Carolyn Sayres gets a Hollywood contract from talent scout Brooke but is later rejected because she's too young. She falls in love with Bud Borden, another contractee who helps her to ... See full summary »
Carolyn Sayres gets a Hollywood contract from talent scout Brooke but is later rejected because she's too young. She falls in love with Bud Borden, another contractee who helps her to become a star. Based partly on Darnells' early experiences in Hollywood. Wharton is a parody of Zanuck. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
"Star Dust" is the film that Linda Darnell watched on the night she was caught in the fire that would take her life the next day.
Darnell plays Carolyn Sayres, a young girl determined to get her chance in Hollywood when a studio agent (Roland Young) comes along looking for new talent. He rejects her because she's too young, but Carolyn forges a letter to the studio head and wins a screen test. On the train to Los Angeles, she meets a handsome football player (John Payne) who is also a fresh discovery. Once in Hollywood, they meet the third winner of a screen test, a talented singer (Mary Healy).
Little do any of them know that studio politics interfere with their chances, but the drama coach (Charlotte Greenwood) believes in Carolyn and finds a way to get her test before the head of the studio.
This film, the basic plot anyway, was remade years later as the awful "Dancing in the Dark," a musical starring Betsy Drake. "Star Dust" is much better, featuring the beautiful Darnell, handsome Payne and the magical singing of Mary Healy. It also has shots of Graumann's Chinese Theatre as Payne and Darnell see how their feet match up to stars' feet in cement.
Linda Darnell got a very early start in Hollywood. She was 15 when Fox wanted to sign her, but when they learned her age, they sent her home. When they found out that she'd won a contest with the first prize a contract at Universal, they brought her back out. She started out great guns, and then she got married. Zanuck, unable to promote her as a virginal ingénue, lost interest. Darnell returned a little later as sultry and sexy and played some of her best roles.
Sitting in her old secretary's house in Illinois at the age of 41, trying to do her taxes, and watching this film must have been an odd experience for Darnell, who by then had alcohol and money problems and was trying to make a comeback. It wasn't to be; she died in the hospital the next day. A sad end for the beautiful young woman of "Star Dust."
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