“It’s Hear!” the ads wittily declared, announcing yet another first from Warner Bros.
Following up on the feature-with-synchronized-music Don Juan and the part-talkie feature The Jazz Singer, Warner Bros. pushed its Vitaphone sound-on-disc process to the apex—an all-talkie feature. This brisk crime saga tells “a story that might have been torn out of last night’s newspaper,” an approach that would shortly become the studio’s signature style. Small-town yokels Eddie (Cullen Landis) and Gene (Eugene Pallette) get suckered by a pair of bootleggers into buying a Manhattan barbershop that is really a speakeasy. While Eddie reconnects with his hometown honey-turned-chorus girl Kitty (Helene Costello), the boys get framed by a gangster who has the hots for Kitty. Despite its basic plot, this technological breakthrough went on to become a box-office smash, hastening the demise of silent cinema.