Casey and Babe are sisters who work in a department store and each year the store puts on a show. As expected, things are going wrong with every act until Casey comes out to help Babe with ... See full summary »



(story), (dialogue) | 3 more credits »


Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Musical | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

When Jack and Jerry are not playing professional baseball with the Blue Sox, they are packing them in on the Vaudeville circuit. Jack is engaged to Mary, but a gold digger named Daisy has ... See full summary »

Directors: Jack Conway, Sam Wood
Stars: Joe Schenck, Gus Van, Bessie Love
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A brash, pushy young man gets a job in a bank and sets his cap for his boss's secretary, but the death of his father makes him reassess his priorities.

Director: Sam Wood
Stars: William Haines, Leila Hyams, Polly Moran
Certificate: Passed Musical | Romance | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A tunesmith, a user and an out-and-out heel, puts the stories of his broken romances into song, turning old love letters into lyrics, and capitalizing on the death of his best friend to ... See full summary »

Directors: Harry Beaumont, William Nigh
Stars: Charles Kaley, Ethelind Terry, Marion Shilling
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Fingers is planning a half-million-dollar bank robbery in gang boss Cobra Collins' territory. Fingers' moll Connie tries to bluff Cobra into thinking the hit won't be for another week when the call comes through saying it's now.

Director: Tod Browning
Stars: Mary Nolan, Edward G. Robinson, Owen Moore
Certificate: Passed Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Director: Alan Crosland
Stars: Arthur Lake, Betty Compson, Joe E. Brown
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A rebellious young man with a troubled past comes to a new town, finding friends and enemies.

Director: Nicholas Ray
Stars: James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo


Complete credited cast:
Rosetta Duncan ...
Vivian Duncan ...
Babe Hogan
Lawrence Gray ...
Jimmy Dean
Jed Prouty ...
Mr. David Parker
Benny Friedman


Casey and Babe are sisters who work in a department store and each year the store puts on a show. As expected, things are going wrong with every act until Casey comes out to help Babe with her song. They are a hit, but in the final act, Casey again comes out and this time the president sees her act and fires both her and Babe on the spot. Benny is able to book Casey, Babe and Dean into Vaudeville and their act is popular. But before they have their shot at stardom, Dean and Babe leave Casey and the act. Written by Tony Fontana <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

6 December 1929 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cotton and Silk  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



| (2-strip Technicolor) (two sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Trade paper ads announced this film under the title of "Cotton and Silk." See more »


When the man upstairs says he'll call police, the audio doesn't match the movement of his mouth. See more »


[first lines]
Babe Hogan: Did you get the pocket book?
Casey Hogan: Yeah! Come on, let's beat it!
See more »


Edited into Hello Pop (1933) See more »


Hoosier Hop
Music by Dave Dreyer
Lyrics by Ballard MacDonald
Copyright 1929 by Irving Berlin Inc.
Performed by Rosetta Duncan and Vivian Duncan
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

The Two and Only Duncan Sisters
3 February 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

IT'S A GREAT LIFE is a one-of-a-kind comedy-musical-melodrama starring the legendary The Duncan Sisters, one of the few vaudeville headlining acts to be given a chance at major film stardom. MGM appears to have spared no expense at attempting to showcase the Duncans to best advantage and while the end result unfortunately did not result in screen stardom for the gals (the Duncans never again appeared in a feature film although they would make a musical two-reeler and several appearances as themselves in short films over the next decade) they are utterly charming though surely more than a little eccentric to modern viewers.

Sisters Casey (Rosetta Duncan) and Babe Hogan (Vivian Duncan) work at a major department store. Babe is sweet on the store's pianist for the sheet music department, James Dean (!!!) (played by Lawrence Gray). For reasons never quite clear, Casey hates him with a passion and constantly makes him the butt of her humor. Ill-humored Casey is a sarcastic cutup and ultimately her mockery of the store's "theme song" during a store musical production ends up getting all of the trio fired. Fortunately, a pal of Jimmy's, a talent agent, has seen the act and launches them on a successful career as vaudeville performers but the fighting between Casey and Jimmy only escalates and when Babe and Casey sneak off and get married, an infuriated Casey breaks up the act leading all of them down the path of failure.

Rosetta Duncan is a riot as the sassy older sister, she's a fantastic comedienne and her mocking, disrespectful humor seems astonishingly contemporary today even while the movie itself creaks like many early talkies. She also is a delight with a comic song. The talents of the (considerably) prettier Vivian Duncan are more modest although she is an endearing presence and sings lovely harmony with her sister. The sisters, both into their thirties at the time, are quite effective as their "little girl" personas in several song numbers as they no doubt were even more so on the stage at the time.

The movie seems a bit long with it's slender plot and small speaking cast and the turn toward melodrama was at least for modern audiences was a mistake, but the movie has still has much to recommend it with it's vivid glimpse at 1920's New York, a "flapper" fashion show, appealing two-strip Technicolor sequences, quite good songs and numbers and above all the two and only Duncan Sisters. As Babe Hogan would put it, this movie is quite "sweet".

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss It's a Great Life (1929) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: