Hollywood Cavalcade relates an interesting and sentimental story of film producing in California, beginning in the pie-throwing, Keystone era of 1913, and winding up when Al Jolson sang from the screen in The Jazz Singer, and the silent picture days were ended. The film is excellently produced and brightened by color.
In addition to a brief personal appearance, Mack Sennett plays an important off-screen role in the film, principal novelty of which is the successful and amusing introduction of oldtime Sennett comedy routines and formula. There is a brief sequence also from
The Jazz Singer, in which Jolson sings ‘Kol Nidre.’ Obviously, this was made especially for the film.
From a story by Hilary Lynn and Brown Holmes, Hollywood Cavalcade is a deft piece of workmanship, punctuated with numerous mechanical twists and turns. Scenes from the older films are projected in black and white, sometimes framed in colored borders.
As for the yarn itself, it relates the rise, fall and rise again of an enthusiastic young director, played by Don Ameche. At a New York performance of The Man Who Came Back in William A. Brady’s Playhouse, he sees a promising understudy (Alice Faye) who is substituting for the leading woman. He persuades her to make the jump to Hollywood and the films. Cummings keeps the running account in a light and humorous vein.