New York Nights (United Artists) (1929)

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NORMA TALMADGE IN HER FIRST TALKING FILM During Run Stories and Reviews "NEW YORK NIGHTS" Norma Talmadge* s First Talker Prize Film Fare Review No. 1 Norma Talmadge’s latest and per¬ haps most ambitious screen effort, “New York Nights” was given its local premiere ., enabling local picture audiences to see and judge for themselves the musical, all-talking extravaganza that has claimed a lion’s share of interest among current releases. Certainly “New York Nights” one of the most entertaining pic¬ tures seen — and heard — here ii many months. It is an unusual combination of understandable com¬ edy-melodrama, with sensible and timely interpolations of music and humorous touches that rightly be¬ long to the story. As a representation of Broadway’s big bulb belt and Tin Pan Alley, the picture observes faith more so than many other recent productions with a similar background. In “New York Nights” one is given the im¬ pression of ian interesting back¬ ground, motivated by still more in¬ teresting personalities. The story never subject to the locale, which is a pleasing innovation for Broad¬ way-surfeited audiences. Miss Talmadge as “Jill” makes her talking picture debut in “New York Nights” and her work in the starring role is a triumph of fin¬ ished acting. We like her portrayal of a chorus girl because of its sim¬ plicity and naturalness. She doesn’t use her voice affectedly and her de¬ lightful sophistications have the quality of spontaneity. The solemn verdict is given here that she is even a better talking actress than a silent one. Gilbert Roland surprises us in _ semi-character role that he invests with real sympathy. His impersona¬ tion of the indolent, almost worth¬ less song-writing husband of Miss Talmadge is a difficult one, yet he achieves distinction in it. John.Wray is a grim, sinister fig¬ ure as ”Joe Prividi," the racketeer¬ ing connoisseur of girls. This actor- playwright does a commendable bit of work in his first motion picture. Lilyan Tashman, as the hard-boiled, nauphty-but-nice chorus girl friend of “Jill," is in a characteristic role that can do no less than increase her growing vogue. Others in the cast are Roscoe Karns, the comic relief, and a good one, and Mary Doran, the gold-digging villainess. These two are perfectly placed. Director Lewis Milestone has given in “New York Nights” one of the most entertaining single scenes in the ’’wild party” episode of the pic¬ ture, which presents in short flashes several star vaudevillians and two major recording orchestras playing the theme sonsr of the picturt "A Year From Today." ’’New York Nights" is the story of a chorus girl, “Jill” (Miss Tal madge), married to a lazy and unf*' song-writer who manages to write the only successful song of his ca¬ reer and sells it for a drink of gin The plot revolves about the charac¬ ter of a racketeer who covets "Jill” and plans to rid her of her husband but unsuccessfully. The picture ends in a melodramatic whirl of tion. It is highly recommended as usual entertainment. Ace Song Writers Get Up Norma Talmadge Song Hit “A Year From Today,” written by A1 Jolson, Ballard MacDonald and Dave Dreyer, is the official theme song for Norma Talmadge’s starring debut in talking picture, “New York Nights,” running at the .Theatre. Dreyer, ace of song writers, who collaborated with Jolson in creating such famous hits as "There’s a Rain¬ bow Round My Shoulder.” "Me and My Shadow,” "Back in Your Old Back Yard,” “Evangeline,” and a score of spontaneous successes, was engaged by director Lewis Milestone to supervise the sequences featuring the number. The song, written around an in¬ cident of the picture story, is an integral part of the drama of "New York Nights,” which is, as its name implies, a motion picture with the famous music center of New York as a background. Irving Berlin is the publisher. Appearing in support of Miss Talmadge are Gilbert Roland, John Wray, New York playwright and actor, Lilyan Tashman, Roscoe Karns and Mary Doran. NORMA TALMADGE - Star of "NEW YORK, NIGHTS 1 ' 2a—One Column Star Scene Head (Mat 5c; Cut 30c) NORMA TALMADGE AT BEST IN NEW TALKER Review No. 2 "New York Nights," which opened at the . theatre last night with Norma Tal¬ madge showing in her first musical talking picture, is a thrilling melo¬ dramatic production, rich in ro¬ mance, rich in power and richer still in its entertainment values. It is an example of intriguing big town atmosphere plus a dominant and popular personality. The picture affords Miss Tal- iadge an excellent opportunity to show her interpretive genius and her emotional fire and charm. A lavish display of sets, crowds, music, comedy and a sincere ro¬ mance laid in that picturesque belt of New York City known as Tin Pan Alley were intelligently woven into a pleasing whole by Lewis Milestone, Hollywood’s ace comedy director. Taken as a whole "New York Nights” is a radical departure from the numerous plays about Broad¬ way’s theatrical people that have preceded it. It is essentially a lively story with a logical and understand¬ able plot pleasingly presented. As a background to this plot is laid the glamorous night life of the most famous street in the world, with its song writers, chorus girls and sinister racketeers. As “Jill," the chorus girl wife of Fred Deverne” (Gilbert Roland), Miss Talmadge creates an unforget¬ table character of delightful appeal and paradoxical moods—a character part whimsy, part pathos and thor¬ oughly real. Gilbert Roland, who plays oppo¬ site the star, does excellently in the difficult role of “Fred Deverne,” a Dotential star lyricist who sells his fionor and the only worthwhile song he ever wrote for a drink of booze. John Wray, the distinguished play¬ wright-actor, is an excellent “Joe Prividi," a sinister partner of the underworld and a finished actor. Lilvan Tashman is her usual pert self as “Peggy,” the chorus girl. Roscoe Karns and Mary Doran com¬ plete an excellent cast of capable players. “New York Nights” starts and fin¬ ishes in a fast tempo of action— night clubs, wild party scenes, shoot¬ ings and dance music by two famous recording orchestras are part and parcel of the drama. There are no moments of dullness in the pic¬ ture. “New York Nights” was adapted torn the successful stage play "Tin Pan Alley," by Hugh Stanislaus Stange. It is another big time United Artists picture. Sound Climaxes Used to Dramatize "N. Y. Nights?* Now that further novelties ___ camera angles have exhausted them¬ selves through the fierce, competi¬ tive struggle of photographers seek¬ ing technical thrills, the day of the sound angle dawns. A sound angle is an unusual pres¬ entation of dialogue or music inter¬ polated in orderly sound sequences for the purpose of heightening dra¬ matic tempo. Sougd difficult? It is difficult! Lewis Milestone, who directed Norma Talmadge in United Artists “New York Nights” at the. Theatre, is the first to see the po¬ tentialities of this new recording innovation. The experiment was given defi¬ nite shape when Milestone, wishing to encompass the characteristics of a set crowded with 100 extras and two distinct musical units, flashed quickly from one group to another and set these flashes against a dom¬ inant background of undisturbed action. In other, and simpler words, he shot a rapid succession of sound close-ups with the microphone with¬ out moving the camera or chang¬ ing the pictorial composition. Milestone believes that a person entering a crowded room would pick out certain groups of sounds and, through some physiological phenomenon, amplify them beyond sound he did not care to hear. He wanted his camera and microphone to do that. A special showing of the picture to students of the motion picture demonstrated that Milestone had really discovered an important tech¬ nical adjunct that could not fail to recreate the illusion of reality. Gilbert Roland, John Wray, Lil¬ yan Tashman, Roscoe Karns and Mary Doran are cast in "New York Nights.” Small Items Increase "N. Y. Nights** Cost NORMA TALMADGE with. GILBERT ROLAND in.'NEW YORK. NIGHTS" 5 —One Column Scene (Mat 5c; Cut 30c) NORMA TALMADGE IN FEAR OF THE "MIKE” Norma Talmadge Argues for Silent Cinema Love Fannie Brice Bows to Norma Talmadge Fannie Brice, visiting Miss Tal¬ madge on her set at the United Ar¬ tists studios where "New York Nights" the current all-talking at¬ traction at the .theatre, was made, heard a "playback” after lively scene had been microphoned. "Say," she exclaimed, "where did you pick up that show chatter?' Miss Talmadge explained that she had read her lines as they were written in her script. "I guess it’s the way you say them then," said Miss Brice, "but I could swear you were in a pony troupe once, if I didn’t know your history as well as my own.” Miss Talmadge’s role is that of chorus girl married to an indolent song writer (Gilbert Roland), and the story is of Broadway, the show business and the song writers* guild. It was adapted from the stage play f the same title by Hugh Stanislaus Stange. Though she does not exactly la¬ ment the passing of silent films, Norma Talmadge, star of United Artists "New York Nights," show¬ ing at the.Theatre, is sorry that the pictorially beauti¬ ful close-ups of love scenes are be¬ coming passe with the perfection of dialogue in pictures. The star gives two reasons for her assertion that love close-ups are going: In the first place, no amount dialogue can express the sweet, sin¬ cere and invariably speechless emo¬ tion we call love. In the old pre¬ talk days we interpreted it by means of expressive eyes, a gesture of the hands and perhaps twenty to thirty feet of film just looking at each other. "It was these delicate love scenes, so near to real life, that tended to popularize motion pictures. “At the present stage of sound technique, where every foot of film must be crammed with talk, pro ducers are reluctant to insert t more or less static scene that, from the standpoint of dialogue alone, dies after the first ‘I love you’.’’ Miss Talmadge holds that love silent and that in real life a wordy proposal is both obsolete and lu¬ dicrous. Her second reason for believing that intimate love scenes are going is the fact, she contends, that they are already absent from many cur¬ rent productions. “Personally I think spoken lines will spoil the illusion of sweetness in a love scene as it is being han¬ dled today in sound pictures, but Mr. Lewis Milestone, who directed me in my scenes with Gilbert Ro¬ land in "New York Nights” is posi¬ tive they have the same sentimental and pictorial quality of the silent film of a few years back.’ Others who support the star are John Wray, renowned actor-play¬ wright of New York City, who plays the “heavy,” Joe, a character he made famous during the stage pres¬ entation of "Tin Pan Alley”; Lil¬ yan Tashman, a one-time Ziegfeld Follies Star, impersonates a typical Broadway chorine, naughty, but with a streak of sentimentality and fairness in her make-up. Roscoe Karns, as the song-writ¬ ing partner of Gilbert Roland, plays a drunk role throughout the picture. Mary Doran portrays a chorus girl of great beauty and few scruples. New York Nights,” under Lewis Milestone’s direction, is the first strictly musical picture yet made by United Artists. Underlying * Norma Talmadge, the star of United Artists all-talking and musi¬ cal sensation, "New York Nights,” showing at the . theatre, admits that the first time she spoke into the microphone she was fright¬ ened. Now, after it is all over, she minds it no more than ordering her breakfast. "There is something about the instrument,” she explained, "that inspires you with fear. I’ve often heard people speak of radio paral¬ ysis when they appeared for the first time in front of the microphone. "I always smiled, because I could not conceive it possible. I know bet¬ ter now. My first speech in "New York Nights,” was an easily remem¬ bered one, but the moment I be¬ came conscious that it was being recorded I forgot the lines. Time, of course, remedies every¬ thing, and 1 recovered.” "New York Nights” marks Miss Talmadge’s debut in talking pictures. Playing opposite her in a strong characterization is Gilbert Roland. Others in the cast are John V^ray, Lilyan Tashman, Roscoe Karns and Mary Doran. Norma Talmadge Amazed at Discovery of Voice It took talking pictures to bring out an unforeseen and unsuspected singing talent in Norma Talmadge. The star of United Artists "New York Nights,” a story of the Broadway songsters and music mak¬ ers running at, was called on to sing a refrain of a popular ^number in the picture. The "playback,” or specially pre¬ pared wax record designed to repro¬ duce the voice immediately after it is recorded, showed that Miss Tal¬ madge has a recording soprano of uncommon timbre and quality. Playing opposite the star, in the roJe of her indolent and generally inebriated husband, is Gilbert Rol¬ and, the romantic leading man who »L. last three successes, Camille, The Dove," and “The Woman Disputed.” Others in the cast are John Wray, Lilyan Tash- man, Roscoe Karns and Mary Doran Jules Furthman adapted the story from the stage play by Hugh Stan¬ islaus Stange. New York Nights” Story of Noisy Tin Pan Alley New York s Tin Pan Alley, which M- r Y 8 ® S th * loca,e for “ New York Nights,” starring Norma Talmadge in her talking picture debut at the Twelve dozen pillows; eighty-three dollars worth of soft drinks and food; four hundred and thirty dol¬ lars for hairdressing; almost a thou¬ sand dollars worth of special uphol¬ stering; thirteen dollars for ciga¬ rettes and twenty cents for matches are a few of the items in motion picture filming that make for the high cost of production. The above figures were garnered from one small cost page of "New York Nights," Norma Talmadge’s starring dialogue and musical picture playing at the .theatre. It is invariably the small items that upset the most carefully plan¬ ned budgets. In one of the scenes of the picture employing two hun¬ dred extras, ten cases of assorted soft drinks were purchased. It was a hot day and the scene had to be made from as many as five angles. Prompted both by the heat and the call for action, each player con¬ sumed a glass of the beverage each time a scene was rehearsed. That item assumed costly proportions at the end of the day. The twenty cents for matches shown on the cost sheet was to light the cigarettes passed promiscuously about when smoking was required. Norma Talmadge in "New York Nights," has a strong supporting cast in Gilbert Roland, John Wray, Lilyan Tashman, Roscoe Karns and Mary Doran. Wild Party Staged for Norma Talmadge Picture Filming "New York Nights” was in progress in Hollywood and a number of vaudeville artists and singers had been engaged as “at¬ mosphere” in support of Norma Tal¬ madge. "This is supposed to be a wild party,” ^said Director Lewis Mile¬ stone, "get to it.” And they did. Jerry Coe, the dancing accordio¬ nist, danced to a tune from a blues band of black blowers, and then gave his sensational eccentric dance. The tap dancing team of Rutledge and Taylor did a number, and sev¬ eral other entertainers made the party a real "hot one” to use Miss Talmadge’s expression. "New York Nights” now at the .theatre, is a lively and enter¬ taining study of the world of song writers and chorus girls. Critics have agreed that "New York Nights,” is the best all-talking picture mirror¬ ing the gay night life of Broadway. Miss Talmadge is supported by a notable cast which includes Gilbert Roland, John Wray, actor-play¬ wright, Lilyan Tashman, Roscoe Karns and Mary Doran. Theatre, was named because of the incessant din created by song writers pounding out their unfinished tunes on rented pianos. The district first was on West Twenty-eighth Street, then followed the uptown theatre trend until final ly it became entrenched in the upper forties. It has been estimated that ninety- six percent of the popular dance tunes and songs originated in the country the last fifteen years came from this one district. Tin Pan Alley is one of the most glamorous spots in New York. It liias seen the rise of such famous songsters as George M. Cohan, Irv¬ ing Berlin, AI Jolson, Harry Rich- man and others indelibly stamped into the history of American jazz music. Miss Talmadge's starring picture, directed by Lewis Milestone for United Artists, depicts the romantic phases of this famous quarter, with all its wealth of color. Supporting the star are Gilbert - , _ - Roland, who plays her leading man tense drama is a flow of lively com- again; John Wray, Lilyan Tashman, edy and musical gayety. | Roscoe Karns and Mary Doran. NORMA TALMADGE witk GILBERT ROLAND in."NEW YORK. NIGHTS" 6—One Column Scene (Mat 5c; Cut 30c) Norma Talmadge Combines Fun and Drama in Newest Norma Talmadge, star of United Artists “New York Nights” soon opening at the .theatre... believes that the ultimate in screen entertainment is achieved through a combination of colorful melodrama with generous proportions of humor and good photography. With its background of kaleido¬ scopic movement and sympathetic mirroring of New York’s gay home of song and dance, "New York Nights” is destined to prove one of the greatest pieces of entertainment since the advent of talking pictures. Director Lewis Milestone, who re¬ cently received formal recognition as director of the best straight com¬ edy films, has outdone himself in injecting his infectious bits of humor in the picture, which has a cast in¬ cluding Gilbert Roland, John Wray, actor-playwright, Lilyan Tashman. Roscoe Karns and Mary Doran.