Wonder Bar : Bizarre film hard to find

Bizarre film hard to find

I am looking for this old pi movie because some incredible scenes from it were used in Dianne Keaton's Heaven, and they have to be seen to be believed. Anyone know what I'm talking about? Anyone know a source for this movie? Thanks.

"There are three sides to every story: yours, mine, and the truth." ~ Robert Evans

Re: Bizarre film hard to find

I haven't seen the Diane Keaton movie, but "Wonder Bar" is on TCM tonight at 2:45am.

Re: Bizarre film hard to find

Wow, I missed it -- but it's encouraging that it is playing at all. Maybe I should check Turner Classics for it. Thanks for the heads up.

"There are three sides to every story: yours, mine, and the truth." ~ Robert Evans

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Re: Bizarre film hard to find

The (in)famous "Going to Heaven on a Mule" musical number is available on YouTube...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uz0gSJTHwD0

Re: Bizarre film hard to find

Thanks for the link. People who won't sit through the movie will be blown away by this.

"There are three sides to every story: yours, mine, and the truth." ~ Robert Evans

Re: Bizarre film hard to find

The "Going to Heaven on a Mule" number is truly jaw-dropping. Even in 1934, this sort of thing was getting to be a bit objectionable. It's as if the creators of this picture decided to take every "happy darkie" cliché from the declining years of vaudeville and the blackface minstrel tradition, and give them all one huge, overblown, over-produced sendoff.

I'm pretty sure the only actual black person in this number is the little girl Jolson is singing to at the beginning. She must have been thinking, "Now, that is one funny-looking colored man!"



All the universe . . . or nothingness. Which shall it be, Passworthy? Which shall it be?

Re: Bizarre film hard to find

We just watched it again, on July 4, with a friend who had never seen it. He's still too stunned to speak.

"There are three sides to every story: yours, mine, and the truth." ~ Robert Evans

Re: Bizarre film hard to find

The kindest thing one can say is that Al Jolson - who was of course Jewish (note the shot of him reading a Yiddish newspaper and winking at the camera in the middle of the "Mule" clip) - seems to have been something of a civil-rights campaigner in the entertainment industry.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_jolson#Performing_in_blackface

Some showbiz historians have seen his blackface routines as a Jewish man's attempt (ok, a rather hamfisted attempt by today's standards) to empathise with the culture of another oppressed minority. For example, the "Hi-De-Ho" refrain during "Mule" is an obvious nod to Jolson's friend Cab Calloway ("Minnie the Moocher").

Re: Bizarre film hard to find

Well, it's finally out, on the Warner Archive Collection - that bare bones collection of titles with no menus, no extras, no featurettes, nothin' but the movie.

So, it's out, in all its bizarre glory.

This is a very strange film.

Re: Bizarre film hard to find

Thanks for posting that. I've ordered mine.

"There are three sides to every story: yours, mine, and the truth." ~ Robert Evans

Re: Bizarre film hard to find

So did you order it, and how was it? That clip is positively jaw-dropping. They don't make 'em like that anymore, and with good reason!

I saw your posts on the "Heaven" board and was curious about the clips presented in that film. These are bizarre pieces of Americana that need to be preserved, lest we forget our past.
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