A crusading D.A. orders the police to shut down a South Seas themed girly show and arrest its participants. The lead dancer eludes jail time when her attorney persuades the judge that she ... See full summary »
A crusading D.A. orders the police to shut down a South Seas themed girly show and arrest its participants. The lead dancer eludes jail time when her attorney persuades the judge that she has a (fictitious) elderly mother to take care of. The attorney then scours the local senior homes for a suitably sweet maternal type to fit the bill. At the same time, the dancer seeks her revenge by seducing the D.A.'s ambitious but naive son. But her newly acquired mama eventually exerts some influence on the girl. Written by
SARONG GIRL is a low-budget Monogram Studios romp that turns out to be quite entertaining. The well-known burlesque star Ann Corio (in one of her five films) is the nominal star as Dixie Barlow, a burlesque queen whose shyster lawyer gets her out of a jail term by telling the judge she is the sole support of her elderly mother, the plot used earlier in 1934's LADY BY CHOICE with Carole Lombard and May Robson (although this is not a remake). Lawyer man sets up Annie in his pal bookie Tim Raynor's apartment and moves her and the faux ma into it without bothering to inform Mrs. Raynor about it. The Raynors are played by vaudeville stars Tim & Irene Ryan, here making one of their first feature film appearances. Soon Dixie is offered a stint at an upscale nightclub (Monogram's version of an upscale nightclub anyway) at which her most prominent stage door Johnnie is none other than the son of the judge who threatened her with jail. Seeking revenge, Dixie plots to vamp the scion and end up part of the wealthy family.
This short (the print airing in 2007 on Turner Classic Movies ran 64 minutes, not 70 as IMDb states) musical moves quickly and breezily thanks to a talented cast which includes silent star Betty Blythe as a society matron. Miss Corio is stuck with a role thinner than her wardrobe but this being a mainstream film, doesn't get to the display the striptease talents that made her quite famous off the screen. Here she is limited to a very mild hula (the movie's title is curious and apparently chosen just because the moniker "sarong girl" was quite famous during the period thanks to Dorothy Lamour and various South Sea island adventure films; Miss Corio never actually wears a sarong but rather typical Hawaiian garb despite Dixie Barlow being listed as "The Sarong Girl" on billboards at the nightclub.)
The true joy of the movie is actress Irene Ryan, some 20 years before achieving fame as Granny on THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES, in a deliciously wacky role as the dingy lady of the house. Irene produces genuine laughs out of silly quips in her Gracie Allenesque role and stops the show with a satiric "weeper" song. While all of the cast is good, Irene Ryan raises the film to a higher level and shows she had big time talent years before she hit the big time.
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