This musical biopic chronicles the vaudeville-to-Broadway story of 1920s' star Marilyn Miller (June Haver). From her start on the boards in Finley, Ohio, Marilyn sings and dances her way to... See full summary »
This musical biopic chronicles the vaudeville-to-Broadway story of 1920s' star Marilyn Miller (June Haver). From her start on the boards in Finley, Ohio, Marilyn sings and dances her way to Broadway stardom, frequently in company with her mentor, dancer Jack Donahue (Ray Bolger). Written by
Dan Navarro <email@example.com>
Look For the Silver Lining is a particular song favorite of mine and it was the theme song of one of Broadway's brightest stars, Marilyn Miller. Her own life, sad to say did not have too many sunny days in it after that fateful night where she lost her first husband.
She died young from complications of a sinus operation in 1936 in the year when her producer/benefactor Florenz Ziegfeld had a biographical film about him. There was no mention of Marilyn's name in the film at all.
June Haver plays a winning Marilyn whom we see as a girl like Judy Garland, born in a trunk. Remember that Judy played Marilyn in Look for the Silver Lining. She was a child performer in a family of performers like the Gumm sisters. She met and fell in love with Frank Carter, a song and dance man who was killed in a car crash in New Jersey as the film shows. Carter in this film is played by Gordon MacRae in one of his earliest film roles.
Marilyn spent an extraordinary amount of money for a tomb for the late Mr. Carter who by all rights on his own would never deserve such a monument. It's one of the grandest in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx where Marilyn eventually joined him. It dwarfs such folks as former Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes and Irving Berlin who wrote Easter Parade for her and Clifton Webb in As Thousands Cheer.
In this film Marilyn has one other husband, Jack Donohue played by Ray Bolger who has some terrific dance numbers. That and two other marriages in real life didn't work out for her. One of her other husbands was Jack Pickford, brother of Mary Pickford who led quite a life of drink and debauchery and died young.
What's not shown is how hearty Marilyn partied in the Roaring Twenties. She was one wild child between marriages indulging in uncountable one night stands. It was said that in shows with her frequent co-star Clifton Webb, they'd split up the chorus boys, she'd take the straight ones and he'd go after the gay ones, many times their paths would cross.
One thing Marilyn never did was record. She adamantly refused record contracts, would not consider going to a recording studio to record the songs identified with her like Look For the Silver Lining, Who, and Easter Parade. She felt that sound alone could not capture the magic of a live performance, the dancing as well as the singing. Only those early sound films are the only record of her performing.
Marilyn Miller had an R, even an X rated life and Look for the Silver Lining does not remotely do justice to it. Still it's a tastefully done tribute to a very tragic star who found happiness in this world a most elusive thing.
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