The Show of Shows


2h 9m 1929
The Show of Shows

Brief Synopsis

Warner Bros. stars perform a series of musical and dramatic sketches.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Musical
Release Date
Dec 28, 1929
Premiere Information
New York premiere: 20 Nov 1929
Production Company
Warner Brothers Pictures
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 9m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White, Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.33 : 1
Film Length
11,692ft (15 reels)

Synopsis

Following the introduction of emcee Frank Fay, a dramatic prologue presents an execution in a medieval setting. The "Military March" number features Monte Blue and a horde of chorus girls in a dancing routine. Winnie Lightner then sings "Singin' in the Bath-Tub" with a male chorus attired as bathing girls, and performs a comedy takeoff with Bull Montana. Georges Carpentier appears as a boulevardier in a number featuring "If I Could Learn to Love," supported by Alice White and Patsy Miller. Irene Bordini appears with various composers, each seated at a piano, and sings their successes. In the Florodora Number, the girls sing, then are replaced by the Florodora Boys, demonstrating their occupations in a dance routine. Beatrice Lillie, in a comedy sketch, does "Your Mother and Mine." In the "Motion Picture Pirates" number, Ted Lewis appears with an array of leading screen ladies and heavies along with his band on a picturesque pirate ship. Myrna Loy and Nick Lucas appear in an Oriental routine featuring "Li-Po-Li," and an all-star number features eight sets of starlets, each attired in costumes of various countries in "Meet My Sister," with Richard Barthelmess as emcee. A rhythmic ballet number features 75 dancing girls in black and white costumes, highlighted by Louise Fazenda; then Lupino Lane appears in a tramp ballet. John Barrymore, along with Anthony Bushell and E. J. Radcliffe, acts out a scene from Richard III . In the "Bicycle Built for Two" number, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., heads a prominent group of stars in a satire of 1900; the Execution Number, laid in the badlands of Mexico, features Monte Blue and some of the screen's leading heavies, headed by Noah Beery. The "Lady Luck" finale stars Betty Compson and Alexander Gray along with 15 individual acts, climaxed by a screen image of each of the film's stars singing "Lady Luck."

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Musical
Release Date
Dec 28, 1929
Premiere Information
New York premiere: 20 Nov 1929
Production Company
Warner Brothers Pictures
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 9m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White, Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.33 : 1
Film Length
11,692ft (15 reels)

Articles

Show of Shows


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.
Show Of Shows

Show of Shows

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.

Quotes

Trivia