HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Cicada
Sun Shines Bright, The
Last Thing Mary Saw, The
Comets
Herself
Mon Oncle d'Amerique
Wild Strawberries
Runner, The
Don't Look Up
Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Eternals
Forever Purge, The
Memoria
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Legend of La Llorona, The
Japon
Glasshouse
Perdita Durango
Commando, The
Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
Boiling Point
Malignant
Deadly Games
Ailey
Voyeurs, The
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes
In the Earth
Hiroshima Mon Amour
Hotel Poseidon
Zola
No Time to Die
Klaus
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Candyman
Power of the Dog, The
StageFright
Voyage of Time: An IMAX Documentary
Suicide Squad, The
One Night in Miami...
Old
   
 
Newest Articles
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
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
   
 
  Applause Go Into Your Dance
Year: 1929
Director: Rouben Mamoulian
Stars: Helen Morgan, Joan Peers, Fuller Mellish Jr, Jack Cameron, Henry Wadsworth, Roy Hargrave, Dorothy Cumming
Genre: Musical, DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: What a night for burlesque dancer Kitty Darling (Helen Morgan), as while she enjoys a level of popularity amongst audiences for her bright singing and dancing, she is crying on the inside. Also on the inside is her jailbird husband, and as she leaves the stage feeling unwell she receives a telegram saying that he has been denied his appeal and his stay on Death Row will soon be over - because he is going to be executed. The shock of this is enough to put the pregnant Kitty into labour, and soon after her only child is born, who she names April. But will the child follow in her mother's footsteps?

When Rouben Mamoulian was invited to direct a film about the vaudeville scene, he initially wished to turn it down because of the sleazy reputation such entertainment had. He was persuaded to attend one of the theatres providing such distractions, and did he change his mind? Well, no, he didn't, he was sickened by what he saw but it did convince him to make Applause, which is not a celebration of the roar of the greasepaint and the smell of the crowd, but a damning indictment of the hell that the performers go though simply to provide a show for punters who couldn't care less about them.

With that in mind, there is a strong streak of bitterness running through the film as the script, based on Beth Brown's bestselling novel, puts its characters through humiliation upon indignity, which somewhat hypocritically is presented for our entertainment. Would it have killed them to give us a better musical number? For as well as being a mother and daughter tearjerker this is one of the first backstage musicals, a form that was at its most successful in the thirties, although you can tell Mamoulian hates it from the start when we see a chorus line of overweight, unglamorous and uncoordinated dancers going through their routines.

So if the hoofing and trilling isn't up to much, what can we watch Applause for? If early technical innovations are your bag, then this delivers the goods, as Mamoulian keeps his camera moving in an attempt to disguise a plot that even back then was pretty old hat: tracking shots, shots from above, location filming, it's all here. Among that location shooting is some priceless footage of the actors in New York, whether walking over the Brooklyn Bridge or surveying the panorama of the city from its tallest building, all fascinating stuff from yesteryear.

Alas, what is not so fascinating is that storyline the movie is saddled with, with offputting histrionics about April being packed off to convent school as a kid, learing a life of piety, then being forced to go onto the stage when Kitty's unscrupulous lover Hitch (Fuller Mellish Jr) demands that she stop being given the fees. Now Hitch, knowing that Kitty's days on the stage are numbered because she's not getting any younger, wants to keep his income by making April take her place, both romantically and financially. Can poor April overcome these odds? Well, sort of, but not without a terrible act of self-sacrifice on the part of Kitty. It's all laid on pretty thick, making Applause more interesting from a historical point of view, but Mamoulian was on his way, even if now-forgotten jazz singer Morgan's fate would be as sad as her character's.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 4133 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
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
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: