Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Broadway Melody (1929)

I watched this with Margo.

Two sisters, Queenie and Harriet, move to New York to make it big in a thinly-disguised Ziegfield's Follies. Harry, the older sister, is the manager of the act and protector of Queenie. Harriet doesn't realize it but she's out of touch with the big city and her temper is much too hot for her own good. But Queenie is pretty enough and knows how to sweet-talk, so she talks them both into the show, but lets it seem like Harriet's doing to protect her pride.

Eddie, Harriet's fiance and a promising songwriter, falls in love with Queenie, and she falls in love with him - but they try to keep it from going anywhere for Harriet's sake. Instead, Queenie lets herself be wooed by a gross older man who just wants her to be his mistress. This drives Harriet crazy with worry but every time Eddie is about to come clean to Harriet he sees how upset she is and he can't do it to her. Things get worse and worse till Harriet catches on and convinces Eddie that she has only been interested in him for his show-biz connections all along and never was in love with him. This is all the more pathetic because her acting is so terrible that only a man desperate for an excuse to get out of his engagement would believe her.

Eddie runs off and rescues Queenie from the evil sugar daddy and they live happily ever after. We see at the end that Queenie knows the truth - that she got both the fame and the man that her sister longed for - but since they both know Eddie doesn't love Harriet, Queenie accepts her sister's generous gift.

It was sooooo slooooow and loooong and the acting was awful and over-done and the sisters have really strange, grating voices and there are a lot of scenes that just don't need to be there, but it was a big showy show so they all probably seemed important at the time.

Three stars for the story, the costumes and the classic show business story. Won't watch again.

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