Vitaphone Varieties Volume Three (1928-1929)
Release: Warner Archive Collection
Have you ever found yourself at someone’s house, maybe a family member or future spouse, and someone says, “you just HAVE to watch this.” The next thing you know you are surrounded by people laughing hysterically while watching an old video of a family talent show while you sit there, bewildered by your newfound station in life, wondering if you have chosen poorly. Welcome to Vitaphone Varieties Volume Three, this is that talent show. However, all of the performers are professionals and good at their jobs.
It’s time to once again take your front-row seats to the best variety show of the Jazz Age, as the vaunted and venerable Vitaphone presents a third collection of vintage Vaudeville and more sound shorts! Stars and almost-stars of song, stage and screen from the East Coast to the West Coast can all be seen – and most importantly heard – in this scintillating collection of 16 shorts that present a passport to the vanished entertainments of 1928 and 1929.
This collection of vaudevillian one takes is wholly random and disjointed and delightful. There is little replay value in this disc but it is a fun reminder of, both, where we came from and why we love watching old black-and-white films. The performers in this collection are preserved here giving us a chance to go back into a smoky saloon and just be entertained.
There is one standout short on this disc. Joe College (Two College Nuts) starring Billy Edison and Charlie Gregory. This film is just the two clown-musicians playing balloons and bassoon. It was just a delightful little bit of distraction and one of the two gentlemen is a spitting image of Harold Lloyd.
Treasures like these are one of the driving forces behind this blog and without this gin joint I would not have ever heard of this collection which is why I am glad to recommend it to you. While it may be someone else’s talent show, it is one that you will be glad you sat through.
Fans can find this release at WBShop.com
Director: 5 – Cinematography: 7 – Edit: 5 – Parity: 8 – Main performance: 8 – Else performance: 3 – Score: 7 – Sound: 5 – Story: 5 – Script: 6 – Effects: 9 – Design: 6 – Costumes: 8 – Keeps interest: 6 – Lasting: 5