Newest Reviews
1 chance sur 2
Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo
Yin Yang Master, The
Hail, Mafia!
Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase
Strange House, The
Morfalous, Les
Everything Went Fine
Lux AEterna
Rum Runners
Fairy and the Devil, The
Mad God
Outside the Law
I Remember Mama
Superman Unbound
Lawrence of Belgravia
House Across the Lake, The
Wonder Park
Hornsby e Rodriguez
Operation Mincemeat
5 Kung Fu Daredevil Heroes
Peau Douce, La
Double Indemnity
Na Cha and the Seven Devils
Deep Murder
Superman vs. the Elite
Adam Project, The
Osamu Tezuka's Last Mystery of the 20th Century
Horse, La
Train Robbers, The
Let Sleeping Cops Lie
Funeral, The
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
  King of Jazz Happy Feet
Year: 1930
Director: John Murray Anderson
Stars: Paul Whiteman, John Boles, Bing Crosby, Harry Barris, Al Rinker, Charles Irwin, Al Norman, Marion Stattler, Don Rose, Walter Brennan, Slim Summerville, Laura La Plante, Glenn Tryon, Otis Harlan, William Kent, Frank Leslie, Jeanie Lang, Jack Fulton
Genre: Comedy, MusicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Mr Charles Irwin is delighted to introduce to you the scrapbook of the King of Jazz himself, Mr Paul Whiteman. But first, as we turn the pages we find the reason he got into the music by way of an animation that saw him venture to "Darkest Africa", where he was hunting big game. He attempted to shoot a lion, but the animal had other ideas and chased him across the plains, though there was a brighter side as the jazz he found there transformed his life. Now he can present his band, which he handily carries around in a travelling case - they hop out and the show can begin.

King of Jazz, eh? We'll be the judge of that! Although Whiteman - who was indeed a white man - cannot really lay claim to that title nowadays, and there are those who would query his use of the term at the time, he was a popular bandleader of his day, although this film intended to showcase him and his music wasn't much of a success on its release. If it is recalled today then that is because it featured none other than Bing Crosby in his film debut, here appearing with the Rhythm Boys.

You could say that as the screen musical had not been quite perfected in 1930, certainly not as far as the stage musical had, then performing the songs as a revue was the best method to go with, as happens here. Couple that with early Technicolor, which used red and blue, and this adds to the artificiality of the production. There is no story at all in this, merely a series of numbers broken up with some seriously dated sketches that couldn't have been especially hilarious at the time. That said, there is one good pre-Production Code joke involving pre-marital sex, but one laugh does not a knee-slapping gagfest make.

Better to concentrate on the tunes, which include some toe-tappers, and the dancing, which can be quite alarmingly energetic: see the "Ragamuffin Romeo" song, which has one woman flung about like a ragdoll. The film constitutes a neat amalgamation of the entertainment of the day, the kind of thing you would see if you went to a theatre to watch a show, although whether you would be lucky enough to hear Crosby (here impossibly fresh-faced) sing on your night out was a different matter, hence this production.

It's not all novelty acts as the centrepiece of the movie is a staging of George Gershwin's then-fairly new "Rhapsody in Blue" (though not with the man himself at the piano). Interestingly, like the Walter Lantz cartoon which opens the film, a link is made between the jazz music and Africa, as if the two were inseparable in the public's mind, so before the Rhapsody gets underway there's a couple of minutes of an all-in-black dancer, complete with huge headress, jumping around on a huge drum, pounding out "voodoo" rhythms as they're referred to. As for the Rhapsody itself, accompanying the classic strains there is a huge piano containing the band, and a chorus line marching about in time, which is more palatable for today's attitudes. If King of Jazz is a time capsule, it's a valuable one, an insight into the spectaculars of the era, where sound film was in its infancy.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 4667 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Enoch Sneed
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith


Last Updated: