Sassy Dixie Daisy is the hot new attraction at a former opera house that's been turned into a burlesque theater. She's popular with the customers, although not with Lolita La Verne, a stuck-up diva who was hoping she'd get the top spot. Also complicating matters is the return of the Princess Nirvena, the show's former star who once had a fling with the boss. When the Princess blackmails her way into the top spot, Dixie is none too pleased. When both Lolita and the Princess are murdered, Dixie becomes a prime suspect. She then sets up a trap to nail the real killer. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
It is commonly assumed that Craig Rice, mystery writer from the 1940s and roommate of Gypsy Rose Lee, ghost-wrote "The G-String Murders" for her. However, this has been disputed both on stylistic grounds and on the evidence of manuscripts. See more »
What's the matter with comics?
I went into show business when I was seven years old. Two days later the first comic I ever met stole my piggy bank in a railroad station in Portland. When I was 11 the comics were looking at my ankles. When I was 14 they were...just looking. When I was 20 I'd been stuck with enough lunch checks to pay for a three-story house. Naw, they're shiftless, dame-chasing, ambitionless...
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Stanwyck heads enviable cast in salty look backstage at a grind house
Did the movies ever produce a trouper more versatile than Barbara Stanwyck, a seasoned pro who not only could do anything handed to her but did them all superlatively well? Her long career encompasses melodramas, weepers, screwball comedy, noir, even Westerns. In Lady of Burlesque she sings, breaks into a variety of dance steps, and even turns a cartwheel (and if a stunt double did it for her, the editing is virtuoso). She's far and away the best thing in the movie, which is saying a lot: Lady of Burlesque is a breakneck carnival ride of a movie.
It's based on The G-String Murders, a light mystery penned by society stripper Gypsy Rose Lee (her own story became legend in Gypsy, and her sister. Baby June, became actress June Havoc). But the mystery emerges late and, like the obligatory love angle, doesn't unduly detract from the movie's main business, which is a salty and affectionate reminiscence of the autumn of vaudeville's ne'er-do-well stepsister, burlesque, set, like all the best show-biz stories, backstage.
William Wellman gets things popping right off the bat, in a Ziegfeld-Follies like number in which one of the prancing chorines keeps trying to blow her Veronica-Lake locks out of her face. Then there's a fast seque into Stanwyck's `Take It Off The E-String (Play It On The G-String),' then upstairs to the horror of a dressing room where the big, pale girls gussy themselves up and rip one another up one side and down the other. Their smart, snapping mouths recall the bitchiest exchanges in Stage Door, another racy peek into stage life after the curtain's rung down (among the grind-house queens are Iris Adrian, Victoria Faust, Janis Carter and Stephanie Bachelor). Another dressing room houses the men the comics with their wide pants and tiny hats (Pinky Lee among them); Wellman even throws in some of their hoary routines but counterpoints them against offstage action to offset their stale-popcorn fustiness.
Police raids and gangster boyfriends, professional jealousies and box-office worries play as much a role in the movie as a series of ecdysiasts strangled with their own beadwork. With Wellman at the helm and an enviable if not, apart from Stanwyck, especially starry cast, Lady of Burlesque delivers lots more than it promises.
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