Matinees ACMI Presents

King of Jazz

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A lavish musical revue produced for the silver screen by Universal in Hollywood’s heyday, this brand new digital restoration restores the film’s Technicolor glory, running time and visual quality in a form that has been unseen since the film’s original release over eight decades ago. One of the most ambitious musicals ever produced in Hollywood, it features a host of Broadway talent and Universal contract players.

King of Jazz marked the first appearance on film of a twenty-six year old crooner named Bing Crosby, then a member of vocal trio The Rhythm Boys. Former silent movie star John Boles cuts a dashing figure in 'It Happened in Monterey' and the rousing 'Song of the Dawn'. Two of the most spectacular set pieces are choreographed around George Gershwin’s swoon-worthy 'Rhapsody in Blue' and the jazz-inflected 'Happy Feet', which features showgirl duo, the Sisters G, (Eleanor and Karla Gutchrlein) in a rather acrobatic display of chutzpah and dance skill, as well as human Gumby, ‘Rubber Legs’ Al Norman.

Universal contract players provide comic relief in brief screwball sketches between musical numbers and the entire glorious enterprise culminates in the thrilling 'Melting Pot' finale.

Selected for preservation by the U.S. Library of Congress as ‘culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant’, this new digital restoration has never before been seen in Australia and is exclusive to ACMI.

King of Jazz (1930) was a monument to a new era…Universal’s super production brought together Paul Whiteman, leader of the country’s top dance orchestra, John Murray Anderson, director of spectacular Broadway revues, a top ensemble of dancers and singers…and sparkling early [2-Strip] Technicolor…an unparalleled cinematic interpretation of jazz music and stage spectacle” Il Cinema Ritrovato