Hollywood Cavalcade (1939)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Slapstick  |   Release Date - Oct 13, 1939 (USA)  |   Run Time - 100 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Hollywood Cavalcade is overall a fine piece of entertainment, but it would probably rate even higher had it ended about halfway through. Granted, slicing Cavalcade in half would have seriously affected its dramatic trajectory, but the truth of the matter is that the first half of the film is much better than the second half. This is largely because the first portion is concerned with capturing Hollywood during the silent era, when filmmaking was in its infancy and no one knew what they were really doing. They were making up the rules as they went along, and Cavalcade does a fine job of capturing that joyous spirit. It also provides opportunity for some of the silent era's finest comic talent, including Buster Keaton, Mack Sennett, Chester Conklin and Ben Turpin, to make appearances and demonstrate their special magic. The gags they pursue may be old, but the talent is as fresh as ever, and there is genuine sparkle to these sequences. Unfortunately, the second half deals less with Hollywood than with the clich├ęd and predictable love triangle that has sprung up among the leading players of Cavalcade. This story isn't necessarily bad; it just isn't very good, and it drags the second half of the film down a bit. Don Ameche, Alice Faye and Alan Curtis do everything they can -- which is saying a lot -- but one still finishes the film remembering how much more fun it was before it started concentrating so much on the story.