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Constance Shaw is a dance star on Broadway, Joseph Rivington Reynolds is a keen fan of her. After she is fed up with her friend, she meets Joseph and marries him, because she thinks he is ... See full summary »
Before the much bigger budgeted Giant came out the following year, Paramount's B picture unit producers William Pine and William Thomas gave us Lucy Gallant a thinly disguised version of the founding of Neiman-Marcus. Jane Wyman plays the title role of a woman who was stuck in a Texas oil boom town in the Thirties and got the idea that the newly oil rich Texans might like some really fashionable clothing. As she is a recently jilted bride left at the altar, Wyman sells off her considerable trousseau and with that money builds the best department store in the state with all the latest fashions from Paris and New York.
Charlton Heston has a nice part as the cattle rancher turns oil millionaire like Rock Hudson in Giant who waits for Wyman. But this is clearly Wyman's film. Her father was accused of embezzlement and committed suicide and she wants to prove as a woman she can start and maintain her own business.
Wyman and Heston got a really good supporting cast from Paramount. The Dollar Bills as Pine and Thomas were called in the industry were getting bigger and bigger budgets to work with from Paramount although nothing like what Warner Brothers did for Giant. They assembled a good supporting cast with folks like William Demarest, Thelma Ritter, Wallace Ford, Gloria Talbott, and Tom Helmore settling in parts you are accustomed to seeing them in.
One I wish had more screen time though was Claire Trevor. She plays a former honky tonk owner who sells her place to Wyman for her original store and becomes a friend and rises to be a queen of Texas society. There's just too little of Trevor in this film.
Lucy Gallant is Texas putting its best foot forward. None of the warts are shown as they are in Giant. Still the film holds up well and Dollar Bills were probably justly proud of this work.
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