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The Talk of Hollywood 1929
Description: Schlock-movie producer J. Pierpont Ginsburg, after declaring, in a Yiddish accent, that "talking pictures are in their infantry," decides to place all of his savings into a big-budgeted musical, starring the sensation of Paris (with a terrible French accent), Adore Renee, and a swishy leading man, Reginald Whitlock. Meanwhile, his daughter, Judy Ginsburg, gets involved in a romance with Ginsburg's Gentile lawyer, John Applegate. His efforts aren't helped any by the projectionist who mixes up the sound-disc reels, with the photos not matching the dialogue and sound effects, during a showing for prospective movie buyers and exhibitors.
Released: 09 Dec 1929 Director: Mark Sandrich Writers: Nat Carr (story), Mark Sandrich (story), Darby Aaronson (dialogue) Actors: Nat Carr, Fay Marbe, Hope Sutherland, Sherling Oliver Genres: Comedy, Drama, Music
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The Talk of Hollywood Reviews:

Plot: Silent film producer J. Pierpoint Ginsburg has place off making his first talkie. Finally, he faces reality and begins his musical-comedy-drama talking production.The zany story is loaded with Ethnic and Gay humor which was famous during the 1920's and 1930's. Today's audience may search this to be the most politically incorrect movie of all time. Personally, I found the content of this movie refreshing, unique, and different. It is interesting to compare Singing in the Rain's primary plot concept with this early Talkie Burlesque on Vitaphone sound films.NOTES: 1. Al Goodman's "Follow Thru" Orchestra is a highlight. Al has one speaking line. 2. Nat Carr (Jewish dialect comedian/star) and Tag Sandrich (Writer/Director who soon moved over to RKO to work on many 2 Reel comedies & features) co-wrote this script. 3. Running time is 72 Minutes.


One of the first independent musicals, produced by Prudence Pictures, successor to the silent Perfect Pictures (as in "if it's a nice picture, it's Excellent"), it had a nice behind the scenes pedigree. Produced and directed by Tag Sandrich who soon went on to direct some of the nice Astaire/ Rogers musicals, he also co-wrote the storyline with Nat Carr who also starred and was absolutely hilarious in it and went on to become a hero actor at Warners. The film grabs you from the begin with "Presenting the International Star - Miss Fay Marbe in Her Talking Picture Debut" which happened to be Miss Marbe's last film. She reminded me of Ethelind Terry who also proved a fizzer in "Lord Byron of Broadway"(1930).Fay plays Adore Renee (how did that ever create it past - folks had a more "who cares" attitude back in the roaring twenties!!) By having a "they'll never catch on" attitude to talking pictures J. Pierpont Ginsberg is watching his movie empire slip through his fingers but he has actually decided to create a movie that will be "the talk of Hollywood"!! He needs to cast and the auditions are a shout - there is the stuttering chorus woman ("she doesn't everytime stutter - no, only when she talks"!!), the effeminate leading boy (played by Gilbert Marbe, Fay's brother), he already has his temperamental leading lady. Sure it oversteps the boundaries of nice taste and has a several off colour remarks but it has to be viewed as belonging to the time it was made. Equally funny but probably unintentional, was the love stage away from the studio between Ginsberg's lawyer, John Applegate, and his daughter Ruth (Hope Sutherland). John begins off telling "I can't say my feelings the method they do in the pictures" and then almost breaks into song!! He doesn't but if only this stage was part of Ginsberg's fresh "sock it to 'em" talking picture it would be a smash!!It wouldn't be a 1929 film without a musical interlude and with Al Goodman's Follow Thru Orchestra leading the charge the songs are toe tapping. Forget Fay Marbe's fruity French accent - she is nice when her feet do the talking, although her thunder is stolen in one dance by her partner's spirited Al "Rubberlegs" Norman eccentric dance. My favorite was a crazy Egyptian dance from a flurry of chorus women with a jazzy beat, then Marbe is back with more chorus women (The Leonidoff Ballet Troupe) for the finale!! "That's large time stuff" and everyone agrees only to search out that the microphones have been out all day!!The ending is straight out of "Singin' in the Rain" - although this film was made when the talkie change over was today's news and it is fascinating to see how "sound on discs" now operated. A drunken projectionist causes mayhem with the wrong records being synchronized with the wrong reels - very, very funny. A large percentage of the cast never made other movie, although one exception was Sam Levine who appeared in the projection room stage and went on to become one of Hollywood's and Broadway's greatest hero actors.A day after this movie was released the R.C.A's Photophone Studios of Manhattan was burned to the ground because of Kleig lights setting fire to the cloth that was used to sound proof the walls from the noise of the busy streets. Careless security measures but also attributed to the slap dash method many musicals were churned out to feed the public's large demand.Highly Recommend.


Difficult to imagine how this picture got produced. Couldn't Hollywood moguls, even at such a tiny studio as Prudence gotta have been, spot a stinker? "The Talk Of Hollywood" is an inferior film on many levels; it is poorly acted, poorly written and, most of all, poorly directed. It was Tag Sandrich's first attempt at directing a full-length detail and got him demoted; it would be five years before he reemerged to direct such movies as "Top Hat", "The Gay Divorcée" and 'Holiday Inn"."The Talk Of Hollywood" is an obvious insider spoof of Sam Goldwyn and his habit of mangling the English language and with a pronounced ethnic accent. Another reviewers have rehashed the plot and how it parallels "Singing In The Rain", but you gotta see it to appreciate how corny the gag lines are (even for 1929) and to witness the terrible timing between lines and to experience the ad-libbed quality of the storyline, as though made up on the fly. I have not mentioned the forced, amateur feel of the acting, except for someone called Fay Marbe, who seemed to have a germ of talent as a French prima donna and the star of the movie-within-the-movie."The Talk Of Hollywood" played at Capitolfest, Rome,NY, 8/15. It is worth seeing for a look at how Hollywood should come a cropper even as it made the necessary transition from silent to sound.



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