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George B. Seitz
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A vaudeville star has to leave her daughter with her dead husband's stuffy Boston parents while she makes a living. But when the daughter shows some talent, the mother become a stage mother and pushes her daughter into becoming a Broadway star. The mother is a monster with a heart of gold, and after breaking up the daughter's love affair, finally sees the error of her ways. Written by
If you find yourself humming the songs from Gypsy after seeing this film you can't help it. What Alice Brady does with the title role in Stage Mother makes what Ethel Merman did on stage and Rosalind Russell on the big screen as Mama Rose would make Mama blush.
Left with a baby daughter to raise after her husband is killed during a performance of their high wire act, Brady takes the little girl to her in-laws in Boston where they still frowned on associating with the theatrical profession. She can't provide so for a while she leaves the girl with the in-laws and takes up with fellow performer Ted Healy.
But eventually Brady quits the stage for the business end of show business working for a booking agent. And when she discovers that her daughter who grows up to be Maureen O'Sullivan and has talent, watch out world.
Watching this film all I thought of was how unfortunate Gypsy wasn't written two generations earlier. What Brady could have done with Mama Rose.
Sad to say that the film is spoiled by a really bad ending which I won't reveal. Look for good performances by Franchot Tone and Phillips Holmes as a pair of callow youths O'Sullivan takes up with. Holmes comes with a title as well. Also if you look quick you'll see Larry Fine of the Three Stooges in a small part.
Snappy before the Code dialog and a great performance by Brady are wasted in an unreal climax.
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