Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Top Billed Actors: Conrad Nagel, Jack Benny, John Gilbert
IMDb Rating: 7.8
*Best Picture Nominee*
Won 0 Oscars
Nominated for 1 more:
Plot: Famous people tell jokes, dance, and sing songs. Nothing else.
Seeing these performances in snippets from the films I mentioned above made this experience much more interesting. Instead of seeing behind the scenes or select songs as part of a plot, this movie produces an entire two-hour long production. It is hard to score this movie based on the variety of acts, which is a plus because if you don't like one performance, another act is sure to follow in short time. A few moments were actually quite funny. A stand out moment to me was the Romeo and Juliet bit. Norma Shearer and John Gilbert perform the famous balcony scene in the Shakespearian style. They are then told to act out the same scene with modern language. Doing this back to back actually made me laugh out loud, something I did not think I would do from this film. The acrobatic dancing sequence, in which three men jump rope with a woman acting as a rope, was also a very entertaining section.
Other moments stand out in a negative way. The Laurel and Hardy comedic magician act was horrendous. Maybe the late 1920s humor was lost on me, but the gags were just plain dull. Most of the introductions by Jack Benny made me cringe also. Some of the songs throughout are pretty forgettable as well. A cool cinematic technique was used to make it seem like some of the actors were shrunk to a couple of inches tall. However, this was used on three separate occasions so it lost its luster by the end of the film.
Overall, it was hard to rate this film as there is no real plot and its just a snapshot of where these variety shows were like in the 1920s and 1930s. Some acts were entertaining, while others have aged horribly.
My Score: 5/10