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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Another From A Prehistoric Musical Past


Spring Is Here for 1930 Vitaphone Audiences

A Warners musical with a long beard that shows up in wee hours on TCM to fascinate those who'll forebear snail pace and locked-down cameras. I'll take these by boxload, thanks, and only wish WB could unearth more (and could cry over many that are lost). Spring Is Here is like plays of the day from which it was adapted, with isolated songs to still delight amidst farce grindingly dated --- but let it grind say mavens of such. The tunes do please; no wonder so many of 20's theatrical origin got parted from stage source to live on as popular standards. Well, they had to Spring up from somewhere. Two Grays are featured, Alexander and Lawrence, neither of whom I'm close-acquainted with, so obviously I've got further musical research to do (a best reading refresher being Richard Barrios' marvelous A Song In The Dark). Spring Is Here being an elopement story, there's balcony climbing and disapproving dad Ford Sterling, who gives clowning his Sennett all to make even unfunny lines seem so for muggery beyond calls of duty. The show was thankfully made in black-and-white, thus its survival, so many two-color Technicolor musicals having gone the furnace or powder route. Plenty of tunes to come away whistling, and the deed is done within a painless 69 minutes.

1 Comments:

Blogger John McElwee said...

Dan Mercer shares some observations about Bernice Claire, star of "Spring Is Here":


TCM recently showed "Kiss Me Again," another Warner Bros. musical with Bernice Claire. She was charming, quite pretty--rather like Nancy Carrol--and had a light, lovely soprano voice. It's difficult to imagine now why she didn't catch on, but there was a period during the early talkie era when musicals suddenly passed from favor, especially those like "Kiss Me Again" or this one, "Spring is Here," which were essentially filmed Broadway shows. It was only when Warner Bros. made "42nd Street," and took the camera back stage of such a show--or overhead--that the movies made musicals their own.

"Spring is Here" was her second film. "No, No Nanette" was her first and she made five altogether in 1930, a wearing pace for both her and, apparently, the audience.

7:24 AM  

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