Eddie Cantor: Kid Boots
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(Mar 13, 2007)
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Speaking of which, there are another hour of priceless shorts on this DVD besides KID BOOTS. They include a 1929 sound short, filmed at Astoria Studios on Long Island, showing us Cantor's blackface song and joke routine as done on the New Amsterdam Theatre roof at midnight. This is the only print in existence and was just recently found in a New Jersey garage. We also get a 1924 Lee deForest Phonofilm sound short with Eddie doing his Ziegfeld routine, without the blackface. We get a few jokes and a couple of songs in a truly nostalgic short.
The whole DVD is a must-own curio for Eddie Cantor and Florenz Ziegfeld fans, and it includes regular mail and e-mail addresses for the Eddie Cantor Appreciation Society. A certain older audience will truly cherish this precious Jazz Age DVD. You know who you are.
EXTRAS! The 1924 Lee deForest Phonofilm A FEW MOMENTS WITH EDDIE CANTOR. This is old Banjo Eyes performing a short sample of his vaudeville act and singing two songs!
A ZIEGFELD MIDNIGHT FROLIC (1928) is an extremely rare short that features Cantor in blackface simulating what he did on the rooftop of the New Amsterdam. Here you get three songs from his Victor period!
PHOTO GALLERY! Hear Cantor impersonator, Rick Rogers, recall (in Cantor's own words!) the making of KID BOOTS while looking at rare stills.
Through all of this, to me and to most of his fans, silent film would have appeared only a way to cash in on his popularity by showing him do a dance or two, perhaps gesture his way through a dialogue involving broad gestures by both performers in a Weber and Fields type of set-up.
Imagine my surprise at seeing this comedy, the first of the "kid" films (Kid from Spain, Kid Millions, etc.) and the only silent one to the best of my knowledge. Imagine my even greater surprise to find it so good as to warrant inclusion in the usual Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd, etc., selections which mark the nostalgia comedy film assemblage. His actions mesh smoothly with the written gag lines and, he appears quite at ease, without the stiffness that often marked the first appearances of live performers in film (note the stiffness of his "buddy" in the film, Lawrence Gray, which is typical.
As others have pointed out, Clara Bow is fine, while the other "girls" fit their roles quite well.Read more ›
Times were pretty different back in those days, this is a very interesting window to the past-- and I got quite a few chuckles out of Kid Boots. Wish they would release Whoopee and Palmy Days-- Cantor was an interesting guy and there doesn't appear to be much of him available. I'm not sure what the point of his doing Midnight Frolic in blackface was, as none of the routines or songs seemed to be connected with it in any way-- no doubt a historical oddity that now seems just bizarre, along with some of the jokes in the Phonofilm segment which would probably not be received favorably in todays world. A nice little curio of bygone days...
After writing this review I got around to reading his autobiography. Turns out, blackface came about in a time where acting along with the rest of society was segregated. Black actors were not allowed to appear on stage with white actors. But there were characters in the plays of the time that were black, for example, waiters and bellboys. So, white characters were "made up" to be black. Cantor cut his acting teeth on some of these parts, and tried to make the most of them in order to get more on-stage time. He was entertaining at it, and consequently became known as a blackface comic in the early days. Later in his career, he had established a carefully designed comedy repertoire which did not include blackface, but at one gig was told that he could come back next week providing he had different material because many of the same patrons would be attending.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What fun to romp through a really funny silent movie and then be treated to the bonuses.Published on December 28, 2008 by Janet Gari
This DVD actually contains an abundance of extras for the price. First, of course, is the 1926 silent film starring Eddie Cantor in the title role and costarring Clara Bow. Read morePublished on November 6, 2008 by calvinnme