Hollywood Revue of 1929
|Release date: November 23, 1929
Length: 130 minutes
A Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Production
Distributed by: MGM
Producer: Harry Rapf
Director: Charles Riesner
Dialogue: Al Boasberg and Robert E. Hopkins
Photography: John Arnold, Irving G. Reis, Maximillian Fabian, and John M. Nickolaus
Editors: William S. Gray and Cameron K. Wood
Art Directors: Cedric Gibbons and Richard Day
Recording Engineer: Douglas Shearer
Sound Technician: Russell Franks
Dances and Ensembles: Sammy Lee, assisted by George Cunningham
Music: Gus Edwards
Lyrics: Joe Goodwin
Costumes: David Cox
Buster Keaton, Joan Crawford, Marion Davies, Marie Dressler, Bessie Love, Laurel and Hardy, Conrad Nagel, Lionel Barrymore, Cliff "Ukelele Ike" Edwards, Polly Moran, William Haines, Norma Shearer, John Gilbert, Charles King, Jack Benny, Anita Page, the Brox Sisters, Karl Dane, George K. Arthur, Gwen Lee, the Albertina Rasch Ballet, Natacha Nattova and Company, and The Rounders.
The Hollywood Revue of 1929 is a lavish spectacle showcasing some of the major stars of the M-G-M studio at the start of the talkie era. This all-singing, all-dancing, all-talking vaudeville revue features such luminaries as Joan Crawford singing and then dancing the Charleston, Marion Davies tapping her way through a line of toy soldiers, and Laurel and Hardy fumbling a magic act. Most of the stars perform what they do best, only now they're doing it with sound!
Buster Keaton's segment appears one hour and ten minutes into the film and is certainly the highlight of the entire show. Buster recreates his Princess Rajah dance that he improvised during his stint in World War I and then perfected in the silent short, Back Stage. This time, the setting is King Neptune's undersea palace. Buster emerges from a huge scallop shell and proceeds to slide down a long staircase on his backside. Gyrating and doing the bump and grind, Buster entices the King with his frenetic movements. Buster twirls right into one of his no-hands cartwheels, ending in a fantastic but exhaustive fall.
Unfortunately, Buster's performance ends too quickly and he doesn't reappear until the film's finale. The last act has the entire roster of stars locked arm and arm, singing the new hit tune "Singin' In The Rain." Only Buster remains silent throughout the entire song, rolling his eyes and looking a bit out of place. — Janice Agnello