The Broadway Melody (1929)

The Broadway Melody was released in 1929, the year my grandmother was born, and became the Academy’s second ever Best Picture winner. What was truly remarkable about this particular film was it became the first motion picture with sound to win the award. Sadly, despite all the pomp and circumstance, The Broadway Melody is the lowest rated Best Picture on IMDB (so far). 

It is nice to know that I wasn’t the only one who was not overly impressed with the story or the characters. I knew we would be in trouble when one of the film’s main songs is called “The Broadway Melody.” You hear it within the first five minutes, and that was the first red flag. 

After that, the main characters are introduced, Harriet Mahoney (Bessie Love) and her sister Queenie Mahoney (Anita Page). Together these small-town girls hope to make it on big on Broadway. Their biggest problem will be each other since Harriet doesn’t have Queenie looks, and the pair share a love interest that will tear them apart. 

I often wonder why some films win awards while others don’t. The Broadway Melody gets the benefit of the doubt this time around because there weren’t a whole lot of film productions back in the day. I can see what the appeal of this story was. Two brilliant sisters shared a common dream and vow to let nothing stop them from achieving it, yet when push comes to shove, their unbreakable bond breaks, and their act crumbles. 

The plot’s main focus is that Harriet is engaged to Eddie Kearns (Charles King), who is actually in love with Queenie, which probably sparked interest among many in the audience. It is a story that has played out a thousand times since and is definitely one of the most used story angles to get people interested in a story. I didn’t fall for it here, which affected my overall feelings for the film. 

When I look back at The Broadway Melody, I will be happy I crossed it off the list and wouldn’t plan on watching it again. It is a classic film that isn’t easy to find online. If you have watched this film, I am curious to know if you feel the same or am I alone with my opinions. 3/10 


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