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Roy Del Ruth
Sylvia is the French teacher at Briarcroft's School for Girls, but she wants to find romance. When she hears Bill on the radio, she decides to leave and thank him. But he is on his way to Hollywood with Lili to make a movie. When Sylvia gets to Hollywood, she finds that seeing Bill again is almost impossible, but she gets a job in the chorus. Then when Lili quits the picture, Sylvia is tapped to play her character. But the part she wants is with Bill, a part that Lili seems to have. Written by
Tony Fontana <email@example.com>
Bill 'Billy' Williams:
Out where they say, "Let us be gay," I'm goin' Hollywood. I'll ballyhoo greetings to you, I'm goin' Hollywood. Hey, while you sleepyheads are in that hay, I'll be dancing - I'm gonna be dancing with a sun-kissed baby. And I'm on my way - here's my beret, I'm going Hollywood!
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When she discovers that the crooner she adores is GOING HOLLYWOOD, a liberated school teacher dogs his steps all the way to the Studio sound stages.
Marion Davies tries her hardest to entertain in this tinsel town spoof, but neither the script (based on a story by the celebrated Frances Marion) nor the direction give her much leeway. Raoul Walsh seems a curious choice to direct this kind of film, but he must have had William Randolph Hearst's approval or he never would have been given the assignment. The trouble is that Marion has little chance to be anything other than sweet & pleasant - when finally given the opportunity to do a wicked spoof of co-star Fifi D'Orsay, she's terrific. Unfortunately, moments like that come all too rarely.
Leading man Bing Crosby comes off rather better, showing the casual charm that would make him a huge star. And he gets to sing some fine tunes by Nacio Herb Brown & Arthur Freed, including the classic Temptation' and the fun We'll Make Hay While The Sun Shines.' Although his character is a bit of a cad, Bing never fails to deliver the goods to the audience.
A troika of character performers add sparkle to the proceedings: earnest Stuart Erwin as a film producer; caustic Ned Sparks as a dictatorial director; and tomboy Patsy Kelly as a plain-talking gal trying to break into the movies.
Movie mavens will spot Clara Blandick & Nora Cecil as two of the ossified instructors at the girls' school, and Sterling Holloway as a recording mike technician - all uncredited.
Oddly, this film about the Hollywood movie business takes time out to poke fun at contemporary radio stars. Mimic singers & impressionists, The Radio Rogues will provide a smile to viewers with very long memories.
Time has not dealt kindly with Marion Davies. Almost forgotten today, when remembered at all it is usually as a sort of footnote to history or object of scandal. Her life certainly was colorful, and as chatelaine of America's most amazing private estate she did circulate amidst powerful circles. But to remember her as only the bimbo blonde mistress of the country's mightiest media baron is patently unfair.
While much of the blame can go to Orson Welles' spoof of Davies in CITIZEN KANE (which he was to admit he regretted towards the end of his life) it must be stated emphatically that Marion was not a no-talent actress with few friends & even fewer brains, whose career was destroyed by her stammer, leaving her to spend lonely years in great, hulking empty castles.
In reality, Davies was a bright, vivacious lady who charmed & captivated such diverse guests as George Bernard Shaw & Winston Churchill throughout her 33-year liaison with Hearst. Adored by her friends and a fierce cadre of fans, Davies was renowned for her tireless generosity and charitable good works. Her speech impediment never affected her screen acting and her undeniable talent was evident to any who were willing to assess her performances honesty and look past the scandal.
Davies had to have been embarrassed by the Hearst empire's relentless pushing of her career. She knew this left her open to ridicule & mockery, doubtless contributing to her scarcely concealed alcoholism. But she eventually relinquished her film pursuits in order to care for the aging Hearst, and after his death in 1951 she showed herself to be an astute businesswoman during the remaining ten years of her life.
It is only now, with the passage of much time & the restoration of her old movies, that it is becoming easier to acknowledge the contributions & cinematic expertise of Miss Marion Davies.
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