The March of Time1930
The March of Time is the title of an unreleased 1930 American Pre-Code musical film directed by Charles Reisner. The film was originally scheduled to be released in September 1930 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer but was shelved. The March of Time would have been one of the many musicals partially filmed in two-color Technicolor.
The uncompleted film was originally titled Hollywood Revue of 1930, later "Just Kids," and was conceived by producer Harry Rapf as a follow-up to MGM's The Hollywood Revue of 1929, which he had also produced. The film was retitled The March of Time, as it was to consist of three sections which featured past performers from the stage and the vaudeville circuit, then-present-day performers, and up-and-coming performers. Production began in Fall 1929, but by October 1930 MGM had decided to shelve the project, as they considered it to be unmarketable since the interest by audiences for musicals or musical revues was dead. The first instance of footage from "The March of Time" hitting movie screens was the short subject "Crazy House," which was released February 7, 1931.
Among the performers who filmed scenes for The March of Time were Joe Weber and Lew Fields of the Weber and Fields comedy team, Gus Edwards, Fay Templeton, Marie Dressler, Van and Schenck, DeWolf Hopper Sr., Buster Keaton, Albertina Rasch and her dancers, Polly Moran, Cliff Edwards, Benny Rubin, Ramon Novarro performing "Long Ago in Alcala," Bing Crosby performing "Poor Little G-String,"the Duncan Sisters performing "Graduation Day," Barney Fagan performing a soft shoe routine, and Raquel Torres performing "The Story of An Old Spanish Clock."
In order to salvage the $750,000 that had already been spent on the film, MGM announced plans to use the footage in a planned project starring Jimmy Durante that was to be released in 1932. That project was also abandoned. The footage from The March of Time later found its way into the musical shorts The Devil's Cabaret (1930), Crazy House (1930), Nertsery Rhymes (1933), Hello Pop! (1933) and Jail Birds of Paradise (1934). MGM's 1931 musical revue Wir schalten um auf Hollywood (We Tune In to Hollywood), produced for the German market, also featured many sequences from The March of Time. MGM considered foreign versions for the French and Spanish speaking markets as well but the box office failure of The Hollywood Revue of 1929 in France eliminated that possibility, although the German film played some South American markets as "Hollywood en Revista 1931". Broadway to Hollywood (1933) included the Technicolor finale of "The March of Time" as a sequence mid-film along with other sequences from "The March of Time" shown in black and white. Footage from the unfinished film also appears in That's Entertainment! III (1994). According to the book "The Dawn of Technicolor," by James Layton and David Pierce, surviving Technicolor elements at Warner Bros. include "35mm nitrate Technicolor dye-transfer prints (multiple reels, including the "Long Ago in Alacala" and "March of Time Fantasie" numbers)." A color frame enlargement from the latter number is included in the book.
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