Dozens of star and character-actor cameos and a message about the Variety Club (show-business charity) are woven into a framework about two hopeful young ladies who come to Hollywood, ... See full summary »
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William D. Russell
Dozens of star and character-actor cameos and a message about the Variety Club (show-business charity) are woven into a framework about two hopeful young ladies who come to Hollywood, exchange identities, and cause comic confusion (with slapstick interludes) throughout the Paramount studio. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
An all-star tribute to the philanthropic Variety Clubs International
... and that's as flimsy an excuse for a parade of stars as there ever was. This one seems more forced and artificial than such films normally do.
Many of the stars have little or nothing to do in their cameos: Barbara Stanwyck, Burt Lancaster, Diana Lynn, and especially Robert Preston. Perhaps they're the lucky ones, given the limp nature of the script. They might have wound up like Spike Jones -- he and his City Slickers are far more obnoxious here than they were in "Thank Your Lucky Stars" (1943). Or the pitiable Alan Ladd, singing about that greatest of cities, Tallahassee, Florida. Seriously.
The occasional bright spots include Paulette Goddard wearing soapsuds, and Ray Milland hiding his telephone in an overhead light fixture, à la "The Lost Weekend".
I was also keen to see the rarely glimpsed, grey-haired Glenn Tryon, the male lead in 1928's magnificent "Lonesome", one of the final great achievements of the American silent film. "Lonesome" is comparable in some ways to King Vidor's "The Crowd", but is much less frequently discussed.
I think few would argue if I were to say that "Variety Girl" is for completists only.
Caveat emptor: This film's recent video release in the Bob Hope Collection has the George Pal Technicolor sequence in black and white.
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