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The Broadway Melody

From Academic Kids

The Broadway Melody is an early musical motion picture, released on 1 February, 1929. The film was released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and was the first musical motion picture released by the studio; over the next 30 years MGM would become the most popular producer of this genre of film entertainment.

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BroadwayMelodyAd.jpg
1929 magazine ad

The plot involves the romances of musical comedy stars. Anita Page and Bessie Love play sisters on Broadway both wooing the same man, played by Charles King. Love was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role. The film was written by Norman Houston and James Gleason from a story by Edmund Goulding and directed by Harry Beaumont. Original music for the film was written by Arthur Freed & Nacio Herb Brown. The George M. Cohan classic "Give My Regards To Broadway" was also given its talkie debut in the film.

A silent film version was also released, for there were still many motion picture theaters without sound equipment at the time. For showings in big-city theaters, some prints had sections in two-strip Technicolor.

The film was quite successful at the time, and is often considered the first complete example of the Hollywood musical. It was the top grossing picture of 1929, and won the Academy Award for Best Picture for that year.

The movie was so popular, that three more movies with similar titles, Broadway Melody of 1936, Broadway Melody of 1938 and Broadway Melody of 1940, were released by MGM. Although not sequels in the traditional sense, they all had the same basic premise of a group of people putting on a show. The original movie was also remade in 1940 as Two Girls on Broadway. Another Broadway Melody film was planned for 1942 (starring Gene Kelly and Eleanor Powell) but production was cancelled at the last minute.

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