For the second episode of the new series Best Pictures From The Outside In, Nick, Goatdog and I took a look at a dancing sister act in New York (Broadway Melody, 1929) and those mirrored brother moles in Boston (The Departed, 2006). Though this is an absurd pairing from either end of Oscar's timeline, there are a couple of similar features. Both movies are big on technique: Broadway Melody advertised itself as "All Talking! All Singing! All Dancing!" arriving as it did during the death rattle of the late silents (which were hugely superior to the early sound films); The Departed has Martin Scorsese, a showman who loves freeze frames, iris fades and any manner of cinematic tricks.
For those of you unfamiliar with Broadway Melody it's the story of The Mahoney Sisters, Hank (Oscar nominated Bessie Love) and Queenie (Anita Page), a regionally successful vaudeville act trying to make it in the Big Apple. It's very much of its time. The sisters join the "Zanfield" Revue and Queenie has to fight off the advances of movie mogul "Jacques Warriner", so I think you know already (if you know anything about showbiz history) that it was a contemporary inside-showbiz thing. It probably resonated with them back then and the idea of sound pictures was still fresh and super-exciting.
Our first Best Picture match-up (Wings and No Country) had wondrous parallels and both movies were top grade. This time out, it's a massacre. The Departed is a great movie. Broadway Melody is ... not.
Read the entire lively discussion @ Goatdog's blog