The Broadway Melody of 1929 won the Oscar for best picture. The highest-grossing film of the year, it was the first all-talk musical, and MGM’s first musical, period. It contained a groundbreaking Technicolor sequence.
Even if you’re not a cinephile, the film’s a great, pre-Code watch. While the acting is certainly dated, and the story somewhat melodramatic and lurid—it centers around a sister-act love triangle—it’s an emotionally and visually satisfying spectacle.
Broadway Melody introduced the standards “Broadway Melody” and “You Were Meant for Me,” both later used in Singin’ in the Rain. But for some of us, the sound track has but one raison d’etre: “The Wedding of the Painted Doll.”
I am not a woman who ever dreamed about her wedding day. I didn’t know what I’d wear or what sort of cake I wanted. But this much I did know: whomever I married, whatever else was forced upon me, by God, “The Wedding of the Painted Doll” would play. (Similarly: when I die, please have someone perform the Munchkin Coroner’s solo from The Wizard of Oz; to everything else I am indifferent.) I liked, of course, that it involved a doll; I liked that it was kind of creepy. Having given up on getting my friends to enact the entire barn-raising dance from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, I didn’t think hearing this song was too much to ask.
And indeed, this is precisely what was enacted at City Hall on July 24th: I mean, sort of. In my head.
Sadie Stein is contributing editor of The Paris Review, and the Daily’s correspondent.
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