The Broadway Melody: Anita Page and Bessie Love

ALL TALKING  ALL SINGING  ALL DANCING

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"The Broadway Melody" (1929 MGM) theatrical release poster

 

“The Broadway Melody” is a 1929 American musical film and the first sound film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture. The film was the first musical released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and was Hollywood’s first all-talking musical. It starred Anita Page, Bessie Love, and Charles King. The film was written by Norman Houston and James Gleason from a story by Edmund Goulding, and directed by Harry Beaumont. Original music was written by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown, including the popular hit “You Were Meant For Me”. The George M. Cohan classic “Give My Regards To Broadway” is used under the opening establishing shots of New York City, its film debut. Bessie Love was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance.

 

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BROADWAY MELODY (1929) first clip

 

The story line is pretty simple as most musicals are. Harriet (Bessie Love) and Queenie Mahoney (Anita Page), a sister vaudeville act, come to Broadway, where their friend Eddie Kerns (Charles Kearn) needs them for his number in one of Francis Zanfield’s shows. Eddie was in love with Harriet, but when he meets Queenie, he begins to fall in love with her, but she is courted by Jock Warriner (Kenneth Thompson), a member of the New Yorker high society. As Queenie begins to recognize she is nothing more than a toy for Jock, Harriet begins to realize that Eddie is in love with Queenie. All this is set to backdrop of getting ready for the show.

 

Anita Page and Bessie Love in "The Broadway Melody" (1929 MGM)

Bessie Love and Anita Page shine in their roles and the movie is filled with great musical numbers, dancing, and entertainment. The success of “The Broadway Melody” set the stage for the great American Musical genre which lasted for over  three decades.

Anita Page, Bessie Love, Charles King in "The Broadway Melody" (1929 MGM)

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One Response to “The Broadway Melody: Anita Page and Bessie Love”

  1. chris worsnop

    This sequence at the top of “Broadway Melody” shows how far musicals travelled in that year, 1929. Compare it to “Glorifying the American Girl” the Marx bros first film, “The Cocoanuts, or “The Hollywood Review of 1929” and it is clear that the use of sound has progressed phenomenally in no time at all. I personally think the musical of that year that plays even more, and more subtly with sound is Ernst Lubitsch’s “The Love Parade”. It would’ve had my vote for the Academy Award if I’d been around then, and if I’d had a vote.

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