I’ve decided to do a new feature on the blog where I review each of the Best Picture winners after I see them. Lauren has every Best Picture winner that’s available on DVD on her Netflix queue, and tonight we started with 1929.
Broadway Melody was the first musical film to ever win Best Picture, and second winner overall (no DVD available for 1928’s winner). After watching the movie, Lauren, Nick, and I all looked a bit puzzled and wondered, “if this was the best movie of the year, how bad was the worst?” It’s possible that in 1929, the stories didn’t always have to make 100% sense, but I would think they’d progress with some sort of momentum.
The moderately complicated plot centers around sisters named Hank and Queenie who move to New York to become singers. Hank is in love with a man named Eddie, but Eddie soon falls in love with Queenie. Queenie can’t bear the thought of crushing her sister by dating Eddie, so she goes out with a man named Jacque to keep Eddie away from her, and hopefully interest Eddie in Hank.
But the movie mostly (like 2/3 of the movie) centers around what a supposed jerk Jacque is, though there’s very little proof to back up this claim. It was kinda ridiculous. Eddie and Hank were so upset by Queenie dating Jacque, that Queenie wound up causing her sister a hell of a lot more pain than had she just admitted her love of Eddie right off the bat. I mean Hank was up crying night after night, unable to fathom why her sister would date such a jerk like Jacque.
And in the end, Queenie and Eddie still get married. My only emotion after the movie was feeling a little sorry for Hank, the definite loser of the whole story. For her there was no happy ending. Another highlight of the movie was Hank and Queenie’s uncle Jed who lived in New York. He talked throughout the whole movie with a very annoying stutter. I can’t figure out if it was supposed to be a funny little gimmick or if they just hired an actor who stuttered.
Okay, so it won Best Picture, it had to be a little decent, right? Well, not according to film historians, who said 1929 may have been the worst year ever for movies. As one man said, “The films nominated for this year’s awards were some of the weakest films in the history of American cinema, reflecting the chaos of the transition from silents to sound films.” Broadway Melody is said to have won largely due to its equally weak competition.
Yet, all that said, I still found it mildly amusing and charming, and at least the girls playing the roles of the sisters were good actresses who had very accomplished careers. In fact, the girl who played Queenie died just this September at the age of 98!
Score: 3/10 stars