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Lord Byron of Broadway

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lord Byron of Broadway
Lord Byron of Broadway (1930) Poster.jpg
Directed byHarry Beaumont
William Nigh
Written byNell Martin (novel)
Crane Wilbur
StarringCharles Kaley
Ethelind Terry
Marion Shilling
Clifton Edwards
CinematographyHenry Sharp
Edited byAnne Bauchens
Music bySongs::
Nacio Herb Brown (music)
Arthur Freed (lyrics)
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
February 28, 1930 (1930-02-28)
Running time
77 minutes
CountryUnited States

Lord Byron of Broadway (1930), also known as What Price Melody?, is an American Pre-Code musical drama film, directed by Harry Beaumont and William Nigh. It was based on a best selling book by Nell Martin, which "was widely praised by critics as an extremely true and amusing romance of stage life."[1] It was filmed in black and white with two-color Technicolor sequences.


Starting and ending relationships gives a composer (Charles Kaley) ideas for songs, until he meets and marries a woman Marion Shilling.



Charles Kaley recorded two of the songs for Brunswick Records (Record Number 4718). These songs were "Should I" and "A Bundle of Love Letters". Both of these songs proved to be major song hits in late 1929 and early 1930 and were recorded by numerous artists. For example, James Melton and Lewis James recorded vocal versions of "A Bundle of Love Letters" while Frank Munn recorded "Should I".

  • "A Bundle of Love Letters"
Music by Nacio Herb Brown
Lyrics Arthur Freed
Played on piano by Marion Shilling and sung by Charles Kaley
Played on piano by Marion Shilling and sung by Cliff Edwards and Charles Kaley in a vaudeville show
Music Richard A. Whiting
Lyrics by Ray Egan
Sung by Cliff Edwards in his vaudeville show
  • "The Doll Dance"
Music by Nacio Herb Brown
Lyrics Arthur Freed
Danced to by Rita Flynn and Hazel Craven in a vaudeville show
  • "Blue Daughter of Heaven"
Music by Dimitri Tiomkin
Lyrics by Ray Egan
Sung offscreen by James Burroughs and danced to by Albertina Rasch Ballet\
  • "Should I?"
Music by Nacio Herb Brown
Lyrics Arthur Freed
Sung by Charles Kaley at a nightclub
Reprised by Ethelind Terry at a recording studio
Played at the end
  • "The Woman in the Shoe"
Music by Nacio Herb Brown
Lyrics Arthur Freed
Sung by Ethelind Terry, an offscreen male singer and the chorus in a show
Danced to by the chorus
Reprised by male trio
  • "Old Pal, Why Did You Leave Me?"
Music by Nacio Herb Brown
Lyrics Arthur Freed
Played on piano and sung by Charles Kaley and Benny Rubin
  • "Only Love Is Real"
Music by Nacio Herb Brown
Lyrics Arthur Freed
Played on piano by Marion Shilling on radio and sung by an unidentified male singer
Reprised by Ethelind Terry on radio
  • "You're the Bride and I'm the Groom"
Music by Nacio Herb Brown
Lyrics Arthur Freed
Played on piano and sung by Charles Kaley
  • "Love Ain't Nothin' But the Blues"
(From "Chasing Rainbows (1930)")
Music by Louis Alter
Lyrics by Joe Goodwin
Played instrumentally


In 1928, MGM announced it was going to turn the novel Lord Byron of Broadway by Nell Martin into a musical starring stars William Haines and Bessie Love. However, as they both had mediocre singing voices, they were replaced by Charles Kaley, star of Earl Carroll's Vanities and Ethelind Terry, star of Florenz Ziegfeld's Rio Rita. At that time, Kaley and Terry were well-known stage stars.[2] MGM used the "Woman in the Shoe" musical segment in two short films, Nertsery Rhymes (1933) and Roast Beef and Movies (1934).

Critical response

The expensive film received mixed reviews, mainly due to the lackluster direction of William Nigh and Harry Beaumont. Its Technicolor sequences and musical score, however, were universally praised.[3] "The story's strong enough to be festooned with Technicolored girls, ballets, songs and effects without breaking down," said Photoplay "You'll like this."[4]

Sheet music sales and sales of phonograph records with songs from the film were brisk. "Should I" and "A Bundle of Old Love Letters" proved to be among the most popular song hits of the year 1930.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ The Southeast Missourian, July 19, 1930.
  2. ^ The Sunday Morning Star, April 6, 1930.
  3. ^ The Sydney Morning Herald, May 12, 1930.
  4. ^ Kreuger, Miles ed. The Movie Musical from Vitaphone to 42nd Street as Reported in a Great Fan Magazine (New York: Dover Publications) pg. 162; ISBN 0-486-23154-2

External links

This page was last edited on 12 April 2021, at 14:43
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