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Mainstream - The Great American Broadcast - Alice Faye Collection 2

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The Great American Broadcast
The Alice Faye Collection
Alice Faye, Cesar Romero, Jack Oakie, John Payne
Directed by Archie Mayo
Black and White
20th Century Fox 1941
Fox Home Video 2008
91 minutes

The Great American Broadcast is a great biographical movie about the early and golden age of radio. History and radio fans will be immediately fascinated by this 1941 black and white movie; those who like a good comedy will also enjoy this DVD. The Great American Broadcast is one of five movies in The Alice Faye Collection Volume 2. In terms of restoration, you can’t complain at all.

The opening scene in The Great American Broadcast features a great slapstick fight between flyboy Rix Martin (John Payne) and some men from the telephone company. The next scenes, featuring Chuck Hadley’s first in-rooming house broadcast and then the first full show broadcast are also a hoot.  The scenes set the tone for a movie that does not miss an opportunity to get some laughs but never does so at the expense of the history it is telling.

Hadley (Jack Oakie) is the inventor who wants to make radio a household fixture. Cesar Romero (The Joker in the Batman TV series) plays the financier Hadley and Martin try to get to finance their plan. Alice Faye plays Hadley’s girlfriend and the talent that will make radio a must for any home.

The first broadcast is a bust but when ham radio operators across the United States join together to broadcast the Willard-Dempsey fight, radio really kicks off.

There are plenty of musical numbers in this movie. While these are often ham fistedly inserted in movies of the period, they make sense here.

The Great American Broadcast features a performance by The Ink Spots and a great dance number by Fayard and Harold Nicholas, The Nicholas Brothers.

Fans of forties movies will probably wonder about the strong similarity between John Payne and Jimmy Stewart in terms of character and acting style. It is almost eerie.

The Alice Faye Collection Volume 2 is a 5 DVD set of Alice Faye movies with a historical background. Hollywood Cavalcade is the story of the early days of the silent era; Four Jills in a Jeep is about the early days of the USO. Other films include  Hello Frisco Hello and Rose of Washington Square.

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