HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Last Warrior, The
Artemis 81
Rampage
Quiet Place, A
Braven
Changeover, The
Isle of Dogs
Funny Cow
Maze Runner: The Death Cure
Mad to Be Normal
Beast of Burden
Dead Men Walk
Game Night
Under the Tree
L'Amant Double
Gonin
Coco
Producers, The
Molly's Game
Forest of the Lost Souls, The
Hatchet III
Birdman of Alcatraz
Pacific Rim: Uprising
Wonderstruck
If It Ain't Stiff, It Ain't Worth a Fuck
Nun, The
Red Sparrow
My Friend Dahmer
Journeyman
Heat, The
   
 
Newest Articles
The Ultimate Trip: The Original Psychedelic Movies
Players of Games: Willy Wonka, Tron and Ready Player One
What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round? The Ends of The Monkees
Flings and Arrows: Conquest vs Flesh + Blood
Orson Around: F for Fake and The Late Great Planet Earth
ITC What You Did There: Retro-Action on Blu-ray
And It Was the Dirtiest Harry We Have Seen in a Very Long Time: The Dirty Harry Series
Manor On Movies: The Astounding She Monster
Manor On Movies: Don't be a dolt. That's not a cult (movie)
Wes Anderson's Big Daddies: Steve Zissou and Others
Bad Taste from Outer Space: Galaxy of Terror and Xtro
A Yen for the 1990s: Iron Monkey and Satan Returns
Hey, Punk: Jubilee and Rock 'n' Roll High School
Help! with The Knack: Richard Lester in 1965
Roll Up, Get Yer Free Cinema: The Shorts on the BFI Woodfall Blu-rays
   
 
  Applause Go Into Your DanceBuy this film here.
Year: 1929
Director: Rouben Mamoulian
Stars: Helen Morgan, Joan Peers, Fuller Mellish Jr, Jack Cameron, Henry Wadsworth, Roy Hargrave, Dorothy Cumming
Genre: Musical, Drama
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: What a night for burlesque dancer Kitty Darling (Helen Morgan), as while she enjoys a level of popularity amongst audiences for her bright singing and dancing, she is crying on the inside. Also on the inside is her jailbird husband, and as she leaves the stage feeling unwell she receives a telegram saying that he has been denied his appeal and his stay on Death Row will soon be over - because he is going to be executed. The shock of this is enough to put the pregnant Kitty into labour, and soon after her only child is born, who she names April. But will the child follow in her mother's footsteps?

When Rouben Mamoulian was invited to direct a film about the vaudeville scene, he initially wished to turn it down because of the sleazy reputation such entertainment had. He was persuaded to attend one of the theatres providing such distractions, and did he change his mind? Well, no, he didn't, he was sickened by what he saw but it did convince him to make Applause, which is not a celebration of the roar of the greasepaint and the smell of the crowd, but a damning indictment of the hell that the performers go though simply to provide a show for punters who couldn't care less about them.

With that in mind, there is a strong streak of bitterness running through the film as the script, based on Beth Brown's bestselling novel, puts its characters through humiliation upon indignity, which somewhat hypocritically is presented for our entertainment. Would it have killed them to give us a better musical number? For as well as being a mother and daughter tearjerker this is one of the first backstage musicals, a form that was at its most successful in the thirties, although you can tell Mamoulian hates it from the start when we see a chorus line of overweight, unglamorous and uncoordinated dancers going through their routines.

So if the hoofing and trilling isn't up to much, what can we watch Applause for? If early technical innovations are your bag, then this delivers the goods, as Mamoulian keeps his camera moving in an attempt to disguise a plot that even back then was pretty old hat: tracking shots, shots from above, location filming, it's all here. Among that location shooting is some priceless footage of the actors in New York, whether walking over the Brooklyn Bridge or surveying the panorama of the city from its tallest building, all fascinating stuff from yesteryear.

Alas, what is not so fascinating is that storyline the movie is saddled with, with offputting histrionics about April being packed off to convent school as a kid, learing a life of piety, then being forced to go onto the stage when Kitty's unscrupulous lover Hitch (Fuller Mellish Jr) demands that she stop being given the fees. Now Hitch, knowing that Kitty's days on the stage are numbered because she's not getting any younger, wants to keep his income by making April take her place, both romantically and financially. Can poor April overcome these odds? Well, sort of, but not without a terrible act of self-sacrifice on the part of Kitty. It's all laid on pretty thick, making Applause more interesting from a historical point of view, but Mamoulian was on his way, even if now-forgotten jazz singer Morgan's fate would be as sad as her character's.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2672 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Robert Segedy
Darren Jones
  Asma Amal
  Chris Lawrence
Enoch Sneed
George White
Stately Wayne Manor
   

 

Last Updated: