SHOWBOAT (1929)

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busby1959

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SHOWBOAT (1929)

PostWed Nov 08, 2017 11:44 am

To anyone's knowledge, has there ever been a release of this film (with the all important prologue, or what remains of it) on DVD? I could swear I've seen it on the gray market before, although I have no recollection of an official Universal release.
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Re: SHOWBOAT (1929)

PostWed Nov 08, 2017 5:16 pm

I don't think it's ever been officially released on DVD (and someone will correct me if I'm wrong). The '29 version was released on laser disc, which also included the '36 and '51 versions and the "Clouds Roll By" section. I think that TCM has aired the '29 version. If you see the '29 version offered in the gray market as a DVD it's probably sourced from the laser disc or the TCM airing. Only the audio for the '29 prologue was included in the laser disc, the picture material presumably lost.
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Harlett O'Dowd

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Re: SHOWBOAT (1929)

PostWed Nov 08, 2017 5:45 pm

ClayKing wrote:I don't think it's ever been officially released on DVD (and someone will correct me if I'm wrong). The '29 version was released on laser disc, which also included the '36 and '51 versions and the "Clouds Roll By" section. I think that TCM has aired the '29 version. If you see the '29 version offered in the gray market as a DVD it's probably sourced from the laser disc or the TCM airing. Only the audio for the '29 prologue was included in the laser disc, the picture material presumably lost.


Correct, TCM has run the '29 version a couple of times, but has not run what survives of the prologue in one "complete" package. (IIRC, a few years ago, they ran audio of Whiteman's orchestra playing "Why Do I Love You?" as filler/exit music.)

The Criterion laser set includes both ("C'mon Folks" and "Hey, Feller!") of Tess Gardella's numbers, sound and film. IIRC, the 3 1/2 film "Complete SHOW BOAT" laser set only includes one. (C'mon Folks"?)

The "Complete" set includes some audio, including that Whiteman selection. It also includes the complete audio of Morgan performing "Bill" - but no film. Both the A&E Biography on Ziegfeld and the PBS BROADWAY series (http://www.pbs.org/wnet/broadway) includes *some* Morgan footage married to sound, but not the whole song. I recall the cuts being a bit different in the two presentations.

The A&E biography also includes a clip (sound and film) of Jules Bledsoe singing "Ol' Man River."

My understanding is that only the very beginning of the "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" footage survives (Morgan entering the set, sitting on the kitchen table and getting out "Fish ..." - that footage is also shown on the A&E Ziegfeld biography. I believe the remainder of the sound survives.

How much additional audio and film survives, (Whiteman, Otis Harlan introducing the acts, Ziegfeld, etc.) - I don't know know. But like you, I would love to see all the surviving elements of the prologue reassembled and shown somewhere (festival, TCM)

Finally, (and Ron can may be able to verify) I believe the full audio to the second reel of dialogue from the narrative portion of the film has also been located but has not yet been included in any TCM airings or video transfers.
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Re: SHOWBOAT (1929)

PostWed Nov 08, 2017 7:27 pm

Harlett O'Dowd wrote:
ClayKing wrote:I don't think it's ever been officially released on DVD (and someone will correct me if I'm wrong). The '29 version was released on laser disc, which also included the '36 and '51 versions and the "Clouds Roll By" section. I think that TCM has aired the '29 version. If you see the '29 version offered in the gray market as a DVD it's probably sourced from the laser disc or the TCM airing. Only the audio for the '29 prologue was included in the laser disc, the picture material presumably lost.


Correct, TCM has run the '29 version a couple of times, but has not run what survives of the prologue in one "complete" package. (IIRC, a few years ago, they ran audio of Whiteman's orchestra playing "Why Do I Love You?" as filler/exit music.)

The Criterion laser set includes both ("C'mon Folks" and "Hey, Feller!") of Tess Gardella's numbers, sound and film. IIRC, the 3 1/2 film "Complete SHOW BOAT" laser set only includes one. (C'mon Folks"?)

The "Complete" set includes some audio, including that Whiteman selection. It also includes the complete audio of Morgan performing "Bill" - but no film. Both the A&E Biography on Ziegfeld and the PBS BROADWAY series (http://www.pbs.org/wnet/broadway) includes *some* Morgan footage married to sound, but not the whole song. I recall the cuts being a bit different in the two presentations.

The A&E biography also includes a clip (sound and film) of Jules Bledsoe singing "Ol' Man River."

My understanding is that only the very beginning of the "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" footage survives (Morgan entering the set, sitting on the kitchen table and getting out "Fish ..." - that footage is also shown on the A&E Ziegfeld biography. I believe the remainder of the sound survives.

How much additional audio and film survives, (Whiteman, Otis Harlan introducing the acts, Ziegfeld, etc.) - I don't know know. But like you, I would love to see all the surviving elements of the prologue reassembled and shown somewhere (festival, TCM)

Finally, (and Ron can may be able to verify) I believe the full audio to the second reel of dialogue from the narrative portion of the film has also been located but has not yet been included in any TCM airings or video transfers.


The TCM airing I've seen had subtitles for the missing dialogue sequence.

When Warner Archive released the 1936 version, I remember them saying they still hoped to do a boxed set of all three at some point, but that the 1951 version was the sticking point for some reason.
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Re: SHOWBOAT (1929)

PostWed Nov 08, 2017 9:22 pm

Harlett O'Dowd wrote:
ClayKing wrote:I don't think it's ever been officially released on DVD (and someone will correct me if I'm wrong). The '29 version was released on laser disc, which also included the '36 and '51 versions and the "Clouds Roll By" section. I think that TCM has aired the '29 version. If you see the '29 version offered in the gray market as a DVD it's probably sourced from the laser disc or the TCM airing. Only the audio for the '29 prologue was included in the laser disc, the picture material presumably lost.


Correct, TCM has run the '29 version a couple of times, but has not run what survives of the prologue in one "complete" package. (IIRC, a few years ago, they ran audio of Whiteman's orchestra playing "Why Do I Love You?" as filler/exit music.)

The Criterion laser set includes both ("C'mon Folks" and "Hey, Feller!") of Tess Gardella's numbers, sound and film. IIRC, the 3 1/2 film "Complete SHOW BOAT" laser set only includes one. (C'mon Folks"?)

The "Complete" set includes some audio, including that Whiteman selection. It also includes the complete audio of Morgan performing "Bill" - but no film. Both the A&E Biography on Ziegfeld and the PBS BROADWAY series (http://www.pbs.org/wnet/broadway) includes *some* Morgan footage married to sound, but not the whole song. I recall the cuts being a bit different in the two presentations.

The A&E biography also includes a clip (sound and film) of Jules Bledsoe singing "Ol' Man River."

My understanding is that only the very beginning of the "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" footage survives (Morgan entering the set, sitting on the kitchen table and getting out "Fish ..." - that footage is also shown on the A&E Ziegfeld biography. I believe the remainder of the sound survives.

How much additional audio and film survives, (Whiteman, Otis Harlan introducing the acts, Ziegfeld, etc.) - I don't know know. But like you, I would love to see all the surviving elements of the prologue reassembled and shown somewhere (festival, TCM)

Finally, (and Ron can may be able to verify) I believe the full audio to the second reel of dialogue from the narrative portion of the film has also been located but has not yet been included in any TCM airings or video transfers.


Interesting. I know I've seen the Helen Morgan footage - or at least a portion of it - in a documentary. Perhaps it was in the A&E bio...can't remember precisely. I'd be delighted to see and hear any picture and sound elements that are still extant. I have seen the film on TCM, albeit a long time ago, but I don't believe anything at all from the prologue was shown.
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Re: SHOWBOAT (1929)

PostThu Nov 09, 2017 7:09 am

Regarding the SHOW BOAT 1929 soundtrack, about a dozen years ago I acquired the Vitaphone disk for reels 9 and 11, which were previously missing. I recall that one side had dialog and singing (dubbed) of Laura LaPlante singing "Old Man River". Am not aware of which reels has sound and which may still be missing. Perhaps someone more familiar with this film knows.

Also, in a 2009 post on this version of SHOW BOAT, I mentioned I had gotten about 80 soundtrack disks from Australia, and the batch included disks for about 15 1929-30 Columbia Victor Gem one reel shorts. Several of these have been restored by Library of Congress including one with SHOW BOAT cast member Jules Bledsoe. It's title is OLD MAN TROUBLE and was shot at Victor's short lived Camden talkie studio in a church they owned.
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Re: SHOWBOAT (1929)

PostThu Nov 09, 2017 8:52 am

vitaphone wrote:Regarding the SHOW BOAT 1929 soundtrack, about a dozen years ago I acquired the Vitaphone disk for reels 9 and 11, which were previously missing. I recall that one side had dialog and singing (dubbed) of Laura LaPlante singing "Old Man River". Am not aware of which reels has sound and which may still be missing. Perhaps someone more familiar with this film knows.


IIRC, there were three or four talkie sequences, one, about 30-40 minutes into the film (maybe reel 4) where Magnolia and Ravenal elope. This survives intact in the version that was issued on laser.

The second (reel 9?) is the argument between Ravenal and Magnolia which leads to their separation. In it, he immitates/mocks Parthy (Emily Fitzroy.) Some, but I don't believe ALL of the sound survives in the 1990s release.

LaPlante singing was NOT synced up for the 1990s video release. I suspect the "Ol' Man River" sequence is Maggie's audition. I recall a sound-missing sequence later in the film when Magnolia, late in her career, sings "Can't help Lovin' Dat Man." Even someone with limited lip-reading skills can sing along at home. Might you have stumbled upon that as well?


vitaphone wrote:Also, in a 2009 post on this version of SHOW BOAT, I mentioned I had gotten about 80 soundtrack disks from Australia, and the batch included disks for about 15 1929-30 Columbia Victor Gem one reel shorts. Several of these have been restored by Library of Congress including one with SHOW BOAT cast member Jules Bledsoe. It's title is OLD MAN TROUBLE and was shot at Victor's short lived Camden talkie studio in a church they owned.


I went to school in Camden, and would love to know what/where the church was. This is news to me!

What else was shot in Camden? Does sound AND film survive for any of these shorts?
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Harold Aherne

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Re: SHOWBOAT (1929)

PostThu Nov 09, 2017 9:15 am

In February 1918, Victor purchased the former Trinity Baptist Church at 114 North 5th St. It was used for recording until 1935 and for other purposes until the company sold it in 1947. See:
http://www.vjm.biz/new_page_25.htm

Also:
http://www.stokowski.org/Camden%20Church%20Studio%20Recording%20Location.htm

-HA
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Re: SHOWBOAT (1929)

PostThu Nov 09, 2017 11:06 am

In response to Harlett's inquiry on what else was shot at the Victor Talking Machine Company's 1929-30 talkie studios in their church, it was exclusively used to film one reel shorts that were released through Columbia Pictures. They were called Columbia Victor Gems. None were very elaborate, being straight head-on shots of performers, with a second camera to get another angle. They were released in both disk and optical versions. About 16 were made. Stars included Jimmie Rogers in "The Singing Brakeman", Georgie Price in "Station B.U.N.K", pianist Leon Navarra, two by Jules Bledsoe, Nan Blakstone, Fay Marbe, Henry Bergman and others.

The LoC synched my disks up to their mute 35mm. However, a unique problem became evident. On some, Victor apparently shot the shorts twice. Identical content but for several my disks were not the same "take" so the synch varied slightly. For Fay Marbe, her performance was so consistent that my disk for one take almost perfectly matches the film portion from the other take. But Nan Blakstone, who was a wild performer later known for her "party" records, varied a lot so while you can still enjoy the short, it often does not match picture and sound..
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Re: SHOWBOAT (1929)

PostThu Nov 09, 2017 4:39 pm

if anyone wants to watch the 1929 version, please visit my FB group, Silent Films Today.

Bob
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Re: SHOWBOAT (1929)

PostFri Nov 10, 2017 12:24 pm

It's an odd film -

- but an interesting one! (And Joseph Schildkraut is a great Ravenal.)

-Craig
(Onetime "Steve Baker," etc.)
Last edited by wich2 on Sat Nov 11, 2017 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: SHOWBOAT (1929)

PostFri Nov 10, 2017 4:42 pm

wich2 wrote:It's an odd film -

- but an interesting one! (And Joseph Schildkraut is a great Revenal.)

-Craig
(Onetime "Steve Baker," etc.)


The opening sequence of the boat landing is a great piece of work
Eric Stott
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Re: SHOWBOAT (1929)

PostFri Nov 10, 2017 5:02 pm

wich2 wrote:It's an odd film -

- but an interesting one! (And Joseph Schildkraut is a great Revenal.)

-Craig
(Onetime "Steve Baker," etc.)


I agree - with both observations.
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Re: SHOWBOAT (1929)

PostSun Nov 12, 2017 3:29 am

I can't think of anything stopping a planned(?) box set for an anniversary of the original Broadway stage presentation. I have the laserdisc box. The one situation was that MGM had given the nitrate negatives of the 1951 version to GEH and the later vault fire there destroyed many of these films including the first reel of the 1951 version and although most of the films is from the nitrates, according to the laserdisc booklet, the first reel was included from an acetate dub from the lost Reel 1. Not sure now because one wonders what happened to the Technicolor separation material, or was that lost in the c1967 MGM vault fire?
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Re: SHOWBOAT (1929)

PostSun Nov 12, 2017 9:14 am

Moviepas, I think that GEH fire occurred in 1977 where a lot of MGM material was lost. As I recall from news reports at the time, the films were stored in wooden sheds, not temperature controlled vaults. There was quite a scandal and resulted in James Card "retiring" as a consequence.
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Re: SHOWBOAT (1929)

PostSun Nov 19, 2017 9:15 am

RE: SHOW BOAT(1936);

Does anyone know why this title was not restored by Universal for their 100th Anniversary ?

The Warner Archive DVD is nice but it could have made for an impressive Blu ray.
" You can't take life too seriously...you'll never get out of it alive."


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vitaphone

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Re: SHOWBOAT (1929)

PostSun Nov 19, 2017 9:41 am

For my friends on Nitrateville, here are transfers of some of the Jimmy Valentine disks from my collection:

The 1928 Nat Shilkret Victor dance 78 of the tune:

https://soundcloud.com/vitaphone/01-jimmy-valentine

My Reel 9 Vitaphone disk:

https://soundcloud.com/vitaphone/06-ali ... ine-reel-9

My Reel 6 Vitaphone disk:

https://soundcloud.com/vitaphone/03-ali ... ine-reel-6

My Reel 7 Vitaphone disk:

https://soundcloud.com/vitaphone/04-ali ... ine-reel-7
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Richard P. May

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Re: SHOWBOAT (1929)

PostSun Nov 19, 2017 11:15 am

All versions of SHOW BOAT have been owned by (1) MGM (2) Turner (3) Warner Bros. for many years. Any preservation/restoration would be done by WB, not Universal.
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Re: SHOWBOAT (1929)

PostWed Nov 22, 2017 12:40 am

Moviepas, I think that GEH fire occurred in 1977. Yes, the MGM Culver City fire was 1967 and some re now saying 1965. I was not there. I think I visited the offices there in early 1972 and met a couple of the guy's who has worked behind the scenes, so to speak, who worked from the early 1920s and were brought to the studio to have lunch with me that day. GEH was certainly later. I had an idea that Card left under a cloud and silents were his bag and a relationship with Louise Brooks who settled there in her last days. When I read his book, I contacted him via GEH but I got a reply that they had never heard of him!!!! Hmmm. By a coincidence, in early 1971 I was working at Decca Records's local wholesale distribution factory in Southwark/London near the bridge that the terrorists ran amok with a van several months ago. I called up the directors/producers group looking for a contact to Sir Michael Balcon who ran Ealing films until he closed it and sold his negatives to EMI Films. The young guy who answered said he had never heard of him!!!! I found some phone books and located Sir Michael living in retirement outside London and we had a long talk on the phone from my office desk. He died in 1977 at 81.

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