|The Show of Shows|
|Directed by||John G. Adolfi|
|Written by||Special material:|
J. Keirn Brennan
|Produced by||Darryl F. Zanuck|
|Music by||Edward Ward|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
107 minutes (Technicolor)
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.
The Show of Shows was Warner Bros.' fifth color film; the first four were The Desert Song (1929), On with the Show! (1929), Gold Diggers of Broadway (1929) and Paris (1929). ( Song of the West was actually completed by June 1929 but had its release delayed until March 1930). The Show of Shows featured most of the contemporary Warner Bros. film stars, including John Barrymore, Richard Barthelmess, Noah Beery Sr., Loretta Young, Dolores Costello, Bull Montana, Myrna Loy, Chester Conklin, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Tully Marshall, Nick Lucas, and Betty Compson.
The film was styled in the same format as the earlier Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film The Hollywood Revue of 1929 . The high budget of the film meant that although it performed well at the box office, it did not return as much profit as The Hollywood Revue of 1929. The Show of Shows was originally meant to be and advertised as being an all-color talking movie; however, twenty-one minutes were in black and white—17 minutes of the first part and the first four minutes of part two.
The film features nearly all the stars then working under contract at Warner Bros. Virtually all the performers shown would vanish from the studio by 1931, after tastes had shifted owing to the effects of the Great Depression, which began to be felt late in 1930.
The Show of Shows features many of the performers who were popular in silent movies mixed in with hand-picked stage stars and novelty acts. The emcee of the film was Frank Fay, who performed in the style of barbed sarcasm. In an era of almost naive optimism, he stands out as a witty devil's advocate.
|Frank Fay||Master of ceremonies|
|Harry Akst||Onscreen pianist|
|Armida Vendrell||"Meet My Sister" and "Lady Luck" finale|
|Johnny Arthur||"Motion Picture Pirates"|
|Mary Astor||"Motion Picture Pirates"|
|William Bakewell||"Bicycle Built for Two"|
|John Barrymore||"Henry VI Part III"|
|Richard Barthelmess||Introduces "Meet My Sister"|
|Noah Beery||"Motion Picture Pirates", "Mexican Moonshine"|
|Sally Blane||"Meet My Sister"|
|Monte Blue||"Mexican Moonshine"|
|Irène Bordoni||Singing "One Hour of Love"|
|Hobart Bosworth||Prologue (executioner)|
|Harriet Byron||"Meet My Sister", "Bicycle Built for Two"|
|Marion Byron||"Meet My Sister"|
|Georges Carpentier||"If I Could Learn to Love (As Well as I Fight)"|
|Ethlyne Clair||"Motion Picture Pirates"|
|Betty Compson||"Lady Luck" (Finale)|
|Chester Conklin||"Bicycle Built for Two"|
|Dolores Costello||"Meet My Sister"|
|Helene Costello||"Meet My Sister"|
|William Courtenay||"Bicycle Built for Two"|
|Viola Dana||"Meet My Sister", "Motion Picture Pirates"|
|Alice Day||"What's Become of the Florodora Boys", "Meet My Sister"|
|Marceline Day||"Meet My Sister"|
|Douglas Fairbanks Jr.||"Bicycle Built for Two"|
|Albert Gran||"Singin' in the Bathtub"|
|Alexander Gray||"Lady Luck" (Finale)|
|Lloyd Hamilton||"Florodora", "Recitations", "Mexican Moonshine"|
|Lupino Lane||"What's Become of the Florodora Boys"|
|Lila Lee||"What's Become of the Florodora Boys"|
|Ted Lewis and his Orchestra|
|Winnie Lightner||"Pingo Pongo", "Singin' in the Bathtub"|
|Jacqueline Logan||"Motion Picture Pirates"|
|Lola||"Meet My Sister", "Lady Luck" (Finale)|
|Myrna Loy||"Florodora Boys", "Believe Me" and "Chinese Fantasy"|
|Nick Lucas||"The Only Song I Know", "Chinese Fantasy" and "Lady Luck" (Finale)|
|Tully Marshall||"Motion Picture Pirates", "Mexican Moonshine"|
|Shirley Mason||"Meet My Sister"|
|Patsy Ruth Miller||"What's Become of the Florodora Boys", "If I Could Learn to Love"|
|Bull Montana||"Singin' in the Bathtub"|
|Lee Moran||"Singin' in the Bathtub"|
|Chester Morris||"$20 Bet", "Bicycle Built for Two"|
|Jack Mulhall||"$20 Bet"|
|Edna Murphy||"Motion Picture Pirates"|
|Carmel Myers||"Motion Picture Pirates"|
|Marian Nixon||"What's Become of the Florodora Boys"|
|Molly O'Day||"Meet My Sister"|
|Sally O'Neil||"What's Become of the Florodora Boys", "Meet My Sister"|
|Gertrude Olmstead||"Motion Picture Pirates"|
|Kalla Pasha||"Motion Picture Pirates"|
|Anders Randolf||"Motion Picture Pirates"|
|Rin Tin Tin||Introduces "An Oriental Fantasy"|
|Bert Roach||"What's Become of the Florodora Boys"|
|Sid Silvers||Introduces "Black and White Girls"|
|Sōjin Kamiyama||"$20 Bet"|
|Ben Turpin||"What's Become of the Florodora Boys"|
|Alice White||"If I Could Learn To Love"|
|Lois Wilson||"Bicycle Built for Two"|
|Grant Withers||"Bicycle Built for Two"|
|Loretta Young||"Meet My Sister"|
According to Warner Bros records the film earned $1,259,000 domestically and $336,000 foreign.
The Show of Showsstill survives in a black-and-white 1958 print from an Associated Artists Productions. "Jack Buchanan with the Glee Quartet" is a single reel of a number that was shot but not included in the final cut, being later used for a standalone release as a b/w short.
Certain segments in color of the film have been recovered.As of June 2018, these are as follows (in the order of their presentation in the film):
1. "Meet My Sister" – Sequence was shown publicly at the 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival.
2. "Chinese Fantasy" – Entire sequence is present in commercially available copies of the film.
3. "Frank Fay With Sid Silvers" – An announcement was made in July 2017 by the Vitaphone Project that portions of this sequence have been recovered, and preservation is ongoing.
4. "A Bicycle Built For Two" – An announcement was made in July 2017 by the Vitaphone Project that portions of this sequence have also been recovered, and preservation is ongoing.
5. "If Your Best Friend Won't Tell You" – An announcement was made in July 2017 by the Vitaphone Project that portions of this sequence have also been recovered, and preservation is ongoing.
6. "King Richard III" – At least one Technicolor specimen frame is known to exist. This sequence should not be confused with a color test John Barrymore made for RKO in 1933; that test involved a recitation from "Hamlet."
7. "Finale" – A six-minute segment of this sequence was shown publicly in Australia ca. 1978; this particular print is believed to have been destroyed in the late 1980s. The British Film Archive has extracts from this scene along with snippets from other early film musicals.At least one Technicolor specimen frame from this sequence is known to exist.
8. "Curtain of Stars" – A four-second segment of this sequence was restored by the George Eastman House.
The Library of Congress maintains a copy (since the 1970s) of the black/white version.
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 survives only in black and white. The film was the first musical released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and was Hollywood's first all-talking musical.
The Jazz Singer is a 1927 American musical drama film directed by Alan Crosland. It is notable as the first feature-length motion picture with both synchronized recorded music score as well as lip-synchronous singing and speech. Its release heralded the commercial ascendance of sound films and effectively marked the end of the silent film era. It was produced by Warner Bros. with the Vitaphone sound-on-disc system and features six songs performed by Al Jolson. Based on the 1925 play of the same name by Samson Raphaelson, the plot was adapted from his short story "The Day of Atonement".
Merrie Melodies is an American animated series of comedy short films produced by Warner Bros. starting in 1931, during the golden age of American animation, and ending in 1969. As with its partner series, Looney Tunes, it featured cartoon characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, and Elmer Fudd. Between 1934 and 1943, the Merrie Melodies series were distinguished from the black-and-white, Buddy or Porky Pig–starring Looney Tunes shorts by an emphasis on one-shot stories in color featuring Warner Bros.–owned musical selections. After Bugs Bunny became the breakout recurring star of Merrie Melodies, and Looney Tunes went to color in the early 1940s, the two series gradually lost their distinctions and shorts were assigned to each series more randomly.
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 all-talking, all-Technicolor feature-length film.
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).
Hold Everything is a 1930 American Pre-Code film. It was the first musical comedy film to be released that was photographed entirely in early two-color Technicolor. It was adapted from the DeSylva-Brown-Henderson Broadway musical of the same name that had served as a vehicle for Bert Lahr and starred Winnie Lightner and Joe E. Brown as the comedy duo. The romantic subplot was played by Georges Carpentier and Sally O'Neil. Only three songs from the stage show remained: "You're the Cream in My Coffee", "To Know You Is To Love You", and "Don't Hold Everything". New songs were written for the film by Al Dubin and Joe Burke, including one that became a hit in 1930: "When The Little Red Roses Get The Blues For You". The songs in the film were played by Abe Lyman and his orchestra.
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.
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.
Winnie Lightner was an American stage and motion picture actress. Perhaps best known as the man-hungry Mabel in Gold Diggers of Broadway (1929), Lightner was often typecast as a wise-cracking gold-digger and was known for her talents as a comedian and singer. She is also noted for introducing the song "Singin' in the Bathtub" in the 1929 motion picture The Show of Shows.
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 include footage in color. The film included a 10-minute intermission during which music was played.
Showgirl in Hollywood is a 1930 American pre-Code all-talking musical film with Technicolor sequences, produced and distributed by First National Pictures, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. The film stars Alice White, Jack Mulhall and Blanche Sweet. It was adapted from the 1929 novel Hollywood Girl by J.P. McEvoy.
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.
General Crack is a 1929 American pre-Code part-talkie historical costume melodrama with Technicolor sequences which was directed by Alan Crosland and produced and distributed by Warner Bros. It was filmed and premiered in 1929, and released early in 1930. It stars John Barrymore in his first full-length talking feature. The film would prove to be Crosland and Barrymore's last historical epic together.
Mammy (1930) is an American pre-Code musical drama film with Technicolor sequences, released by Warner Bros. The film starred Al Jolson and was a follow-up to his previous film, Say It with Songs (1929). Mammy became Al Jolson's fourth feature, following earlier screen efforts as The Jazz Singer (1927), The Singing Fool (1928) and Say It with Songs (1929). The film relives Jolson's early years as a minstrel man. The songs were written by Irving Berlin, who is also credited with the original story titled Mr. Bones.
Chasing Rainbows is a 1930 American Pre-Code romantic musical film directed by Charles Reisner, and released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
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.
Paramount on Parade is a 1930 all-star American pre-Code revue released by Paramount Pictures, directed by several directors including Edmund Goulding, Dorothy Arzner, Ernst Lubitsch, Rowland V. Lee, A. Edward Sutherland, Lothar Mendes, Otto Brower, Edwin H. Knopf, Frank Tuttle, and Victor Schertzinger—all supervised by the production supervisor, singer, actress, and songwriter Elsie Janis.
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.
Hardboiled Rose is a 1929 American part-talkie romantic drama film directed by F. Harmon Weight and released by Warner Bros. It starred Myrna Loy, William Collier, Jr., and John Miljan.