A faded burlesque queen passes on a chance to return to the spotlight so her chorus-girl daughter can have a shot at the headliner spot. But she grows concerned when her daughter's new fame attracts the attention of a wealthy society man.
After failing to be re-elected, politician Blake Washburn returns home and becomes editor of the local newspaper. When he notices the influence the paper has on the public, he uses it to appeal to potential voters in the next election.
When billionaire Jean-Marc Clement learns that he is to be satirized in an off-Broadway revue, he passes himself off as an actor playing him in order to get closer to the beautiful star of the show, Amanda Dell.
A Justice of the Peace performed weddings a few days before his license was valid. A few years later five couples learn they have never been legally married. Annabel Norris, already Mrs. Mississippi and ready to enter the Mrs. America contest, is now free to enter the Miss Mississippi contest. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
The chief virtue of this film is the marvelous casting, which could hardly be better. And there's a pleasing variety to the episodes. That said, the edge to the writing and direction is definitely not as keen as one would like. To give just one example of the problem: A letter is sent to each couple, telling them that, through a technicality, they're not really married. In the opening sequence, we hear the letter dictated. At the appropriate point in each installment, the letter is introduced with a special musical theme, and the reader of the letter reacts appropriately. But then, each time, just to make the point completely clear, we are shown a close-up of the identically worded letter. Another example: Paul Douglas dreams of dates with beautiful girls, AND DREAMS, AND DREAMS... Also, though one suspects that Fred Allen had a hand in the writing of his sequence--a parody of radio breakfast couples--here, too, the satire is a little too obvious, their banter being merely a string of not especially clever product plugs (one of them having the miracle ingredient, chicken fat).
Calhern rises above the heavily ironic divorce-lawyer skit, and James Gleason gives one of his finest performances as a hick hustler promoting Marilyn Monroe in a fledgling Mrs. America contest. Had the rest of the film been as sharp as Gleason's well written and well performed characterization, it could have been a classic. The final sequence is the most successful, because of the fine, unaffected performances of Gaynor and Bracken (particularly the latter) and probably also because Goulding was most at home with this simple romance. A point of interest in the film as a whole is how much attitudes about marriage have changed since the film was made.
AMC has shown an amusing deleted sequence with Walter Brennan in its HIDDEN HOLLYWOOD series.
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