Hollywood Revue

I watched something marvelous last night. It was called Hollywood Revue. This movie that came out when talkies were brand new, and it featured New York stage entertainers and Hollywood stars from 1929. A younger Jack Benny than I’m used to seeing still had his violin in hand to host, and the talent he introduced ranged from spectacular to downright bad. Joan Crawford, roughly 20 in a frizzy bob, elbowed her way awkwardly through a dance number that was both graceless and mannish. Laurel and Hardy performed a magic act that had an actual banana peel gag, I thought were myths. Buster Keaton was amazing in a dance number in drag that had him defying gravity, and speaking of, there was an acrobatic ballet sequence with Russian dancers that had the female protagonist flying through the air, acting as a jump rope for the men, and suspended horizontally to a dancer using only her thighs. But my favorite parts were the songs performed by someone with a familiar name and sound called Cliff Edwards. It was halfway through a rendition of “Singing in the Rain” (which, for trivia buffs, is credited as the very first rendition of that song performed in cinema) when I said, “HEY! That’s JIMINY CRICKET!”…….And indeed it was.

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