Features movie newcomer Ethel Waters debuting Am I Blue, the song that became her signature tune; and rubber-faced Joe E. Brown in his first Warner Bros. movie. The film notched a historic benchmark by being the first all-color sound feature.
The Jazz Singer made Talkies the rage, backstage musicals became one of the staples of the era and amid all the voh-de-oh-doing and tap-tapping came this movie that Time called "the most interesting of its type to date." Adding to the interest: a narrative structure that cuts between the onstage production of a make-or-break show and the in-the-wings scrambling to mount it - and to find out who heisted the night's gate receipts; movie newcomer Ethel Waters debuting "Am I Blue," the song that became her signature tune; and rubber-faced Joe E. Brown in his first Warner Bros. movie. The film notched a historic benchmark by being the first all-color (two-strip Technicolor) sound feature. Color prints no longer exist but... On with the Show!
This early talkie antique is a backstage musical from Warner Bros. The plot involves the out-of-town tryout of a new musical comedy, and the people who perform therein: a bitchy leading lady (Betty Compson), an arrogant comedy lead (Joe E. Brown), and a starstruck chorus kid (Sally O'Neil). At the very last moment, the leading lady refuses to go on, forcing the producer to put the chorus girl in her place. It turns out that the star's seemingly rotten behavior was deliberately designed to give the chorine her big break. In between several Technicolor musical numbers (now only existing in black-and-white), we hear a lot of pedantic talk about "the show business." ON WITH THE SHOW's sole virtue is the exquisite Ethel Waters, who introduces her hit song "Am I Blue'"
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