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The Show of Shows

The Show of Shows(1929)

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teaser The Show of Shows (1929)

Warner Brothers, eager to show off their new advances in color film and sound technology, put together this wild hodgepodge of a variety show conceived as an explicit death knell to the old way of doing movies. Starring just about everyone they had under contract at the time -- Alice White, Patsy Miller, Beatrice Lillie, Loretta Young, Ann Sothern, Marceline Day, Dolores Costello, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Myrna Loy, Louise Fazenda, John Barrymore, and yes, Rin-Tin-Tin -- the acts range wildly in content, from Busby Berkeley-esque ballet extravaganzas to Shakespearean scenes to a chorus line of men in bathing beauty drag clomping around to the tune of "Singing In The Bathtub". To modern eyes, its static shooting style is frustratingly stiff for a musical, but that's due to the locked-down limitations of sound cameras at the time. But as a census of talents on their way out and new faces on their way in, it's a fascinating snapshot of Hollywood on the cusp of radical change.

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