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As soon as movies learned to talk they began to sing In 1926 Warner Brothers released the short film April Showers with Al Jolson singing a trio of songs Jolson then starred in two silent features that included sound sequences in which he sang and spoke The Jazz Singer 1927 and The Singing Fool 1928 By 1929 the first all-talking all-singing all-dancing musical was released Broadway Melody with a score by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown Produced by MGM the studio that would dominate the genre this backstage musical set a pattern by introducing the formula of an understudy becoming a star when she replaces the ailing lead Several directors of early musicals were remarkably inventive at integrating sound and music into their narratives King Vidor in his look at black life in the South Hallelujah 1929 Ernst Lubitsch and his sophisticated comic musicals The Love Parade 1929 and Monte Carlo 1930 both starring Jeanette MacDonald Frances Ren Clair with his delightful satires of contemporary life Sous Les Toits De Paris 1930 Le Million 1931 and Nous La Libert 1931 and Rouben Mamoulian and his Lubitsch-inspired Love Me Tonight 1932 also starring Jeanette MacDonald Other musicals of the period were more theatrical in nature from outright revues MGMs Hollywood Revue of 1929 1929 Universals King Of Jazz 1930 Paramount On Parade 1930 to star vehicles such as Al Jolson in Say It With Songs 1929 and Mammy 1930 and Eddie Cantor in Whoopee 1930 and Palmy Days 1931 Those Cantor films introduced choreographer Busby Berkeley In the early 30s with the mighty technical resources of Warner Brothers at his disposal he staged extravagant purely cinematic production numbers with hordes of precision dancers often filmed from unusual angles for breathtaking kaleidoscopic effects As comfortable with elaborate long takes as he was with rapid editing always ready to introduce strains of humor or sexual innuendo Berkeley permanently transformed the notion of what a musical could
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