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Friday, June 27, 2008

BE YOURSELF (1930)


This largely unsatisfying vehicle for Fanny Brice, the real Funny Girl, is her only early Talkie to survive intact. There’s a certain built-in interest in seeing what made her such a popular performer, but you can probably get closer to what made her legend by checking out her guest appearances in THE GREAT ZIEGFELD/’36 singing ‘My Man’ and THE ZIEGFELD FOLLIES/’46 for a sample of her no-holds-barred comedy technique. Sketch comedy has a notoriously short shelf life, but she’s riveting just the same. (see below) BE YOURSELF is an antique bit of sentimental tosh with Brice fighting to keep her man ( a boxing champ) from falling for a gold-digging dame. Billy Rose was her husband at the time and he turned out a few sub-par songs which are slackly helmed by Thornton Freeland. But do check out those nightclub designs from William Cameron Menzies.

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