Review: ‘The Great American Broadcast’

The Great American Broadcast is light and breezy, a showmanly admixture of comedy, romance, drama and music woven around the extraordinary progress of radio broadcasting during the 1920s. Scripters fudge a few years in setting the year of the Dempsey-Willard heavyweight battle in Toledo. Original shots of the fight are utilized to accompany the radio account.

The Great American Broadcast is light and breezy, a showmanly admixture of comedy, romance, drama and music woven around the extraordinary progress of radio broadcasting during the 1920s. Scripters fudge a few years in setting the year of the Dempsey-Willard heavyweight battle in Toledo. Original shots of the fight are utilized to accompany the radio account.

Picture has many attributes on the entertainment side despite its thin and sketchy story. Most prominent is the breezy and zestful performance of Jack Oakie, who works energetically throughout and holds audience attention every minute he is on the screen.

Story details the adventures of Oakie, John Payne, Faye and Cesar Romero as early pioneers in radio broadcasting. Oakie tinkers with a crystal set in his room, idea-minded Payne gets enthusiastic over wireless entertainment possibilities, Faye is radio’s first singing star, and Romero supplies the early coin.

Direction by Archie Mayo carries the pace at good speed, and injects many surefire touches for laugh attention.

The Great American Broadcast

Production

20th Century-Fox. Director Archie Mayo; Producer Kenneth Macgowan (assoc.); Screenplay Don Ettlinger, Edwin Blum, Robert Ellis, Helen Logan; Camera Leon Shamroy, Peverell Marley; Editor Robert Simpson; Music Alfred Newman (dir.); Art Director Richard Day, Albert Hogsett

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1941. Running time: 90 MIN.

With

Alice Faye Jack Oakie John Payne Cesar Romero The Four Ink Spots James Newill
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