Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Lullaby Of Old Broadway

Here's another mind-numbing Busby Berkeley masterpiece, more reminiscent of Fritz Lang and G.W. Pabst netherworlds than the jaunty world of musicals. Berkeley's magnum opus, The Lullaby Of Broadway, requires two YouTube segments and starts with the longest transition from long shot to close-up in the history of movies.

The striking lead vocalist is Wini Shaw. She's in several mid-1930's Warners musicals, the 1934 Technicolor comedy short, What, No Men! - and later turns up in Soundies.

I'm dumbfounded by the sheer filmmaking brilliance of it all.


anewman102 said...

It's incredible, especially the point where the crowd rushes wini and Dick and apparently crushes Wini to death like something out of Nathaniel Hawthorne.

They certainly knew how to make pictures in those days.

How many months do you think it took to film this thing?

paul etcheverry said...

Some of the audacious filmmmaking techniques in this segment would not be seen again until the first Orson Welles pictures.

I shudder to think how long it took BB to plan and film this featurette-within-a-feature. I'll bet someone has written a book on Busby that answers your question.