J.B. Ball, a rich financier, gets fed up with his free-spending family. He takes his wife's just-bought (very expensive) sable coat and throws it out the window, it lands on poor ... See full summary »
When Phil Corey's band arrives at the Idaho ski resort its pianist Ted Scott is smitten with a Norwegian refugee he has sponsored, Karen Benson. When soloist Vivian Dawn quits, Karen stages an ice show as a substitute.
Streetwise but kind-hearted Maisie Ravier has put her vaudeville life behind her, but not its associated outward good looks, flash and glamor. Trying to get to New York for a job, she ... See full summary »
Radio singer Glory Eden is publicized as the ideal of American womanhood, in order to sell the sponsor's product Ippsie-Wippsie Washcloths. In reality, Glory would like to at least sample ... See full summary »
Parting company with her on-stage partner Professor Orco partly due to the job being potentially hazardous to her health, streetwise but kind-hearted vaudeville performer Maisie Ravier, in ... See full summary »
A real sleeper, this MGM B-pic is a special treat for those who dote on the pulp fiction magazines of the past. Would-be writer John Shelton is lured into investing money not his own in a shoestring western fiction weekly. Further, he gets drafted into writing the shoot 'em up cowboy stories needed to fill its pages when the current king of western pulps goes on one of his periodic benders. That's the situation which leads to the complications.
Cast is uniformly excellent and film is genuinely funny at all the right places. We get to see the big brother of the fabled Plot Genie machine, plus some hilarious sessions with Shelton attempting to brainstorm 2-gun western fiction. There's even a look inside a magazine printing plant. Shelton and Grey are fine in the leads, with great support from Butterworth and Dekker as fly-by-night publishers and the hilarious Donald Meek as Louis L'Amour's Uncle Dusty, the best western novelist who never got further west than a bar in Hoboken. Anyone who has ever written under a deadline will appreciate those scenes! One quibble: as usual in a movie about writers, every book manuscript is shown in a binder *except* one, and when you watch the movie, you'll understand why.
The resolution is not what one would expect from Hollywood, which gives this modest film a considerable boost dramatically and a slightly bittersweet edge to the finale. Tech credits are fine, although the film was shot on sound stages, like most other films of its time, and it's trite but true to say that an MGM B is the equivalent of an A from any other studio of the day.
Direction by Busby Berkeley is smooth and capable, but there are none of the musical numbers you may expect from seeing his name in the credits. In his directorial career Berkeley made numerous non-musicals, most of them forgotten today, as is this one, which is regrettable. Revivals tend to focus on his over-the-top choreography, not on his more modest productions, and Turner Classic Movies, which owns this film, hardly ever shows it. However, the TCM schedule promises a run of Blonde Inspiration at 7:30 am (EST), 29 January 2003. It's not too early to set your VCR. I've already done so!
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