Applause (1929), 80 minutes, D: Rouben Mamoulian
The film is the story of Kitty Darling (Helen Morgan), a fading, 1920s Broadway and nightclub burlesque singing star. As a boozing, aging mother, she attempts to shelter and save her secluded, convent-raised, grown-up daughter April (Joan Peers) from more experienced and manipulative characters. But April joins the burlesque chorus anyway. Despondent, Kitty takes poison and dies in her dressing room, as April goes on stage in her place. April realizes, however, that her needs are not met with audience applause, so she leaves the stage to marry a nice young man who has been courting her.
Blackmail (1929, UK), 96 minutes, D: Alfred Hitchcock
The Broadway Melody (1929), 104 minutes, D: Harry Beaumont
MGM's first full-length musical feature, advertised as "all-talking, all-singing, all dancing." It was the first, widely-distributed sound film and first musical to win an Oscar for Best Picture for 1928-9. This film was used as the model for all future backstage film musicals. With memorable songs including "Give My Regards to Broadway," "You Were Meant For Me," and "Wedding of the Painted Doll" in two-color Technicolor. The film is the story of two sisters, "Hank" Mahoney and Queenie (Bessie Love and Anita Page) from Midwestern "sticks," a song-and-dance vaudeville team who are searching for stardom on Broadway, and the love triangle that develops with amorous songwriter Eddie Kerns (Charles King).
The Cocoanuts (1929), 93 minutes, D: Florey & Santley
The film debut of the Marx Brothers. Groucho plays a Miami, Florida hotel manager/owner, Mr. Hammer, with Chico and Harpo as con men who fleece guests, and Margaret Dumont as the only paying guest in the hotel. The plot hinging on a Florida real-estate development scheme is less significant than the antics of the Marx Brothers, including some classic scenes (the auction scene and the "Why a Duck?" routine) and Harpo's first horn-honking.
The Man With the Movie Camera (1929, USSR) (aka Chelovek S Kinoapparatom), 80 minutes, D: Dziga Vertov
Pandora's Box (1929, Germ.) (aka Die Büchse der Pandora), 97 minutes, D: Georg W. Pabst
The Virginian (1929), 95 minutes, D: Victor Fleming
A western film and adaptation of a pulp novel, the story of the conflict between a Wyoming ranch-hand foreman, the Virginian (Gary Cooper) and a group of outlaws who are changing brands and rustling cattle. Walter Huston plays Trampas, the villainous leader of the gang, who meets his end in a dusty street shootout/showdown with the Virginian. The film is most known for the Virginian's response to a card-game insult - he pulls out his gun, lays it on the card table, and responds: "If you want to call me that, smile."