The Broadway Melody

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The Broadway Melody (also known as The Broadway Melody of 1929 [1]) is a 1929 American musical film and the first sound film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture. It was one of the first musicals to feature a Technicolor sequence, which sparked the trend of color being used in a flurry of musicals that would hit the screens in 1929-1930. Today the Technicolor sequence is presumed lost and only a black and white copy survives in the complete film. The film was the first musical released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and was Hollywood's first all-talking musical.

The film was written by Norman Houston and James Gleason from a story by Edmund Goulding, and directed by Harry Beaumont. Original music was written by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown, including the popular hit "You Were Meant For Me". The George M. Cohan classic "Give My Regards To Broadway" was also given its talkie debut in the film. Bessie Love was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance.



The plot involves the romances of musical comedy stars, set against the backstage hubbub of a Broadway revue. Anita Page and Bessie Love play a vaudeville sister act who have come to New York for their big break on Broadway. Charles King plays the song-and-dance man whose affection for one sister (Harriet alias Hank) is supplanted by his growing love for the younger, more beautiful sister (Queenie). Queenie tries to protect her sister and derail the love triangle by dating a wealthy but unscrupulous "stage door Johnny."


A silent version was also released, for there were still many motion picture theaters without sound equipment at the time. The film featured a musical sequence for "The Wedding of the Painted Doll" that was presented in early two-color Technicolor (red and green). Color would quickly come to be associated with the musical genre, and numerous features were released in 1929 and 1930 that either featured color sequences or were filmed entirely in color, movies like On With the Show (1929), Gold Diggers of Broadway (1929), Sally (1929), The Life of the Party (1930), and others.

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