Hollywood Revue of 1929, The: MGM’s Oscar-Nominated Musical Review

The Hollywood Revue of 1929 (aka The Hollywood Revue) was MGM’s second feature-length musical, and one of their earliest sound films.

Produced by Harry Rapf and Irving Thalberg and directed by Charles Reisner, it features nearly most of MGM’s stars in a revue that includes three segments in Technicolor.

With Conrad Nagel and Jack Benny as emcees, The Hollywood Revue of 1929 was a plotless parade of variety acts.

An “All-Star Musical Extravaganza,” the film includes performances by Joan Crawford singing and dancing, Gus Edwards, John Gilbert, Norma Shearer, Lionel Barrymore, Buster Keaton, Marie Dressler, Bessie Love, Marion Davies, Anita Page, and the comedy team of Karl Dane and George K. Arthur.

There’s a good comedy routine starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy as inept magicians.

The song “Singin’ in the Rain” is first sung by Cliff Edwards as “Ukulele Ike,'” and later performed by the entire cast.

The only major MGM stars missing from the revue are Greta Garbo, Ramon Novarro, and Lon Chaney

John Gilbert plays the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet with Norma Shearer, first straight, then as comedy

Made on a budget of less than $0.5 million, the musical was hugely successful at the box-office.

Cast:
Conrad Nagel
Jack Benny
Joan Crawford
Marion Davies
John Gilbert
Norma Shearer
Charles King
Bessie Love
Cliff Edwards
Anita Page
Marie Dressler
Polly Moran
William Haines
Buster Keaton
Stan Laurel
Oliver Hardy
George K. Arthur
Karl Dane
The Brox Sisters
Gwen Lee
Lionel Barrymore
Gus Edwards
Albertina Rasch Dancers

Credits:

Directed by Charles Reisner
Produced by Irving Thalberg and Harry Rapf
Written by Al Boasberg, Robert E. Hopkins, Joseph W. Farnham
Music by Gus Edwards, Arthur Freed, Nacio Herb Brown (“Singin’ in the Rain”)
Cinematography: John Arnold, Max Fabian, Irving G. Ries, John M. Nickolaus
Edited by William S. Gray, Cameron K. Wood
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date: June 20, 1929
Running time: 130 minutes (roadshow); 118 minutes