Dying Evelyn Dow anguishes over her lost daughter, who disappeared as a child. Evelyn's husband Henry, hoping to make his wife's final days more bearable, asks waitress Sally Gates to pose as the daughter. Sally does so, but Mrs. Dow is so cheered by her "daughter's" return that she regains her health, leaving Sally stuck in her role. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
Whenever Sally Eilers was given a chance - be it with a lead or a good supporting part, she more than rose to the occasion - but she wasn't given many chances. She was given the lead in "Bad Girl" and was sensational - both she and James Dunn catapulted to stardom. But when the reviews came back, giving praise to both, Fox was more interested in furthering Dunn's career and Sally was given any old part. In 1935 she decided to freelance and with "Alias Mary Dow" she showed Fox what an actress they had missed out on. "Alias Mary Dow" may have been only a Universal programmer but Sally was given a role that placed her centre stage, where she could bring forth all the emotions - she wasn't just a tough talker, she could also be sweet and vulnerable.
Sally (Sally Eilers) is a tough talking waitress, who loves entering dance contests at the Cloudland dance hall with her lay-about boyfriend (Chick Chandler) who is not above asking her for handouts. When distraught businessman Henry Dow (Henry O'Neil) visits the diner, Sally is ready with a shoulder to cry on. His plan knocks Sally for a loop - Eighteen years before, their own little daughter was kidnapped and now as his wife, Evelyn (Katharine Alexander), lays dying, he wants to hire Sally to impersonate their long lost daughter, so Evelyn can die happy. Of course, Evelyn rallies and Henry begs Sally to keep up the charade. As the movie is only an hour there is no time for meaningful thought and discussion about what happened to Mary. "Mary" finds it hard to keep up an emotionless front, feels she doesn't belong in this upper class atmosphere and wants to return to her old life. Henry, however, can see that the three of them have something to give each other. As there has to be a "nice" love interest, Ray Milland is bought into the story as Peter, a blue blood, who arrives to claim his dog, which has followed Mary home.
Henry then breaks the story to both the press and police that their missing daughter has returned and most people, who took the family to their hearts, are overjoyed. All except the real kidnapper - who happens to be a servant in the Dow house!! When Peter and Mary catch a taxi from the Opera, she doesn't realise that her old boyfriend is the driver - but he hears just enough to try his hand at some old fashioned black mail!!! Within five minutes everything has been resolved - oafish boyfriend out of the picture, kidnapper in handcuffs and "Mary" in Peter's arms.
Ray (billed Raymond) Milland, not only played one of his very first leading roles but also was a "nice guy" for once (he seemed to be typecast around this time as cads and weaklings). Baby Jane Quigley was cast as the real Mary Dow. There was a time (1934 to be precise) when Baby Jane was thought to be the next big thing in child stars but 1934 also heralded in Shirley Temple - so it was good bye Baby Jane!!
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