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Carrie, ambitious young actress and her manager Mike Kilinsky, travel east from Chicago to Long Island so Carrie can see the new mansion that her mother Chris has just purchased. Chris is not there when Carrie arrives by Gallagher, the family major domo, tells Carrie that Chris is in love with the very rich Steve. Chris confesses to Carrie that she has lied about her age to Steve, claiming to be 31, and that the photograph of Carrie is Carrie's (non-existent) Aunt Sadie and Carrie is only twelve. Carrie insists that her mother keep up the masquerade, and she will pose as a 12-year-old. Steve arrives and brings with him his friend Jimmy Blake. More than a little confusion follows including Carrie starting a fight with another "kid" to keep Jimmy from keeping a date with his fiancée and Mike escorting Chris and the "under-age" Carrie to a night club, and other incidents that only tend to prove that Steve and Jimmy aren't the brightest bulbs shining. Diana Barrymore is better as the 12-... Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
An odd comedy- one of Diana Barrymore's few films. But she's good.
This is kind of a curio. It has an excellent cast, and some good scenes, but overall, it's a bit of a miss. I find it interesting mainly because it features Diana Barrymore, who I've read about, but never seen on film. She was pretty good, and probably could have had a successful career, and possibly been a big star, if her private life hadn't been so chaotic. From what I've read about her, she's a perfect example of what happens when parents totally neglect their children. Her famous father, John, and her mother, Blanche, pretty much ignored her all of her life. It must have been very difficult for her growing up. John has always been one of my favorites, but he sure was a terrible father to her.
She shows real talent in this film. It is sort of a road company "The Major and the Minor," but she's good. In the opening scenes, she plays a Queen Victoria type (or maybe it is the Queen herself), and does so convincingly. At the end of the film, she plays Joan of Arc, again convincingly. She seemed to have the Barrymore talent, and showed she was good in character parts. She also had a knack for comedy. I was impressed by her, and wonder what she could have done with a really good part. It's too bad that she went down her father's path of too much booze, too many bad romances, and a generally self-destructive lifestyle. Her autobiography, "Too Much, Too Soon," was well named, I guess. If things had been different, I bet she could have been a star, and/or a good character actress.
One of the best points of the film, as with so many old Hollywood movies, good and bad, is the number of excellent supporting actors it has. Bob Cummings is the co-star, Kay Francis and John Boles are the second leads, and Andy Devine, Walter Catlett, and Guinn "Big Boy" Williams head the character actor list. Those character actors could elevate any movie, and they usually did. They were fantastic in the great films, really putting them over the top, and they helped save the mediocre or poor pictures. I'm sure audiences of the day brightened when their faces came on the screen. This was towards the end of Kay Francis' career, and it is a bit sad seeing her here. She had been a very big star in the '30s, and was now being given only supporting parts. Must have been hard to take. Ditto John Boles, though he wasn't ever quite as big as she was (but he did have an impressive career). I've always liked Bob Cummings, and he was pretty good at comedy himself (remember "Love That Bob?"). He was also good with Hitchcock, and in Anthony Mann's "The Black Book."
Anyway, it's worth a look. Not a great film, but interesting (as is Kay Francis' house in the movie, which looks a little like Boris Karloff's digs in "The Black Cat"). And Diana Barrymore shows some real promise. Whew!- maybe it's better not being famous.
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