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George B. Seitz
Edna May Oliver,
Actress Judy Carroll, from the gas-house district has been trained, educated and developed so well by her manager, that not even the publicity-seeking world of the theater has guessed her antecedents. But she has not loved well or wisely as she learns when she tries to adopt a baby. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
RKO bought the rights of the play from Gloria Swanson. Director George Fitzmaurice was borrowed from MGM and Phillips Holmes (in the role later played by Joel McCrea) from Paramount. The finished film was considered so bad that George Cukor was summoned by Selznick to direct two weeks of retakes, with McCrea taking over Holmes'role. See more »
Gorgeous Constance Bennett was a major star of the early 30s and gave several excellent performances (What Price Hollywood? and others) yet she never won an Oscar nomination. She specialized in playing suffering women (as did Kay Francis) in women's picturesnever the kinds of roles that won big awards. In Rockabye, Bennett plays a stage actress who is implicated in a sleazy affair (with Walter Pigeon) where money was involved. In a terrific court- room scene, Bennett blurts out that the baby she is adopting is not Pigeon's child, which is what the prosecutor was trying to establish. Although she tells the truth the newspapers splash nasty headlines about her and the adopted baby is taken away. She flees to Europe where she finds a new play to do on Broadway. She gets involved with the playwright (Joel McCrea) and returns to Broadway in triumph. But that's not the ending.
This briskly paced film is a terrific little pre-Code drama that boasts a wonderful performance by Bennett. McCrea is also very good. Paul Lukas is OK as the love-struck manager. Walter Pigeon has a small role in the opening scenes. Jobyna Howland is a hoot as Bennett's mother. Clara Blandick is the housekeeper, Charles Middleton is the prosecutor, Virginia Hammond is McCrea's mother, Walter Catlett is a barfly, and Sterling Holloway is the night clubber who keeps asking for "Poor Butterfly." And little June Filmer is wonderful as the baby.
Bennett has a few excellent dramatic scenes, gets to sing a jazz number, and then there are all those balloons!
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