The Broadway Melody (1929) is the second Best Picture winner in Academy Award history and may be the oldest film I’m able to watch as tracking down Wings (1928) is proving to be a pretty serious problem. Anyway, I knew I was in for a really old film (as if the year 1929 wasn’t hint enough) when the black screen with the white text explaining where we were came onto the screen. I could have moved past the general oldness of the movie if it wasn’t boring as all get out but I fell asleep about half way through the film and it took me a few days to get the nerve back up to finish it. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not an old movie hater (my favorite actress Audrey Hepburn) but something about The Broadway Melody just did not stand the test of time.
As much as I disliked this film, I can’t deny that it must have set the tone for a few decades of filmmaking. The Broadway Melody is widely considered the first complete America musical. Musicals dominated the silver screen and the many musicals that will win the Best Picture in the years to come. The Broadway Melody is also the first “talkie” to win Best Picture.
A bit of trivia about the movie: Parts of it were filmed in Technicolor, but those parts were lost and only the black and white version is available today. Because there were many movie theatres without the ability to play sound, the movie was also released as a silent film.