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SHOW BOAT (1929)

Posted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 2:07 pm
by drednm
OK so why at the end of this Universal film (the TCM restoration) does the THE END have an MGM logo under it?

Re: SHOW BOAT (1929)

Posted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 7:53 pm
by silentmovies742
You made it to the end??

Re: SHOW BOAT (1929)

Posted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 8:06 pm
by drednm
silentmovies742 wrote:You made it to the end??
LOL!

I actually thought it was quite good ... as long as you don't expect the musical (or its storyline). Laura La Plante was solid and actually got to speak a little. Alma Rubens in the reduced role of Julie. Emily Fitzroy stole every scene she was in. Joseph Schildkraut was an odd choice but he was hired before they added to the talking sequences. I always thought he was hammy.

Re: SHOW BOAT (1929)

Posted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:01 pm
by wich2
True, it's not a bad film - if you expect the book more than the play.

-Craig
(Onetime "Steve Baker")

Re: SHOW BOAT (1929)

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 4:05 am
by moviepas
Shouldn't really be there but.. MGM got this version and the 1936 when they were preparing the 1951 color version. Years since George Feltenstein promised a special Blu Ray box with all three nd extras to celebrate an anniversary of the original stage show. MGM laserdisc did have box set with all three plus a 20mins Showboat sequence from Till The Clouds Roll By. I still have that set which also had an audio track of outtake songs, auditions etc.

The 1929 version had a lot of blank audio sections due to missing discs but some more have, apparently, been found but I don't think all have been found yet. Much of the music is not the Kern score from the stage show. Paul Robeson was not in the original stage show but rather was the star in the British stage version and then the US 1936 film.Robeson's original Ol' Man River disc was recorded in London. Elisabeth Welch(US negress) sing I Still Suits Me with him on the reverse of that 78rpm disc, one of my favorite recordings. An Emily Fitzroy toured Australia in a show or shows around 100 years go but I have not been able to find out if they were one and the same.

Interesting color snaps for Showboat:

https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=lo ... &FORM=IGRE" target="_blank

Re: SHOW BOAT (1929)

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 4:27 am
by earlytalkiebuffRob
drednm wrote:
silentmovies742 wrote:You made it to the end??
LOL!

I actually thought it was quite good ... as long as you don't expect the musical (or its storyline). Laura La Plante was solid and actually got to speak a little. Alma Rubens in the reduced role of Julie. Emily Fitzroy stole every scene she was in. Joseph Schildkraut was an odd choice but he was hired before they added to the talking sequences. I always thought he was hammy.
I certainly thought it much better than its reputation would have one believe. The only rough section was that where the film was totally mute, and to my mind should have had some added music from the original score to help it through that patch.

Re: SHOW BOAT (1929)

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 4:49 am
by drednm
The Ferber novel is much darker than the musical, which has caused the PC police a lot of sleepless nights over the decades. I saw a touring production in Denver (Cloris Leachman as Parthy). Miscegenation aside, it's one of the great musicals.

The 1929 version uses only a few of the show's songs for background music. Talking sequence at 34 minute mark lasts about a reel. Schildrkraut gets most of the dialog but La Planta, Fitzroy and Otis Harlan (Andy) speak as well as the villain in the play. Second talking sequence at 74 minutes but only lasts a few minutes. The rest of the reel has subtitles in place of the dialog. This is followed by a mute reel with intertitles.

This TCM restoration uses several prints as sources but it's very well done, considering the film the "lost" for decades.

As I understand it, Universal's Movitone sound process was sound-on-film, so there were no disks (as with Vitaphone). But that doesn't explain the mute reel. In the film, La Plante (dubbed) sings "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man," "Old Man River,' and ""I Got Shoes." Stepin Fetchit (dubbed) sings "Lonesome Road." Most of the background music on the soundtrack is not from the show.

Re: SHOW BOAT (1929)

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:00 am
by vitaphone
Just to clarify a few points made above.

George Feltenstein never "promised" a SHOWBOAT set. Like many other projects, this was considered and then some folks interpreted it into being a firm plan. It never was. Perhaps one day.

Like most 1929-31 studio features, SHOWBOAT ('29) indeed had Vitaphone disks as well as a Movietone track. The disks were dubbed from the optical. The surviving print has been missing some sound for awhile, but about 10 years ago I acquired disks for reels 9 and 11 which were previously missing. Not sure what else is still missing sound wise.

Re: SHOW BOAT (1929)

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:16 am
by drednm
vitaphone wrote:Just to clarify a few points made above.

George Feltenstein never "promised" a SHOWBOAT set. Like many other projects, this was considered and then some folks interpreted it into being a firm plan. It never was. Perhaps one day.

Like most 1929-31 studio features, SHOWBOAT ('29) indeed had Vitaphone disks as well as a Movietone track. The disks were dubbed from the optical. The surviving print has been missing some sound for awhile, but about 10 years ago I acquired disks for reels 9 and 11 which were previously missing. Not sure what else is still missing sound wise.
Thanks for the clarification. The TCM restoration I watched is probably well over 10 years old....

Re: SHOW BOAT (1929)

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:41 am
by silentmovies742
No, it's not really that bad, but it seems very long, I think, despite being just under two hours.

The story of the Showboat musical seems to be very sad. The show was cut to pieces over the years, and the narrative watered down as language was changed, with those changing the language completely unaware that the offending words were there for a purpose. Then the show was restored in the 1980s with the missing material reinstated, and it was masterful once again. And now it appears that current versions on stage have gone back to cutting great chunks out of it so "it is faster paced for a modern audience." Our cinema broadcast the San Francisco opera company production last year, and it was just appalling - not only because this doesn't need, and shouldn't have, opera voices, but also because the thing was bowdlerised.

As for the planned 3 film set, I remember reading that it is the restoration of the 1951 film version that is problematic for some reason

Re: SHOW BOAT (1929)

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:35 pm
by earlytalkiebuffRob
drednm wrote:The Ferber novel is much darker than the musical, which has caused the PC police a lot of sleepless nights over the decades. I saw a touring production in Denver (Cloris Leachman as Parthy). Miscegenation aside, it's one of the great musicals.

The 1929 version uses only a few of the show's songs for background music. Talking sequence at 34 minute mark lasts about a reel. Schildrkraut gets most of the dialog but La Planta, Fitzroy and Otis Harlan (Andy) speak as well as the villain in the play. Second talking sequence at 74 minutes but only lasts a few minutes. The rest of the reel has subtitles in place of the dialog. This is followed by a mute reel with intertitles.

This TCM restoration uses several prints as sources but it's very well done, considering the film the "lost" for decades.

As I understand it, Universal's Movitone sound process was sound-on-film, so there were no disks (as with Vitaphone). But that doesn't explain the mute reel. In the film, La Plante (dubbed) sings "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man," "Old Man River,' and ""I Got Shoes." Stepin Fetchit (dubbed) sings "Lonesome Road." Most of the background music on the soundtrack is not from the show.
Could it have been possible that some cinemas not equipped for sound would have shown a completely silent version with piano / orchestra accompaniment? I think there were two different uploads of the 1929 SHOW BOAT on YT last year, one with less sound or perhaps no sound. I recall Donald Binks reviewing the sound version on August 13 last year, and there may well have been other reviews of both uploads.

Re: SHOW BOAT (1929)

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:50 pm
by drednm
earlytalkiebuffRob wrote:
drednm wrote:The Ferber novel is much darker than the musical, which has caused the PC police a lot of sleepless nights over the decades. I saw a touring production in Denver (Cloris Leachman as Parthy). Miscegenation aside, it's one of the great musicals.

The 1929 version uses only a few of the show's songs for background music. Talking sequence at 34 minute mark lasts about a reel. Schildrkraut gets most of the dialog but La Planta, Fitzroy and Otis Harlan (Andy) speak as well as the villain in the play. Second talking sequence at 74 minutes but only lasts a few minutes. The rest of the reel has subtitles in place of the dialog. This is followed by a mute reel with intertitles.

This TCM restoration uses several prints as sources but it's very well done, considering the film the "lost" for decades.

As I understand it, Universal's Movitone sound process was sound-on-film, so there were no disks (as with Vitaphone). But that doesn't explain the mute reel. In the film, La Plante (dubbed) sings "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man," "Old Man River,' and ""I Got Shoes." Stepin Fetchit (dubbed) sings "Lonesome Road." Most of the background music on the soundtrack is not from the show.
Could it have been possible that some cinemas not equipped for sound would have shown a completely silent version with piano / orchestra accompaniment? I think there were two different uploads of the 1929 SHOW BOAT on YT last year, one with less sound or perhaps no sound. I recall Donald Binks reviewing the sound version on August 13 last year, and there may well have been other reviews of both uploads.
The silent version released in 1929 was quite a bit shorter than the goat-glad version, missing several of the musical numbers tacked on for the talkie craze. The silent version, apparently, survives.

For those familiar with the 1936 and/or 1954 versions of the story, the 1929 version certainly has a few surprises. Even though I'd seen the 1929 version before, I was really surprised at the role Julie (Alma Rubens) plays.

Laura La Plante willingly took banjo lessons but was pissed to learn her singing voice would be dubbed. Probably the beginning of the end of her long association with Universal. They also pretty much sideline her in King of Jazz.

Re: SHOW BOAT (1929)

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 7:21 pm
by bobfells
The Internet Archive has the Vitaphone discs for reels 1 through 8, and for what is called the "final reel" identified as reel 13.

Re: SHOW BOAT (1929)

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 7:54 pm
by radiotelefonia
The reason of the MGM in the end is because there was a silent version that also carried their logo at the beginning. This version aired on television in Spain and it used to be available for free online until Warners have it take it down. It is a matter of waiting until this film falls into the public domain.

Re: SHOW BOAT (1929)

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 8:05 pm
by drednm
radiotelefonia wrote:The reason of the MGM in the end is because there was a silent version that also carried their logo at the beginning. This version aired on television in Spain and it used to be available for free online until Warners have it take it down. It is a matter of waiting until this film falls into the public domain.
MGM bought the rights for it's 1954 musical version but that doesn't explain why the preceding versions made at Universal would bear the MGM logo. Even if MGM was somehow involved in the TCM restoration/reconstruction their logo would have been misplaced in the final frames of the Universal film itself.

Re: SHOW BOAT (1929)

Posted: Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:40 am
by Richard P. May
MGM seems to not have had any hesitancy to put their Lion on original versions of pictures which they acquired for remake.
As to the 1929 version, while at Turner (pre-WB) we did as much restoration as was possible with elements available at the time. The Library of Congress supplied copies of those reels where they had discs, but that left some of the dialog reels without sound. Our sound editor, the late Scott Perry, took music from the existing reels and dubbed it to replace the totally silent sections. The subtitles to clarify dialog sequences were done at that time.

Re: SHOW BOAT (1929)

Posted: Mon Apr 16, 2018 4:57 pm
by radiotelefonia
drednm wrote:
radiotelefonia wrote:The reason of the MGM in the end is because there was a silent version that also carried their logo at the beginning. This version aired on television in Spain and it used to be available for free online until Warners have it take it down. It is a matter of waiting until this film falls into the public domain.
MGM bought the rights for it's 1954 musical version but that doesn't explain why the preceding versions made at Universal would bear the MGM logo. Even if MGM was somehow involved in the TCM restoration/reconstruction their logo would have been misplaced in the final frames of the Universal film itself.
The version I described was prepared by MGM, not Universal.

Re: SHOW BOAT (1929)

Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:08 pm
by Connoisseur
The video tape of the 36 version also came with MGM's logo..

Re: SHOW BOAT (1929)

Posted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 9:05 pm
by TerryC
TCM has proadcast the 1936 version with a secondary audio track which had a commentary track, not included on the Warner Archive. version for some reason.