Best Music Movies of 1928
Mickey Mouse, piloting a steamboat, delights his passenger, Minnie, by making musical instruments out of the menagerie on deck.
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.
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....
The Beau Brummels
Vaudeville team Shaw & Lee sing songs and tell jokes in hilarious deadpan.
Cut Yourself a Piece of Cake
Val and Ernie Stanton make up the comedy group for this Vitaphone short that was obviously capturing their vaudeville act.
A Breath of Broadway
Jack Waldron performs his stand-up vaudeville act.
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.
A Cycle of Songs
A cycle of songs performed by the singer Florence Brady.
The Band Beautiful
The Ingenues perform "Tiger Rag," "Changes," "Mighty Lak' a Rose," "Keep Sweeping the Cobwebs Off the Moon," and "Shaking the Blues Away."
The Jazzmania Quintette
A musical short featuring George Stoll, Edythe Flynn and The Hot Four.
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, an industrious girl who supports her brother and sister by working in a theatrical costume house, falls in love with Joe Halsey, 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. Fannie auditions for Landau, 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.
Earl Burtnett and His Biltmore Hotel Orchestra (IV)
This short was the fourth of four that Earl Burtnett would make at Vitaphone in 1928. As with the previous ones, this here features three songs by Burtnett and his ten-man orchestra.
When East Meets West
Comic cowboy piano player Ray Mayer and blonde singer Edith Evans perform "Henry's Made a Lady out of Lizzie," "It All Belongs to Me," "Sleep, Little One, Sleep" and "Side by Side."
Stories in Song
Veteran Broadway performer Adele Rowland sings four songs in this Vitaphone short.
The Ham What Am
In this Vitaphone short, Jay C. Flippen performs "Keep Sweeping the Cobwebs Off the Moon" and "Magnolia," as well as a vaudeville comedy routine.
Earl Burtnett and His Biltmore Hotel Orchestra (I)
Vitaphone must have really enjoyed Earl Burtnett because they made four shorts together in 1928 and this here was the first. Burtnett introduces the musical numbers as well as the musician doing the tune and for the most part I thought this was fairly entertaining. "Miss Annabelle Lee" was the final number and probably the highlight of everything but the other numbers are well worth listening to.
Dick Rich and His Synco-Symphonists
Dick Rich and His Synco-Symphonists play "Chlo-e (Song of the Swamp)", "Lovely Little Silhouette" and "St. Louis Blues".
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.
The Morrissey & Miller Night Club Revue
Will Morrissey and Midgie Miller get top-billing here but we also have Sammy Cantor, Charlotte DeLovelace, Harry Downing and Vina and Arthur on the bill. This here is pretty much a condensed version of what one would see at the Morrissey and Miller club.
Songs and Impressions
The team of Marlow and Jordan are the talents here as they run through three songs as well as the impressions, which I'm sure you gathered from the title. The Stephen Foster tune "Old Folks at Home" is given a new spin here as it's done by an impression of a 3-year-old, which is somewhat strange to say the least.
This three-person act has Jerry Williams doing the piano work while Dora Maughan and Walter Fehl do the "singing." What we basically have is the two doing a comedy act where the dialogue is sung instead of just spoken in a normal way.
A Colorful Sermon
The film consists of Bert Swor in black-face pretending to be a black preacher.
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.