Best Music Movies of 1928
Mickey Mouse, piloting a steamboat, delights his passenger, Minnie, by making musical instruments out of the menagerie on deck.
The Singing Fool
After years of hopeful struggle, Al Stone (Jolson) is on his way. "I'm Sittin' on Top of the World", he sings to an appreciative speakeasy crowd. But, as Al discovers, getting there is one thing. Staying there is another. Singing waiter Stone gets his huge break on a magical night when his song wows a big-time producer and a gold-digging showgirl he fancies. Broadway success and marriage follow, but sure enough, hard times are on the way. Al's fickle wife abandons him, taking the beloved son he calls Sonny Boy with her. Heartbroken, Al becomes a devastated loner until friends from the speakeasy that launched his career rescue him from a life on the streets. Soon, Al is back in lights. But another crisis awaits: Sonny Boy is in the hospital and dying....
An odd and tightly directed tale of a singer/dancer at the Moulin Rouge, who meets her daughter's fiance, only to have him fall obsessively in love with her and she with him. Alienation, betrayal and near tragedy result.
Hot Water and Vegetabuel
British music hall star Leslie Sarony sings "When You're Up to Your Neck in Hot Water (Think of the Kettle and Sing)" in a short film produced in the DeForest Phonofilm sound-on-film process.
Gus Arnheim and His Cocoanut Grove Orchestra
"Gus Arnhein and His Coconut Grove Orchestra" is an agreeable short--and one of the earlier Vitaphone released. While the band is just about totally forgotten today, they had a nice sound and are a nice representative of the era. And, like most Vitaphone films of the day, the camera is mostly stationary and there are no fancy effects--just a straight recording of the act--which included several nice songs.
Fannie Brand (Fanny Brice), an industrious girl who supports her brother and sister by working in a theatrical costume house, falls in love with Joe Halsey (Guinn "Big Boy" Williams), a young fellow who earns a precarious living demonstrating an elastic exerciser in a drugstore window. Fannie and Joe set a date to be married, but the wedding is called off when Fannie finds Joe making love to her unprincipled sister, Edna (Edna Murphy). Fannie auditions for Landau (Andrés De Segurola), a theatrical producer, and goes on the Broadway stage. Fannie is a great success, and she and Joe soon find their way back into each other's arms.
The Spirit of 1918
In this early demonstration of the Vitaphone sound system, conductor Herman S. Heller conducts the Vitaphone Symphony Orchestra in the title work. It is basically a medley of patriotic songs from World War I.
Harry Wayman and His 'Debutantes'
The 'Debutantes' are an all female orchestra led and directed by Harry Wayman doing some musical and dancing routines, Harrry accompanies with the violin.
Eddie Kehoe is a young vaudeville hoofer who thinks his inability to hit the big time is the fault of stage managers, agents, musicians...everybody but himself. Eddie likes to tell others how good he is, but seldom shows them. Kitty Mayo, an old-time burlesque queen, who is with the McNary Vaudeville Company, advises Eddie to get himself a partner, as his solo abilities can only be stretched so far. He decides to follow her advice and, while in a theatrical supply shop, he sees Rita Carey rehearsing her dancing act that includes a trained duck. Eddie tells Rita he is a good friend of McNary's, and, with him as her partner, her future in show business will be secured. She agrees to join him and Eddie promptly names the act "Eddie Kehoe and Partner". Despite his conceit, Rita likes Eddie, as do others in the troupe, including Cleo a little gold-digger.