually completed first but had its release delayed until March 1930).
The film was a combination of a few genres. Part backstage musical using the now familiar 'show within a show' format, part mystery and part comedy. It featured famed singer Ethel Waters in two songs written and staged for the film. "Am I Blue?" and "Birmingham Bertha" (with dancer Angelus Babe).
The film was a box office hit, with a worldwide gross of over $2 million.
According to Warner Bros records the film earned $1,741,000 domestically and $674,000 foreign.
Reviews from critics were mixed. Mordaunt Hall of The New York Times wrote that the film was "to be felicitated on the beauty of its pastel shades, which were obtained by the Technicolor process, but little praise can be accorded its story or to its raucous voices....It would have been better if this film had no story, and no sound, for it is like a clumsy person arrayed in Fifth Avenue finery."Variety reported that the film was "too long in running", but was nevertheless "impressive, both as an entertainment and as a talker." Film Daily called it "fine entertainment and a very adroit mixture of comedy, some rather bad pathos and musical comedy numbers." The New York Herald Tribune declared it "the best thing the films have done in the way of transferring Broadway music shows to the screen and, even if the story is bad and the entire picture considerably in need of cutting it is an admirable and frequently handsome bit of cinema exploring." John Mosher of The New Yorker wrote that the film was "completely undistinguished for wit, charm, or novelty, except that it is done in color. Possibly in the millennium all movies will be colored. In these early days of the art, however, not much can be said for it, except that it is not really distressing."
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
The original color print of On With the Show is now lost and only black and white prints have survived.A fragment of an original color print lasting about 20 seconds surfaced in 2005; other original color fragments have also been discovered in 2014. A copy of the b/w version has long been held by the Library of Congress.
In December 2009, On with the Show! (in Black-and-White) was made available on manufactured-on-demand DVD by the Warner Archive Collection.
The Hollywood Revue of 1929, or simply The Hollywood Revue, is an American pre-Code musical comedy film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It was the studio's second feature-length musical, and one of their earliest sound films. Produced by Harry Rapf and Irving Thalberg and directed by Charles Reisner, it features nearly all of MGM's stars in a two-hour revue that includes three segments in Technicolor. The masters of ceremonies are Conrad Nagel and Jack Benny.
The Broadway Melody, also known as The Broadway Melody of 1929, is a 1929 American pre-Code musical film and the first sound film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture. It was one of the first musicals to feature a Technicolor sequence, which sparked the trend of color being used in a flurry of musicals that would hit the screens in 1929–1930. Today, the Technicolor sequence is lost; only a black and white copy survives in available versions. The film was the first musical released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and was Hollywood's first all-talking musical.
The Barker is a 1928 part-talkie pre-Code romantic drama film produced and released by First National Pictures, a subsidiary of Warner Bros., acquired in September 1928. The film was directed by George Fitzmaurice and stars Milton Sills, Dorothy Mackaill, Betty Compson, and Douglas Fairbanks Jr..
The following is an overview of 1929 in film, including significant events, a list of films released and notable births and deaths.
42nd Street is a 1933 American pre-Code musical film directed by Lloyd Bacon, and a script by Rian James and James Seymour, adapted from the 1932 novel of the same name by Bradford Ropes. Starring an ensemble cast of Warner Baxter, Bebe Daniels, George Brent, Ruby Keeler, Dick Powell and Ginger Rogers, the film revolved around the rehearsals of a Broadway show at the height of the Great Depression, and its cast and crew. The film was choreographed by Busby Berkeley, with music by Harry Warren and lyrics by Al Dubin.
Harry Akst was an American songwriter, who started out his career as a pianist in vaudeville accompanying singers such as Nora Bayes, Frank Fay and Al Jolson.
Gold Diggers of Broadway is a 1929 American Pre-Code musical comedy film directed by Roy Del Ruth and starring Winnie Lightner and Nick Lucas. Distributed by Warner Bros., the film is the second two-color Technicolor all-talking feature-length film.
The Show of Shows is a 1929 American pre-Code musical revue film directed by John G. Adolfi and distributed by Warner Bros. The all talking Vitaphone production cost $850,000 and was shot almost entirely in Technicolor.
Song of the West (1930) is an American Pre-Code musical operetta film produced by Warner Bros., and photographed entirely in Technicolor. It was based on the 1928 Broadway musical Rainbow by Vincent Youmans (music), Oscar Hammerstein II (lyrics) and Laurence Stallings (book). It starred John Boles, Joe E. Brown and Vivienne Segal, and was the first all-color all-talking feature to be filmed entirely outdoors.
"Am I Blue?" is a song copyrighted by Harry Akst (music) and Grant Clarke (lyrics) in 1929 and then featured in four films that year, most notably with Ethel Waters in the movie On with the Show. It has appeared in 42 movies, most recently Funny Lady and The Cotton Club, and has become a standard covered by numerous artists.
Song of the Flame is a 1930 pre-Code musical film photographed entirely in Technicolor. It was produced and distributed by First National Pictures. It was the first color film to feature a widescreen sequence, using a process called Vitascope, the trademark name for Warner Bros.' widescreen process. The film, based on the 1925 Broadway musical of the same name, was nominated for an Academy Award for Sound Recording. It is part of the tradition of operetta films, popular at the time.
Golden Dawn is a 1930 American pre-Code musical operetta film released by Warner Bros., photographed entirely in Technicolor, and starring Vivienne Segal, Walter Woolf King and Noah Beery. The film is based on the semi-hit 1927 stage musical of the same name
Manhattan Parade is a 1931 American pre-Code musical comedy film photographed entirely in Technicolor. It was originally intended to be released, in the United States, early in 1931, but was shelved due to public apathy towards musicals. Despite waiting a number of months, the public proved obstinate and the Warner Bros. reluctantly released the film in December 1931 after removing all the music. Since there was no such reactions to musicals outside the United States, the film was released there as a full musical comedy in 1931.
The Desert Song is a 1929 American Pre-Code operetta film directed by Roy Del Ruth and starring John Boles, Carlotta King, Louise Fazenda, and Myrna Loy. It was photographed partly in two-color Technicolor, the first film released by Warner Bros. to be in color. The film included a 10 minute intermission during which music was played.
No, No, Nanette is a 1930 American pre-Code musical comedy film with Technicolor sequences that was directed by Clarence G. Badger and released by First National Pictures. It was adapted from the play of the same title by Otto A. Harbach and Frank Mandel. No, No, Nanette was a popular show on Broadway, running for 321 performances, and was produced and directed by Harry Frazee.
Paris is a 1929 American Pre-Code musical comedy film, featuring Irène Bordoni. It was filmed with Technicolor sequences: four of the film's ten reels were originally photographed in Technicolor.
Lord Byron of Broadway (1930), also known as What Price Melody?, is an American Pre-Code musical drama film, directed by Harry Beaumont and William Nigh. It was based on a best selling book by Nell Martin, which "was widely praised by critics as an extremely true and amusing romance of stage life." It was filmed in black and white with two-color Technicolor sequences.
The Hard Way is a 1943 Warner Bros. musical drama film directed by Vincent Sherman. The film was based on a story by Irwin Shaw which was reportedly based on Ginger Rogers' relationship with her first husband, Jack Pepper and her own mother, Lela.
Is Everybody Happy? (1929) is an American Pre-Code musical film starring Ted Lewis, Alice Day, Lawrence Grant, Ann Pennington, and Julia Swayne Gordon, directed by Archie Mayo, and released by Warner Bros. The music for the film was written by Harry Akst and Grant Clarke, except for "St. Louis Blues" by W. C. Handy and "Tiger Rag". The film's title comes from Lewis's catchphrase "Is everybody happy?"
My Man is a 1928 black and white part-talkie American comedy-drama musical film directed by Archie Mayo starring Fanny Brice and featuring Guinn "Big Boy" Williams. It was Brice's feature film debut at the age of 37. She was a star in the Ziegfeld Follies before she started acting in motion pictures. At the time Warner Bros. made this film there were still some silent movies in production and being released. My Man used intertitles but included talking sequences, synchronized music, and sound effects using a Vitaphone sound-on-disc system. It was not be until 1929 that talking movies would completely take over, but Warner Bros. had completely stopped making silent movies and switched to sound pictures by the end of that year, either part talking or full talking. Warner Bros. also started making movies in color as well as sound movies.