Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Broadway Melody/ All Quiet on the Western Front

Bessie Love and Anita Page star in the 1929 Academy Award Best Picture winner The Broadway Melody. This is about two sisters Hank and Queenie who want to make it into show biz. When they are offered a chance at an audition it does not go well, and the man running the show only wants Queenie. Queenie tells them that she will not work with out her sister there, so Hank is offered a job as well. As the show advances it is made clear to Queenie that if she does not "play the game" her sister will be out. Hank cannot understand why Queenie is hanging out with the stage people, and tries to force her into better choices.

I did think that the best characters in the movie was the unnamed wardrobe maker, and a drunk that they kept calling Unconscious.

The movie was very sweet, funny, and the costumes were amazing. The movie shows how innocent the time was, the sisters show affection to each other in ways that today would be not sisterly. Yes, it was in black and white but I think that made it more real to the time.

All Quiet on the Western Front won the Best Picture at the Academy Awards in 1930. This movie amazed me for the fact that it won. The story follows German WWI solders from home to the front, back home, and ultimately to death. This movie was not about the characters, it was about the harsh conditions of the military, and the physiological affect that war has on the men. It is about pain, hunger, fear, death and the despair that follows the 19 year old who is the one being followed.

This movie was an anti war movie at a time when in nine years the world would again be at war. I know that there are talks of remaking this movie. The talk is that Daniel Radcliffe will be in it and that it will still be a WWI movie.

The book All Quiet on the Western Front and its follow up both written by Erich Marai Remarque were banned in Nazi Germany.
Our next two movies will be 1931 Cimarron staring Irene Dunne and Richard Dix, then 1932 The Grand Hotel staring, Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, John and Lionel Barrymore.

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