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MartinP.

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Colin, what film would you rather won Best Picture 1928/29?

Alibi (Feature Productions; United Artists)
--The crime drama is also known as The Perfect Alibi, Nightstick and The Bat Whispers.

The Broadway Melody (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)

Hollywood Revue (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)

In Old Arizona (Fox)
--The Academy Film Archive preserved In Old Arizona in 2004. Under the law, this movie will enter the public domain on January 1, 2024.

The Patriot (Paramount Famous Lasky)
--Only pieces of this film are left, including trailers. The UCLA Film and Television Archive is in possession of 2500 feet of footage (out of 10,000), and one reel was found in Portugal, but to date no complete copy has been located. It is the only Best Picture Academy Award nominee for which no complete or near-complete copy has been found.
_________

The other film I've seen of the 5 is In Old Arizona when AMPAS showed it in their Great to Be Nominated series. (It was a couple years before the note that says they preserved it in 2004.) At the time they said the only reason the film existed to that point is that the lead, and Best Actor winner, Warner Baxter had insisted on having a copy of it and that was the only known print of it!

The Broadway Melody: Personally, I don't think it's the worst BP winner because, at least it has musical numbers! My choice is Cavalcade. I didn't care for it when I first saw it in a revival house in the early 80's. I tried it again when it came on VHS. I saw it again when AMPAS showed it at their Best Picture retrospective and again when they had a Noel Coward evening with a special exhibit, a live radio dramatization of his work and then the film presentation. I'm a glutton for punishment, I guess. Of all the joys of Noel Coward's career to experience, Cavalcade is not one of them.

I did get to meet Anita Page at the Sunset Tower once in the '80s, when it was called the St. James Club, when, for a few years, there was a small open film club for anyone interested where the host invited a celebrity of yesteryear that he'd made acquaintances with and the gathering would watch a film of theirs on VHS on a TV screen and then talk with the guest and afterwards mingle with them.

She was there with her daughter and her daughter would take her around and introduce her to anyone and when I shook her hand it felt like Norma Desmond appearing from the shadows of the past to me, in a good way. Anita Page also attended the 2001 screening of The Broadway Melody at AMPAS; their Best Picture Retrospective series.
___

Trivia: In The Broadway Melody there's a female/female kiss and in Wings there's a male/male kiss.
 

richardburton84

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Now there are just 4 more BP Oscar winners that aren't available in Blu-ray. "The Great Ziegfeld" (1936), "The Life of Emile Zola" (1937), Olivier's "Hamlet" (1948), and "Around the World in 80 Days" (1956). Come on guys, get with it!!

and "Coda"



Although "Hamlet" and "Coda" are available internationally.

Also, Emile Zola will be out from the Archive next month, which technically still makes it 4 BP winners not on Blu-ray here in the US.
 

Colin Jacobson

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Colin, what film would you rather won Best Picture 1928/29?

Alibi (Feature Productions; United Artists)
--The crime drama is also known as The Perfect Alibi, Nightstick and The Bat Whispers.

The Broadway Melody (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)

Hollywood Revue (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)

In Old Arizona (Fox)
--The Academy Film Archive preserved In Old Arizona in 2004. Under the law, this movie will enter the public domain on January 1, 2024.

The Patriot (Paramount Famous Lasky)
--Only pieces of this film are left, including trailers. The UCLA Film and Television Archive is in possession of 2500 feet of footage (out of 10,000), and one reel was found in Portugal, but to date no complete copy has been located. It is the only Best Picture Academy Award nominee for which no complete or near-complete copy has been found.
_________

The other film I've seen of the 5 is In Old Arizona when AMPAS showed it in their Great to Be Nominated series. (It was a couple years before the note that says they preserved it in 2004.) At the time they said the only reason the film existed to that point is that the lead, and Best Actor winner, Warner Baxter had insisted on having a copy of it and that was the only known print of it!

The Broadway Melody: Personally, I don't think it's the worst BP winner because, at least it has musical numbers! My choice is Cavalcade. I didn't care for it when I first saw it in a revival house in the early 80's. I tried it again when it came on VHS. I saw it again when AMPAS showed it at their Best Picture retrospective and again when they had a Noel Coward evening with a special exhibit, a live radio dramatization of his work and then the film presentation. I'm a glutton for punishment, I guess. Of all the joys of Noel Coward's career to experience, Cavalcade is not one of them.

I did get to meet Anita Page at the Sunset Tower once in the '80s, when it was called the St. James Club, when, for a few years, there was a small open film club for anyone interested where the host invited a celebrity of yesteryear that he'd made acquaintances with and the gathering would watch a film of theirs on VHS on a TV screen and then talk with the guest and afterwards mingle with them.

She was there with her daughter and her daughter would take her around and introduce her to anyone and when I shook her hand it felt like Norma Desmond appearing from the shadows of the past to me, in a good way. Anita Page also attended the 2001 screening of The Broadway Melody at AMPAS; their Best Picture Retrospective series.
___

Trivia: In The Broadway Melody there's a female/female kiss and in Wings there's a male/male kiss.

I've not seen those other movies so I can't pick.
 

Colin Jacobson

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You haven't seen THE GREAT ZIEGFELD, CAVALCADE or THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH, have you?

I've seen every BP winner other than "CODA".

And I can prove it!


I liked "Ziegfeld" quite a lot, and I thought "Cavalcade" was decent - better than "Melody" or "Cimarron".

"Show" is a dud but at least it's a competently made movie, which "Melody" is not.

And it inspired Spielberg to get into movies!
 

bujaki

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@martinp The Bat Whispers and Alibi are related only by the fact that they were made by the same director.
I like Alibi a lot. The Patriot, knowing Lubitsch, is probably the best, but will we ever know? And it had the disadvantage of being the only silent in the group of nominees.
 

battlebeast

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Colin, what film would you rather won Best Picture 1928/29?

Alibi (Feature Productions; United Artists)
--The crime drama is also known as The Perfect Alibi, Nightstick and The Bat Whispers.

The Broadway Melody (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)

Hollywood Revue (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)

In Old Arizona (Fox)
--The Academy Film Archive preserved In Old Arizona in 2004. Under the law, this movie will enter the public domain on January 1, 2024.

The Patriot (Paramount Famous Lasky)
--Only pieces of this film are left, including trailers. The UCLA Film and Television Archive is in possession of 2500 feet of footage (out of 10,000), and one reel was found in Portugal, but to date no complete copy has been located. It is the only Best Picture Academy Award nominee for which no complete or near-complete copy has been found.
_________
ALIBI was bad, REVUE was silly, THE PATRIOT looks interesting, and ARIZONA is pretty good. I might pick PATRIOT, if I could see it all, but from the four: ARIZONA.

I wish UCLA would release ALL the PATRIOT footage they have on some kind of disc…

as for the worst BPs… CAVALCADE, MARTY, GIGI, AMERICAN IN PARIS, THE ENGLISH PATIENT and KRAMER V. KRAMER are at the bottom of my list.
 

Robert Harris

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I don’t believe that The Broadway Melody can be adequately considered (or reviewed today) without knowledge of the era in which it was made, and all of its background “baggage.”

It’s almost a situation of trying to place oneself back in late 1928, in an era when part-talkies were a side-show rarity known only to those with access to larger cities. For most people silent films were al that were available - and all that was known.

The other part of the equation is that silent films in 1927-at least mid-1928, were generally superior productions.

Melody was not planned to be M-G-M’s first forays into a fully sound film, and was only hastily concocted after problems with a Marion Davies production. Casting was almost haphazard in the need to get camera rolling. Generally, it was who’s on the lot. Never mind if they were trained to sing or dance.

What did come out of the production were two important tech attributes - taking the camera “hotbox” and placing it on wheels, and the concept of a pre-recorded audio playback.

As we look at films heading toward 100 years in bottle age, the era in which they were created, and the conditions of era should come into play.

I recall aeons ago, when I invited a friend to watch a couple of the original Flash Gordon serials. His reaction - presumably in comparison to Star Wars - was that it was a horrible film. Spaceships hanging from wires and being propelled by what appeared to be “sparking dildos.”

Is it one of the great films of all time. Certainly not. Not it cries out to be viewed with more than a little understanding of how it was created.
 
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MartinP.

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@martinp The Bat Whispers and Alibi are related only by the fact that they were made by the same director.

Noted!

The info I supplied was from WIkipedia, which, FWIW, said the source for it was:
  1. Hallenbeck, Bruce G. (2008). Comedy-Horror Films: A Chronological History, 1914-2008. Jefferson: McFarland. p. 15.
 

Bert Greene

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Of the eighty or more 1929 films I've seen, "The Broadway Melody" holds up reasonably nicely, but is all the more impressive as being in the very front of the all-talkie wave, released very early in the year. Context, context, context. Great strides were made throughout the course of that year. There are certainly other 1929 films that either impress (or that I enjoy) more, like "Applause" (1929-Par), "Sunny Side Up" (1929-Fox), "The Virginian" (1929-Par), "Sweetie" (1929-Par), and whatnot. Not to mention, there were still a few really terrific, lingering silents left around which I'm quite partial to, like "Redskin" (1929-Par), "Lucky Star" (1929-Fox), and "The Pagan" (1929-MGM).

Sure, the year also had a big share of overly-stagey, overly-static duds. Some can be quite a bore. Others can sometimes muster up a fair bit of dramatic impact despite this, like "The Laughing Lady" (1929-Par) or "The Lady Lies" (1929-Par), if one can overlook their limited filmic qualities. But in other cases, you can also see the filmmakers valiantly trying to break the newly imposed constraints. Viewing them in that light, with films like "Rio Rita" (1929-RKO), "Broadway" (1929-Univ), and such, can be occasionally fascinating. I've sometimes been surprised how relatively adept a number of ordinary, lower-profile productions can be, like "Half Way to Heaven" (1929-Par) or "The Wild Party" (1929-Par). Although I guess that latter one was still regarded as pretty high-profile, come to think of it. "Tanned Legs" (1929-RKO) has its problems, but is better than most of RKO's little stage-bound programmers of that year. On the other hand, not too long ago, I was watching one of Hoot Gibson's earliest talkies, "Courtin' Wildcats" (1929-Univ). It was filmed reasonably well, but otherwise it was a pretty charmless mess. A good example where sound took everyone off their game. Easily the worst Gibson film I've ever seen.
 
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Bert Greene

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I did get to meet Anita Page at the Sunset Tower once in the '80s, when it was called the St. James Club, when, for a few years, there was a small open film club for anyone interested where the host invited a celebrity of yesteryear that he'd made acquaintances with and the gathering would watch a film of theirs on VHS on a TV screen and then talk with the guest and afterwards mingle with them.

She was there with her daughter and her daughter would take her around and introduce her to anyone and when I shook her hand it felt like Norma Desmond appearing from the shadows of the past to me, in a good way. Anita Page also attended the 2001 screening of The Broadway Melody at AMPAS; their Best Picture Retrospective series.
___

I attended some of those St. James Club meets as well when I was out there in CA, before returning back to Texas. They were always a lot of fun. Ruby Keeler, Betty Garrett, Edie Adams, writer Charles Bennett, many others. Missed out on Anita Page, although I did see her at another big gala event that Turner put on, around the same time. I knew the guys were trying to get Alice Faye to attend, but I never knew if they succeeded. She attended the Cinecon later that year. Do you know the guest celebrity they had at the St. James Club that I most regretted missing? Marcia Mae Jones. She also attended one of the Courts shows several years later. Never got to meet her, darnit.
 

jayembee

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Now there are just 4 more BP Oscar winners that aren't available in Blu-ray. "The Great Ziegfeld" (1936), "The Life of Emile Zola" (1937), Olivier's "Hamlet" (1948), and "Around the World in 80 Days" (1956). Come on guys, get with it!!

The Life of Emile Zola has been announced for Aug 29 release from Warner Archive.

[Jack beat me to it.]
 

Robert Harris

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Of the eighty or more 1929 films I've seen, "The Broadway Melody" holds up reasonably nicely, but is all the more impressive as being in the very front of the all-talkie wave, released very early in the year. Context, context, context. Great strides were made throughout the course of that year. There are certainly other 1929 films that either impress (or that I enjoy) more, like "Applause" (1929-Par), "Sunny Side Up" (1929-Fox), "The Virginian" (1929-Par), "Sweetie" (1929-Par), and whatnot. Not to mention, there were still a few really terrific, lingering silents left around which I'm quite partial to, like "Redskin" (1929-Par), "Lucky Star" (1929-Fox), and "The Pagan" (1929-MGM).

Sure, the year also had a big share of overly-stagey, overly-static duds. Some can be quite a bore. Others can sometimes muster up a fair bit of dramatic impact despite this, like "The Laughing Lady" (1929-Par) or "The Lady Lies" (1929-Par), if one can overlook their limited filmic qualities. But in other cases, you can also see the filmmakers valiantly trying to break the newly imposed constraints. Viewing them in that light, with films like "Rio Rita" (1929-RKO), "Broadway" (1929-Univ), and such, can be occasionally fascinating. I've sometimes been surprised how relatively adept a number of ordinary, lower-profile productions can be, like "Half Way to Heaven" (1929-Par) or "The Wild Party" (1929-Par). Although I guess that latter one was still regarded as pretty high-profile, come to think of it. "Tanned Legs" (1929-RKO) has its problems, but is better than most of RKO's little stage-bound programmers of that year. On the other hand, not too long ago, I was watching one of Hoot Gibson's earliest talkies, "Courtin' Wildcats" (1929-Univ). It was filmed reasonably well, but otherwise it was a pretty charmless mess. A good example where sound took everyone off their game. Easily the worst Gibson film I've ever seen.
Actually shot in 1928. Even more to your point.
 

MartinP.

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I attended some of those St. James Club meets as well when I was out there in CA, before returning back to Texas. They were always a lot of fun. Ruby Keeler, Betty Garrett, Edie Adams, writer Charles Bennett, many others. Missed out on Anita Page, although I did see her at another big gala event that Turner put on, around the same time. I knew the guys were trying to get Alice Faye to attend, but I never knew if they succeeded. She attended the Cinecon later that year. Do you know the guest celebrity they had at the St. James Club that I most regretted missing? Marcia Mae Jones.
I wanted to attend more than I did. It mostly depended on how late I worked if I could get there or not. I remember the Betty Garrett evening and meeting her two sons. So we definitely crossed paths in one way or another! I don't recall seeing Marcia--I wished I'd kept a journal of those things. It seems like you'll remember things that one day you don't or aren't sure of. I missed Gloria Stuart and I'd have to say I didn't really know who she was at the time. Lily Tomlin did one, too! I don't recall what was shown when Anita Page was there, but I don't remember it being The Broadway Melody. Wish those evenings had been recorded! Ann Miller! Perhaps my favorite was meeting one of the Andrews Sisters; Patty!

All of this was FREE!
 
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Robert Harris

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I'm all for using colorization to recreate two-color Technicolor that has been lost.
You cannot colorize what does not survive. The two-color was a totally different take, produced (as I recall with live sound). The b/w may be the first recording to a playback. Or I may be confusing with a different sequence.
 

Matt Hough

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You cannot colorize what does not survive. The two-color was a totally different take, produced (as I recall with live sound). The b/w may be the first recording to a playback. Or I may be confusing with a different sequence.
I don't think that's right. The color sequence produced with live sound was flawed and had to be reshot. Douglas Shearer had the bright idea to use the playback they already had with the reshot sequence, but it was still shot in color and released that way.
 

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