Unsung Hollywood Musicals of the Golden Era

50 Overlooked Films and Their Stars, 1929–1939

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About the Book

The most memorable Hollywood musicals of 1930s showcased the talents of stars like Fred Astaire, Jeanette MacDonald, Bing Crosby and Alice Faye. The less memorable ones didn’t. This book takes a look at the unsung songfests of the ’30s—secondary or forgotten features with short-lived or unlikely stars from major studios and Poverty Row. Through analysis of films such as Lord Byron of Broadway (1930), Shoot the Works (1934), Bottoms Up (1934), Moonlight and Pretzels (1933) and The Music Goes ’Round (1936), the author profiles such performers as Dorothy Dell, Lee Dixon, Peggy Fears, Lawrence Gray, Joe Morrison and the mother-daughter team of Myrt and Marge. Behind-the-scenes figures are discussed, like the infamously profligate producer Lou Brock, whose flops Down to Their Last Yacht (1934) and Top of the Town (1937) cost him his career. Filmographies and production information are included, with background on key participants.

About the Author(s)

The late Edwin M. Bradley was the associate curator of film at the Flint (Michigan) Institute of Arts. He published four books on early Hollywood film.

Bibliographic Details

Edwin M. Bradley

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 236
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9833-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2400-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
1. Early Sound Rediscoveries 5
2. Failed, Fallen, and ­One-Shot Stars 38
3. Slumming with the Songsters 88
4. Big Ideas, Bigger Casts … and Some Oddities 127
5. Dancing Down Poverty Row 166
Chapter Notes 197
Bibliography 208
Index 211

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “a marvelous look at ‘minor’ musicals and forgotten performers”—Classic Images
  • “a fascinating and enlightening study…exceptional…Bradley’s book is one of the best ever written on this aspect of the musical genre…important information not found elsewhere…most highly recommended”—Examiner.com