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Show of Shows 1929
Description: It's 1929. The studio gave the cinema its voice gave offered the audiences a possibility to see their favourite actors and actresses from the silent screen era to see and for the first time can be heard in a gaudy, grandiose melody comedy revue. But also appear actors and actresses from the first 'talkies', stars from Broadway and of course the German shepherd Rin-Tin-Tin. Frank Fay is the host of the more than 70 well-known stars who present different acts.
Released: 29 Dec 1929 Director: John G. Adolfi Writers: J. Keirn Brennan, Frank Fay Actors: Frank Fay, William Courtenay, H.B. Warner, Hobart Bosworth Genres: Musical
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See Myrna Loy Rare Technicolor Chi on youtube.

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See Jazzy Show Finale from 1929 Pa on youtube.

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See Overture "The Show of Sho on youtube.

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See On with the show! on youtube.

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See SID CAESAR: The Poker Game [TH on youtube.

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See John Barrymore. Show of Shows on youtube.

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See "The Show of Shows" on youtube.

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See A Large Sister Act From 1929 on youtube.

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See Jazzy Show Finale from 1929 Pa on youtube.

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See Gold Diggers Of Broadway (1929 on youtube.

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Show of Shows Reviews:

THE SHOW OF SHOWS (Warner Brothers, 1929), directed by John G. Adolfi, originally presented in early two-strip Technicolor, became Warner Brothers' respond to MGM's earlier all-star musical, "The Hollywood Revue of 1929," which brings almost all of its contract players, former stars of the silent screen, and newest recruits from Broadway, to present off their musical talents, or their lack of. The master of ceremonies in this vaudeville-type production is Frank Fay, who spends the first half of this revue trying to have the spotlight all to himself and to sing a song or two, even a several times trying to sing "Dear Tiny Pup" to his dogie, but is everytime interrupted by comedy acts or singers who feel they should do better, and they usually can. For a musical revue that goes on for almost two hours, one can only tell that this is a mixed bag of production numbers that either entertains or doesn't. What can be told about "The Present of Shows" when seeing it today is that it plays to 1929 audiences, in another words, there are many performers in this revue who appear without any introduction, such as the legendary John Barrymore (who still needs no introduction in my book), Monte Blue leading a West Mission military march, or the then famous French prizefighter, Georges Carpentier, singing "If I Should Learn to Love" in front of a curtain backdrop of the Eiffel Tower, accompanied by Patsy Ruth Miller and Alice White, among others, assuming that viewers of 1929 watching this review automatically know who these folks are, but for the first-time viewer, this individual will begin asking himself, "Who is that?" Nostalgic buffs and star searchers can otherwise sit back and play spotting some of their favourite film stars then just starting out in the business, including the better-known faces of Myrna Loy, Loretta Young, Harriette Lake (who became Ann Sothern) and/or Douglas Fairbanks Jr. In brief, THE SHOW OF SHOWS musical tool features: PROLOGUE UNIQUE: Hobart Bosworth as an executioner and HB Warner as the victim in a brief skit set during the French Revolution; THE MILITARY PARADE: lead by Monte Blue and marching and drum testing West Mission cadets; FLORADORA GIRLS: Myrna Loy, Marian Nixon, Ben Turpin, Lupino Lane, and many others in 1890s costumes; THE PIRATE NUMBER: featuring Ted Lewis with motion picture pirates including Noah Beery, Tully Marshall, etc.; EIFFEL TOWER: Georges Carpentier; RECITATIONS: Beatrice Lillie, Louise Fazenda, Lloyd Hamilton and Frank Fay, soon going into their song, "Your Mother and Mine"; EIGHT SISTER ACT: Hosted by Richard Barthelmess, followed by sisters including Dolores and Helene Costello singing "Meet My Sister," along with Loretta Young and Sally Blane, Sally O'Neil and Molly O'Day, Alice and Marceline Day; Marion Byron and Harriett Lake; and others. Following this number comes a game card that reads INTERMISSION: TEN MINUTES (which is usually eliminated from most TV prints); SINGING IN THE BATHTUB: Winnie Lightner, which concludes with Lightner and Bull Montana singing "You Were Meant for Me"; IRENE BORDONI HERSELF: Bordoni singing "Just an Hour of Love"; Chinese FANTASY: Introduced by Rin-Tin Tin; with Nickname Lucas singing "Li-Po-Li" and Myrna Loy dancing (this number actually can be seen in its restored two-strip Technicolor); FAY AND SILVERS: Amusing skit with Sid Silvers stepping in and auditioning for a solo spot, showing Frank Fay his own imitation of Al Jolson by singing "Rock-a-Bye Your Baby With a Dixie Melody"; BICYCLE BUILT FOR TWO: Chester Conklin, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Chester Morris; Gertrude Olmstead, Sally Eilers, among others; BLACK AND WHITE: Introduced by Sid Silvers, danced by chorus women dressed up in black and white dresses; YOUR LOVE IS ALL THAT I CRAVE: Sung by Frank Fay (he finally got to do his solo); KING RICHARD III: Introduced and recited by John Barrymore; Mexican MOONSHINE: Comedy sketch with Monte Blue as a condemned man, and Frank Fay as his executioner, accompanied by Lloyd Hamilton, Albert Gran and others as soldiers; LADY LUCK FINALE: Sung by Alexander Gray with Betty Compson briefly seen as Lady Luck; and STARS: with the whole cast appearing with their heads poked through holes in canvas singing "Lady Luck", especially John Barrymore making facial gestures while he pretends to be singing along with the others.THE SHOW OF SHOWS is fortunate to have survived almost intact after all these years, considering how many films of 1929 are no longer accessible for viewing. The most memorable performer besides John Barrymore (whom I wished should have been the master of ceremonies instead of Fay), is Winnie Lightner, whose energetic and special comedic style, in the persona of of future vibrant singers as Martha Raye or Betty Hutton combined, who not only sings in the bathtub, but lightens up the rough spots by singing "Ping Pongo," And then there's Nickname Lucas singing "Lady Luck" and "That's the Only Song I Know" with his guitar.A predecessor to the once famous fad of TV tons shows of the 1950s and '60s, THE SHOW OF SHOWS which is one from the time capsule, is worthy entertainment that could be viewed at least once, and to receive the feel of the bygone days of vaudeville, here captured on movie Hollywood style. WPHL, Channel 17, in Philadelphia, was one of the very several known commercial tv stations to frequently enjoy THE SHOW OF SHOWS in the early 1970s (final air date: December 31, 1974). In soon years when brought over on cable, it was shown on Turner Network Tv (TNT) from 1988 to 1993, and soon on Turner Classic Films (more frequently prior to 1997). (***)


It is very difficult to rate this film. As entertainment value for 21st century viewers, it fails miserably. However, for the student of early sound movies and history, it is a jewel. "Show of Shows" was a revue filmed to compete with MGM's successful "Hollywood Revue of 1929", which still survives intact finished with its Technicolor scenes.The purpose of the all-star revue was to showcase a particular studio's silent stars in speaking roles, and present that they should create the transition. However, Warner Bros. seems to have forgotten this and employs many acts and stars that they didn't even have under long-term contract such as Ben Turpin, Lloyd Hamilton, Beatrice Lillie, and even a marching band. Meanwhile, their largest talent - Al Jolson - is noticeably absent. Even at a high salary he should not be compelled to join in. Almost each act is overly long and the movie plays like a dozen or so Vitaphone shorts strung together with no continuity. The finale is also overly long, but it is really enjoyable with all of its dance numbers.The highlights of the movie are two numbers from Winnie Lightner - "Pingo Pongo" and "Singin in the Bathtub", a couple of numbers with Nickname Lucas, John Barrymore performing Shakespeare, and the Chinese Fantasy "Li Po Li" with Nickname Lucas and Myrna Loy. This last number is the only part of the movie that survives in Technicolor, and it really is quite attractive. Reasonably enough, the users in these nice acts were long-term Warner Bros. stars so perhaps the director knew how to enjoy to their strengths since he was familiar with them.This movie acts as a snapshot at an odd mission in movie history - the year 1929, which was the bridge year between two eras - the silent and sound eras, and the roaring 20's and the Nice Depression. Just two years soon this same movie would have had an entirely various cast, as Warner Bros. would abandon its silent era stars and the stars they hired just to produce the early musicals in favor of those stars that gave Warner Bros. its distinctive urban look and feel - James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Edward G. Robinson, and others.


It is hard to evaluate this or any another comparable movie of the early sound era in terms that one might test for ordinary movie commentary. At times there is almost a desperation, as many movie personalities of the silent era test their wings at sound, surely fearing that they will be left by the wayside (as did happen to some), Rin-Tin-Tin. however, was pertfectly natural. In such a vaudeville of unrelated sequences, some were sure to stand out John Barrymore's soliloquy from Richard II is a moment certainly worth preserving. By and large, only those with earlier scene training exuded confidence. However, this is over all reasonably entertaining, and a gotta for "film buffs" especially interested in the silent to sound transition



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