King of Jazz (1930) DVD

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King of Jazz (1930)


 John Murray Anderson, Pál Fejös (uncredited)


 Harry Ruskin (comedy sketches)


 Paul Whiteman, John Boles, Laura La Plante
Intended as Universal Pictures' entry in the "all-star musical" cycle of the early talkie era,King of Jazz is certainly the most elaborate of the bunch, though far from the most successful financially. Staged by Broadway impresario John Murray Anderson, the film is held together by the charismatic personality of rotund bandleader Paul Whiteman. The show begins with a Walter Lantz cartoon wherein it is recalled how Whiteman earned the title of the King of Jazz (Lantz's animated star Oswald Rabbit makes a brief appearance). Then Whiteman appears in the flesh (and plenty of it), coaxing his miniaturized orchestra out of a small box. The film then assumes the traditional revue format, with brief comedy sketches featuring such Universal contractees as Laura LaPlante and Slim Summerville interspersed with some of the most spectacular production numbers ever captured on film. The musical talent includes John Boles, the Rhythm Boys (with Bing Crosby), and "swing" violinist Joe Venuti. Highlights include a full-length "picturization" of Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" (with Gershwin look-alike Roy Bargy at the piano), the surrealistic "Happy Feet", the splendiferous "Bridal Veil", and the gargantuan "Melting Pot" finale.

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  • 4

    Posted by Unknown on Sep 11th 2017

    Paul Whiteman, Bing Crosby, Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang. Early technicolor, All Talking All Singing. There's even a Walter Lantz cartoon segment. This is the best print I've seen although it is a little fuzzy on the 50".

  • 5

    Posted by Kenneth W. Orme on Apr 3rd 2015

    KING OF JAZZ features Paul Whiteman's Orchestra, extremely energetic dancing,knockout sets, and corny Vaudeville comedy sketches. Fortunately, the music sections occupy the bulk of the film. Bing Crosby is seen and heard as part of a now-forgotten trio. No attempt is made at creating a unified story. Animation by Walter Lantz is part of the spectacular fun. Don't miss this one.

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