Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Rare Eddie Cantor!
David Ackerman | New York, NY | 10/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Finally! After 80 years here is the Cantor you've been waiting for! The silent film adaptation of his 1923 musical KID BOOTS is now released with a wonderful musical background score by the late Broadway composer, Arthur Siegel. This hour long feature also stars the incredible Clara Bow!
EXTRAS! The 1924 Lee deForest Phonofilm A FEW MOMENTS WITH EDDIE CANTOR. This is old Banjo Eyes performing a short sample of his vaudeville act and singing two songs!
A ZIEGFELD MIDNIGHT FROLIC (1928) is an extremely rare short that features Cantor in blackface simulating what he did on the rooftop of the New Amsterdam. Here you get three songs from his Victor period!
PHOTO GALLERY! Hear Cantor impersonator, Rick Rogers, recall (in Cantor's own words!) the making of KID BOOTS while looking at rare stills."
Ultra rare Eddie Cantor silent comedy
Stephen H. Wood | South San Francisco, CA | 04/14/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
Eddie Cantor's KID BOOTS (1923) is one of the rarest films in my DVD collection. It has been lost for eighty years and makes its home video debut now from an independent DVD company called Big House. The 60 minute print is quite good--it may be the only copy in existence. Cantor is an unwilling witness to a not-yet divorce that involves a large amount of money if the couple can reconcile. This fast and fun movie co-stars Clara Bow and Billie Dove. On a separate sound short, Eddie recalls how Clara taught him to tone down his vaudeville personality and he taught her how to be funny.
Speaking of which, there are another hour of priceless shorts on this DVD besides KID BOOTS. They include a 1929 sound short, filmed at Astoria Studios on Long Island, showing us Cantor's blackface song and joke routine as done on the New Amsterdam Theatre roof at midnight. This is the only print in existence and was just recently found in a New Jersey garage. We also get a 1924 Lee deForest Phonofilm sound short with Eddie doing his Ziegfeld routine, without the blackface. We get a few jokes and a couple of songs in a truly nostalgic short.
The whole DVD is a must-own curio for Eddie Cantor and Florenz Ziegfeld fans, and it includes regular mail and e-mail addresses for the Eddie Cantor Appreciation Society. A certain older audience will truly cherish this precious Jazz Age DVD. You know who you are.
Not bad considering its age-- and a real rarity...
K. Doyle | Los Angeles | 09/06/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The quality of this one is pretty good considering the age-- though the Phonofilm short is video field reversed (probably fixable with the right software tools but you'd have to rip it to your computer).
Times were pretty different back in those days, this is a very interesting window to the past-- and I got quite a few chuckles out of Kid Boots. Wish they would release Whoopee and Palmy Days-- Cantor was an interesting guy and there doesn't appear to be much of him available. I'm not sure what the point of his doing Midnight Frolic in blackface was, as none of the routines or songs seemed to be connected with it in any way-- no doubt a historical oddity that now seems just bizarre, along with some of the jokes in the Phonofilm segment which would probably not be received favorably in todays world. A nice little curio of bygone days...
After writing this review I got around to reading his autobiography. Turns out, blackface came about in a time where acting along with the rest of society was segregated. Black actors were not allowed to appear on stage with white actors. But there were characters in the plays of the time that were black, for example, waiters and bellboys. So, white characters were "made up" to be black. Cantor cut his acting teeth on some of these parts, and tried to make the most of them in order to get more on-stage time. He was entertaining at it, and consequently became known as a blackface comic in the early days. Later in his career, he had established a carefully designed comedy repertoire which did not include blackface, but at one gig was told that he could come back next week providing he had different material because many of the same patrons would be attending. But since he didn't have any more "A" material and what he had took a long time to develop, he got the idea of just doing the same set but in blackface, and apparently pulled it off-- again making a name for himself as a blackface comic. So the gags weren't necessarily supposed to be related to the blackface... At any rate, that's the story paraphrased from his autobiography, for what it's worth..."