Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Ben Vereen, Bud Abbott, George Abbott, Larry Adler, Hadji Ali
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
A priceless document of archival footage and precious oral history, Vaudeville offers a comprehensive survey of American family entertainment in the decades before radio, movies, and television. From its origins in Briti... more »
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(2 out of 5 stars)
"This is a case of documentarians thinking that you'd rather hear them pontificate that actually see what they're talking about. The packaging for this DVD claims you'll see 80 vaudeville acts. And you will, for about 12 seconds each... not one performance is complete. Which is a big shame, given the wealth of footage the filmmakers apparently had access to. The writer of this presentation should have stepped well out of the way, and let the performances speak. To make it that much more frustrating , much of the running time goes to interviews with non-vaudevillians such as present-day filmaker Robert Townsend, and clips of vaudeville-influenced stuff like the Muppet Show. It kills you sit through this stuff knowing that the filmmakers are holding back rare footage of performances by houdini, w.c. fields, you name it. Buy this if you know nothing about vaudeville... and want to hear some old-timers doing a remember-when. If you want to see some old routines, get some of the variety films (international house, stand up and cheer, (this list is huge) from the early thirties and you'll be much better off."
An excellent documentary for everyone!
Nate Goyer | Sydney, Australia | 01/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are interested in entertainment, dancing, comedy or even American history, I recommend this DVD. It has excellent structure, and describes many aspects of the life inside vaudeville music halls. It also addresses many sensative issues, like the use of blackface in minstral shows, and the death of vaudeville in the early 30s.It contains a tremendous amount of interesting footage of many vaudeville acts. For it's film footage alone, and being able to witness some of these great acts, this DVD is well worth it.This documentary gives excellent examples of the types of entertainment one would find in the early part of the century and relates it back to present day. As far as documentaries go, this is an extremely impressive effort."
Make Em Laugh, Make Em Cry, Make Em Wait
G. SPelvin | Seattle, Washington | 04/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Television is the grandchild of vaudeville, but for decades vaudeville ignored television. This documentary -- the first ever television program about vaudeville -- is an enhanced version of a 1997 PBS broadcast, part of the American Masters series. For rights reasons, some of the songs -- like "Frankfurter Sandwiches" -- are missing from the original broadcast, but they've been replaced by either other songs or more spoken word routines. Segments from almost ninety acts are included -- in 1997 People Magazine said this was one of the twelve best television programs of the year, and the best entertainment special of the year -- that for a show where most of the performers haven't been seen for thirty years. Also included are interviews with more than thirty vaudevillians, including June Havoc, Morey Amsterdam, Rose Marie, George Abbott, and the Nicholas Brothers. I think it's a splendid show, but then I should; I wrote and directed it."
A wonderful documentary about a time long past
David Alterman | Sykesville MD USA | 01/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This documentary is one of my favorites. It explains the history and origin of the old art. There is wonderful footage of old acts from the days gone by mostly the 20's and some pricless intervies of old vaudevillians before they died. There is also an interesting segment on race too. It is just too bad that there are not more films of the old acts available."