Pre Code Hollywood Season: FD Cinematheque
Paramount on Parade (1930)
Directors: Dorothy Arzner, Otto Brower, Edmund Goulding, Victor Heerman, Edwin H Knopf, Rowland V Lee, Ernst Lubitsch, Lothar Mendes, Victor Schertzinger, A Edward Sutherland, Frank Tuttle
Cast: Maurice Chevalier, Richard Arlen, Jean Arthur, William Austin, George Bancroft, Clara Bow, Evelyn Brent, Mary Brian, Clive Brook, Nancy Carroll, Kay Francis, Richard Skeets Gallagher, Gary Cooper, Ruth Chatterton, Mitzi Green, Fredric March and many others
Paramount on Parade is a 1930 all-star American Pre-Code revue released by Paramount Pictures, directed by several directors including Edmund Goulding, Dorothy Arzner, Ernst Lubitsch, Rowland V. Lee, A. Edward Sutherland, Lothar Mendes, Otto Brower, Edwin H. Knopf, Frank Tuttle, and Victor Schertzinger—all supervised by the production supervisor, singer, actress, and songwriter Elsie Janis.
Featured stars included Jean Arthur, Richard Arlen, Clara Bow, Evelyn Brent, Buddy Rogers, Jack Oakie, Helen Kane, Maurice Chevalier, Nancy Carroll, George Bancroft, Kay Francis, Richard “Skeets” Gallagher, Gary Cooper, Fay Wray, Lillian Roth and other Paramount stars. The screenplay was written by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, produced by Adolph Zukor and Jesse L. Lasky, with cinematography by Victor Milner and Harry Fischbeck.
Paramount on Parade, released on April 22, 1930, was Paramount’s answer to all-star revues like Hollywood Revue of 1929 from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, The Show of Shows from Warner Brothers, and King of Jazz from Universal Studios. The film had 20 individual segments—several of them in two-color Technicolor — directed by 11 directors, and almost every star on the Paramount roster except Claudette Colbert and the Marx Brothers. (Colbert became a star in May 1930 with the release of The Big Pond, also with Chevalier and also released in a French-language version.)
Paramount also produced a French-language version Paramount en Parade directed by Charles de Rochefort and a Romanian-language version Parada Paramount (Chevalier and Martini also starred in the French version, and Romanian actress Pola Illéry starred in the Romanian version. There was also a Dutch version, Paramount op Parade with Theo Frenkel. The Scandinavian version starred Ernst Rolf and his wife, Tutta Rolf.
The film, including some of its Technicolor sequences, has been restored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive. The original title sequence and chorus girl number immediately following it, however, are still lost. The sound for two of the Technicolor sequences (“Gallows Song” and “Dream Girl”) are also missing.
According to Robert Gitt, film archivist now retired from UCLA, in a lecture at Pacific Film Archive at UC Berkeley, the film was also released with sound-on-disc for those theaters not equipped for sound-on-film. The archive had a report of the soundtrack for this film still existing on disc until the 1994 Northridge earthquake destroyed a set of discs that a collector was planning to donate.
In August 2010, CapitolFest in Rome, New York showed a 102-minute version restored by UCLA Film and Television Archive. Some sequences are still missing the sound, for some sequences only the soundtrack exists.
List of sequences
- “Title Sequence” during Credits with Kay Francis and George Bancroft (lost footage; only sound survives)
- “Showgirls on Parade” with Mitzi Mayfair (lost Technicolor footage; only sound survives)
- “We’re the Masters of Ceremony” Jack Oakie, Richard “Skeets” Gallagher, and Leon Errol introduce themselves as MC‘s of the film
- “Love Time” Buddy Rogers and Lillian Roth
- “Murder Will Out” William Powell, Clive Brook, Warner Oland, Eugene Pallette, and Oakie
- “Origin of the Apache” Maurice Chevalier and Evelyn Brent do a parody of an Apache dance
- “Song of the Gondolier” Nino Martini sings “Come Back to Sorrento” (Technicolor; survives complete)
- “In a Hospital” Leon Errol, and David Newell
- “In a Girl’s Gym” Jack Oakie and Zelma O’Neal
- “The Toreador” Kay Francis and Harry Green (as Isadore the Toreador) parody Carmen (Technicolor; survives complete)
- “The Montmartre Girl” Ruth Chatterton, Stu Erwin, and Fredric March
- “Park in Paris” Maurice Chevalier
- “Mitzi Herself” Mitzi Green
- “The Schoolroom” Helen Kane, Mitzi Green. Kane sings “What Did Cleopatra Say?” to her class
- “The Gallows Song” Skeets Gallagher and Dennis King (Technicolor footage survives; sound missing, current prints use King’s commercial vocal recording of the song.)
- “Dance Mad” Nancy Carroll and Abe Lyman‘s Band
- “Dream Girl” Richard Arlen, Jean Arthur, Mary Brian, James Hall, Gary Cooper, and Fay Wray sing “Let Us Drink To The Girl Of My Dreams” (Technicolor footage survives; sound missing)
- “The Redhead” Clara Bow, and 42 Navy men sing “True to the Navy”
- “Impulses” George Bancroft, Kay Francis, and Cecil Cunningham
- “Rainbow Revels” finale Chevalier and girls’ chorus (including Iris Adrian and Virginia Bruce) sing “Sweeping the Clouds Away” (in Technicolor; survives only in black-and-white)
A large number of foreign-language versions were shot including:
- Galas de la Paramount (Spanish) premiered in Buenos Aires 28 August 1930 and in Los Angeles 7 September 1930; with Ramón Pereda, Barry Norton, Rosita Moreno
- Paramount en parade (French) with Maurice Chevalier, Nino Martini, Saint-Granier, Marguerite Moreno, Louis-Jacques Boucot, Fanny Clair, and Charles de Rochefort (Rochefort also directed)
- Parada Paramount (Romanian) with Pola Illéry; directed by Rochefort
- Paramount op Parade (Dutch) with Theo Frenkel Jr., Mien Duymaer van Twist, and Louis Davids; directed by Job Weening
At Paramount’s Hollywood studio, Ernst Rolf and his Norwegian wife, Tutta Rolf, filmed introductions and sequences for the Scandinavian version. Japanese comedian Suisei Matsui introduced the film in Japan. Mira Zimińska and Mariusz Maszynski appeared in the Polish version, and Dina Gralla and Eugen Rex appeared in the German version. Paramount filmed most of the above versions, along with Czech, Hungarian, Serbian, and Italian versions, at their Joinville Studios in Paris.
- List of early color feature films
- Multiple-language version
- The House That Shadows Built (1931 promotional film released by Paramount)
- “Paramount on Parade”. IMDb.com. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
- “Paramount on Parade (1930) – Overview”. TCM.com. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
- Lynn Kear; James King (2009-07-31). Evelyn Brent: The Life and Films of Hollywood’s Lady Crook. Books.google.com.pe. p. 188. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
Film Collectors Corner
Watch Paramount on Parade Now – Instant Video on Internet Archive
Not released on Blu Ray
Not released on DVD