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Edwin J. Burke
'Rainbow Girls' has just opened and closed on Broadway when Dixie, a actress in it, runs into smooth talking Hollywood Director Frank Buelow. He tells her she would be a natural, promises her a movie contract, and so she goes to Hollywood, but there is no contract for her. She meets Donny, a washed-up veteran actress (Blanche Sweet), on the lot who becomes her friend. Frank is fired from his studio and the new director finds that Frank's storyline is actually a copy of 'Rainbow Girls' stage play from Broadway. They call Jimmy, the author and Dixie's boyfriend, for the rights and he goes to Hollywood to produce it as a movie. Dixie gets the lead. But things start going wrong when Dizzy Dixie, spurred on by the fired Director Buelow, thinks that she is better than the picture or the studio and starts making demands. Interesting note: Good look at early Hollywood, with cameos by Loretta Young, Walter Pigeon, Noah Beery and a young Noah Beery, Jr. make the film fun to watch Written by
Tony Fontana <firstname.lastname@example.org> email@example.com
"Show Girl in Hollywood," from a novel by satirist J.P. McEvoy, follows the titular showgirl, Dixie Dugan (Alice White), from understudy in a Broadway flop ("Rainbow Girl") to lead in the Hollywood movie version. John Miljan is effective as the unscrupulous film director who has seen the flop several times (in order to steal its plot) and invites Dugan to his studio where he tries but fails to put the make on her. Blanche Sweet makes a memorable appearance as an older star, forgotten by age 32, who befriends Dixie. In the middle of a conversation about the fleeting nature of fame, she breaks or, more accurately, segues into song ("For Every Smile There's a Tear in Hollywood"). There is something brazen and bizarre about this moment when the film suddenly switches gears and Sweet half sings and half speaks the mournful lyric.
Later, we get to see a full scale production number ("I've Got My Eye on You") not only from the usual angles but also from the perspective of the camera operators (behind glass screens to drown the whirring camera motors), the sound recordists, the live orchestra and even the performers themselves, with the arc lights and footlights glaring into their/our faces. Before the finale, we are treated to the arrival of top Hollywood stars to the premiere of the fictional film within a film: Al Jolson and Ruby Keeler and a 17-year-old Loretta Young among them. The finale itself, the rousing and catchy "Hang on to a Rainbow," was shot in Technicolor, to judge by the unusually fuzzy quality of the surviving black-and-white version of the scene. It must have been quite something, with rows of chorus members in elaborate feathery costumes which must have been multicolored and the star appearing at the last moments in a sensational spiked headdress festooned with five-pointed stars.
Alice White is saucy and photogenic and moves very well (according to IMDb her singing is dubbed) but has a tongue-in-cheek way of speaking which occasionally works but is just as often inappropriate to the situation. The witlessness of much of the dialogue also hampers her, as she is called upon to deliver too many thudding lines. In almost every scene she wears a cloche hat from the front of which a curlicue of her blonde hair protrudes. A bit much!
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