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Discovery by Flo Ziegfeld changes a girl's life but not necessarily for the better, as three beautiful women find out when they join the spectacle on Broadway: Susan, the singer who must leave behind her ageing vaudevillian father; vulnerable Sheila, the working girl pursued both by a millionaire and by her loyal boyfriend from Flatbush; and the mysterious European beauty Sandra, whose concert violinist husband cannot endure the thought of their escaping from poverty by promenading her glamor in skimpy costumes. Written by
Michael Meigs <Michael.Meigs@dos.us-state.gov>
Lana Turner, Hedy Lamarr, and Judy Garland each have the honor of being a "Ziegfeld Girl" in this 1941 film also starring Jackie Cooper, James Stewart, Dan Dailey, Tony Martin, Ian Hunter, Edward Everett Horton, and Eve Arden. Mr. Ziegfeld is never seen, but this is a story of three gals who make it into his show and what happens to them as a result. Sandra (Lamarr) is offered a job; since she and her violinist husband (Philip Dorn) need the money, she takes it, only to lose her husband. Susan (Garland) gets in the show, but it means leaving her partner and father (Charles Winninger) behind. And Sheila, engaged to Gilbert (Stewart) succumbs to the temptation of a rich man (Hunter) who gets her a beautiful apartment on Park Avenue and lots of jewels.
This is a decent story with good music, gorgeous singing by Garland and Tony Martin, and fantastic costumes galore. The beautiful Lamarr is fabulous looking but doesn't have much to do in her role, Garland is vivacious as Susan, and Turner is a knockout and does a good job as Sheila. The supporting performances are all good, with Dailey doing an early turn as a prize fighter and Winninger as Susan's father, stuck in his Vaudeville mindset.
My big problem with this film is the code, which makes it predictable, because we all know what happens to a slut.
Nevertheless, despite some slow spots, this is an entertaining film, reminiscent in its way of "Valley of the Dolls" with Turner in the "Neelie O'Hara" role.
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