Chronicles the early life of gay nineties-era songwriter Paul Dresser as he outgrows his job as carnival entertainer and moves up into New York society, writing one hit song after another. ... See full summary »
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Chronicles the early life of gay nineties-era songwriter Paul Dresser as he outgrows his job as carnival entertainer and moves up into New York society, writing one hit song after another. Despite his egotistical behavior, he manages to woo and win Sally Elliott, one of the more popular songstresses of the day. Written by
Doug Sederberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"My Gal Sal" is not an unpleasant musical, but it gets a more lavish treatment than it deserves. It's a typically fictionalized musical biopic, with Victor Mature playing Paul Dresser, a popular Midwestern songwriter of the "Gay 90s." (For younger readers, that's what the 1890s were called, though the description had to do with high spirits, not sexuality.) Rita Hayworth is Dresser's love interest and the title character. Several of the songs in the movie were not even the work of Dresser, though the title song is. As the movie notes at the beginning, Dresser, born Dreiser, was the older brother of famed novelist Theodore Dreiser, author of that grim classic "An American Tragedy." The screenplay is supposedly based on Dreiser's reflective essay "My Brother Paul." But if it were, this film would be a bit of a drag: Paul Dresser's fame was fairly brief and he died young, and Theodore Dreiser never wrote anything light. Hollywood was wise enough to make up some harmless stuff, pick a beautiful leading lady and play it all for fun.
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