The Alice Faye Collection Volume 2 five DVD set from Fox features movies with a focus on entertainment history. Hollywood Cavalcade brilliantly tells the story of the early days of Hollywood from the silent era to the talkies. It is also a good drama period about a young actress, Alice Faye, who meets a wheeler and dealer, Don Ameche, who talks their way into success as star and director.
In Hollywood Cavalcade Alice Faye plays Molly Adair who is talked into going to Hollywood by prop boy Mike Connors (Don Ameche of The Bickersons). Adair and Connors are a great match but Connors does not see they would also be a great romantic match. When it is too late, Connors has a snit fit, fires Adair, and tries to continue making movies without his greatest star.
As good a drama as a behind the scenes film, Hollywood Cavalcade knowingly and respectfully pays homage to Hollywood history, including silent film stars like Buster Keaton, Ben Turpin, the Keystone Cops, Jed Prouty, Al Jolson, Snub Pollard, Mack Sennett, and even Rin Tin Tin (Jr. and his owner / trainer). There is even a subtle nod to Roscoe Fatty Arbuckle.
The booklet that comes with The Alice Faye Collection Volume 2 DVD set briefly mentions how Hollywood Cavalcade became Darryl Zanuck’s pet project. He liked the history of the movies aspect of this film so much he scrapped a bunch of Alice Faye’s song and dance number and had it retooled to be more faithful to the story it was telling.
J, Edward Bromberg is great as Connors’ long time pal Dave Spingold.
Hollywood Cavalcade has been lovingly restored and looks great. Technicolor itself does not translate that well anymore, making the films look colorized.
If ever there was a movie that could have benefitted from an audio commentary track from a film historian, Hollywood Cavalcade is it. Unfortunately, it does not have one. The booklet that comes with this Alice Faye DVD box set does have some interesting information.
The other DVDs in The Alice Faye Collection Volume 2 include other movies about entertainment history: Four Jills In A Jeep, about the USO in WWII, The Great American Broadcast, about the golden age of radio. The two others are The Rose of Washington Square, and Hello Frisco, Hello.