‘King of Jazz’ Blu-ray Review (Criterion)

  • Nerdly
Stars: Paul Whiteman, John Boles, The Rhythm Boys, Laura La Plante, Jeanette Loff | Written by Harry Ruskin | Directed by John Murray Anderson

John Murray Anderson’s sole foray into cinema was this lavish revue, released in 1930. It missed the zeitgeist and bombed at the box office and Anderson retreated to the theatre thereafter. Like many a sketch show, the quality of its content is highly variable. Some of it is starkly dated – and some of its omissions are highly questionable – but as a time capsule it’s a fascinating piece of cinema (not least because it’s the film debut of a certain Bing Crosby). The film is presented by an Mc and is comprised of music and dance performances, along with comedy skits. While fixed firmly in the stage tradition, it comes across as an early showcase for the possibilities of cinema, most obviously in its liberal use of close-up.
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