Sally was an orphan who got her name from the telephone exchange where she was abandoned as a baby. In the orphanage, she discovered the joy of dancing and has been practicing since. ... See full summary »
John Francis Dillon
Joe E. Brown
Ruby falls in love with small-time con man Eddie. During a botched blackmail scheme, Eddie accidentally kills the man they were setting up. Eddie takes off and Ruby is sent to a reformatory for two years.
In 1917 Lt. Bill Gordon is headed for France when he meets and becomes friendly with Joel Carter, niece of the Asst. Secretary of War. Finding out that he is an expert on codes, she gets ... See full summary »
William K. Howard,
Molly and Bee, sweet young 'working girls,' live in a cheap room over a New York grocery store. Molly's idol, wealthy Jack Cromwell, lives in a Long Island mansion but is markedly less ... See full summary »
Ayoung kid from Upstate New York named Eddie (Landis) is conned into fronting for a speakeasy on Broadway. Throughout the con there is an inevitable chorus-girl with a heart of gold (... See full summary »
Lila Beaumont is an understudy in a Broadway musical. Her boyfriend, George Shelby, arrives in New York hoping to take Lila back home with him to marry. George buys a majority interest in ... See full summary »
A true backstage musical (like MURDER AT THE VANITIES) that weaves the onstage and backstage action into one plot. ON WITH THE SHOW is a tad creaky but bad sound and hammy performances aside it was a total pleasure.
A fascinating look at what 20s musicals were really like: the stage crammed with performers, long numbers, reprises of the main tunes, etc. The show within a show, THE PHANTOM SWEETHEART is a loony plantation musical that looks like a cheap rip-off of SHOW BOAT but that's of little consequence since the "real story" occurs backstage. It's a plot we've seen before and seemingly borrows from every contemporary musical yo ever saw.
But several of the performers are total standouts. Betty Compson plays the temperamental star but has little to do until the last section of the film. She has a great face, a good voice, and for some reason is a fave of mine. She's a good old "broad" with a heart of gold and is excellent in her final scenes. Joe E. Brown is also very good, although I think his eccentric dance was repeated in BRIGHT LIGHTS a few years later. Both have star quality.
Louise Fazenda has an odd role (she laughs) but is always likable. Ethel Waters is terrific singing "Am I Blue?" and "Birmingham Bertha" but is not involved in the backstage plot.
The rest of the cast doesn't come off so well. Arthur Lake is the juvenile lead, William Bakewell and Sally O'Neill are the "innocents," Sam Hardy is the producer, Wheeler Oakman is the nefarious Mr. Wallace, Lee Moran (related to Ray Bolger?) is the stage manager, and the Fairbanks Twins dance and cause trouble.
Compson has a great entrance line when heading onstage someone says something like "there's Nita French!" She turns and says, "In the flesh, baby, in the flesh!" while clutching her shear robe around her......
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