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Sample text

She’s soon back out on the tiles again, as she and Dick Powell watch Latin dancers Ramon and Rosita before taking to the floor themselves, dancing alongside a hundred other people, whose movements are captured from a dizzying array of angles. Exhilarated and exhausted by the frantic gaiety, Shaw steps out onto a balcony, only to tumble to her death down the side of the skyscraper. The final montage sequence scours the city, before the number ends on Shaw’s face as it recedes into the distance. Even by Berkeley’s standards, this was a remarkable piece of filmmaking.

Although these machines could just about achieve audiovisual congruity, inventors around the world struggled to solve the problems of precise synchronization and amplification, which were to prove key to the advent of talking pictures. In the meantime, primitive sound shorts 21 No Business like show business: the history remained a popular novelty on nickelodeon and vaudeville bills. A. Whitman hired a studio above Daly’s Theatre on Broadway in 1908 and began filming stage stars such as Anna Held, Eva Tanguay, Blanche Ring and Stella Mayhew for his Cameraphone.

Even by Berkeley’s standards, this was a remarkable piece of filmmaking. Yet it still conformed to the tripartite strategy of all his best Warner Bros work, as he ensured that each production numbers contained a social, sexual and conceptual element. ∑ Wonder Bar dir Lloyd Bacon, 1934, 84m, b/w Warner Bros packed the backstage clichés into this hardboiled musical melodrama, in which Al Jolson’s Parisian nightclub owner competes with band crooner Dick Powell for the affections of cabaret star, Dolores Del Rio.

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