Sherwood Nash is a swindler who bootlegs Paris fashions for sale at cut-rate prices. His assistant Lynn poses as An American interested in a dress and Snap conceals a camera in his cane. ... See full summary »
He is one of the best riveters in the union, but he is still a day laborer. She comes from money, but when they saw each other, it was love at first sight. They date, they dance, they fall ... See full summary »
Sally was an orphan who got her name from the telephone exchange where she was abandoned as a baby. In the orphanage, she discovered the joy of dancing and has been practicing since. ... See full summary »
John Francis Dillon
Joe E. Brown
It's 1929. The studio gave the cinema its voice gave offered the audiences a chance to see their favorite actors and actresses from the silent screen era to see and for the first time can ... See full summary »
A true backstage musical (like MURDER AT THE VANITIES) that weaves the onstage and backstage action into one plot. ON WITH THE SHOW is a tad creaky but bad sound and hammy performances aside it was a total pleasure.
A fascinating look at what 20s musicals were really like: the stage crammed with performers, long numbers, reprises of the main tunes, etc. The show within a show, THE PHANTOM SWEETHEART is a loony plantation musical that looks like a cheap rip-off of SHOW BOAT but that's of little consequence since the "real story" occurs backstage. It's a plot we've seen before and seemingly borrows from every contemporary musical yo ever saw.
But several of the performers are total standouts. Betty Compson plays the temperamental star but has little to do until the last section of the film. She has a great face, a good voice, and for some reason is a fave of mine. She's a good old "broad" with a heart of gold and is excellent in her final scenes. Joe E. Brown is also very good, although I think his eccentric dance was repeated in BRIGHT LIGHTS a few years later. Both have star quality.
Louise Fazenda has an odd role (she laughs) but is always likable. Ethel Waters is terrific singing "Am I Blue?" and "Birmingham Bertha" but is not involved in the backstage plot.
The rest of the cast doesn't come off so well. Arthur Lake is the juvenile lead, William Bakewell and Sally O'Neill are the "innocents," Sam Hardy is the producer, Wheeler Oakman is the nefarious Mr. Wallace, Lee Moran (related to Ray Bolger?) is the stage manager, and the Fairbanks Twins dance and cause trouble.
Compson has a great entrance line when heading onstage someone says something like "there's Nita French!" She turns and says, "In the flesh, baby, in the flesh!" while clutching her shear robe around her......
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