A poor but beautiful girl named Jeanne takes part in a beauty contest but fails to be crowned its queen. Nevertheless both her determination and her shapely figure impress Sal Satori, the ... See full summary »
A poor but beautiful girl named Jeanne takes part in a beauty contest but fails to be crowned its queen. Nevertheless both her determination and her shapely figure impress Sal Satori, the organizer, so much that he gives her a job as a carnival dancer. He becomes her friend and, before long, her great love. However, being a hootchie-kootchie dancer is not Jeanne's dream: she wants to be an actress. That is why Jeanne takes advantage of the Satori company being in New York to consult a renowned drama teacher, Mrs. Neilson. The latter thinks she CAN act and she is proved right since the audience of the first play Jeanne is in responds favorably. But Jeanne will only feel wholly satisfied when she acquires star status. She soon obtains the part which will lead her to stardom by stealing it from Elsie Desmond, an aging actress who planned a comeback through it. In desperation, Elsie commits suicide. Although feeling somewhat guilty, Jeanne openly relishes her triumph, which upsets her ... Written by
During a carnival scene at Coney Island, the music in the background is The Victory Polka which was written by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn during World War II and not yet written for a film set in the Roaring Twenties. See more »
Another actress learns that Broadway doesn't go for booze and dope...
Young waitress from Kansas City in the early 1920s hitches up with a traveling carnival with the fervent, starry-eyed hope of breaking into show business; once in New York City, she gets herself a drama coach and lands a plum part in a Broadway show after the original actress falls ill. Fabrication of real-life Broadway and silent movie starlet Jeanne Eagels is useless as a biography but rather entertaining as a backstage melodrama. Kim Novak is uneven in the lead, mercurial and brittle (and occasionally quite amusing when lapsing into a haughty European accent once she finds fame and fortune), however the part is a pretty good fit for Kim and she fills the bill. Jeff Chandler (as a fictitious lifelong beau) and Agnes Moorehead (as the drama coach who suddenly morphs into Jeanne's best friend and nursemaid) are both solid, as is Charles Drake as an ex-football player who marries Jeanne apparently for her money (yet seems to love her and puts up with her). Drake also played a role in "Valley of the Dolls", which mirrors this film in several ways (there's even one character called "Neely" and another named "O'Hara"!). Producer-director George Sidney takes great care in setting up this story, which is snappy and brash and looks fantastic in black-and-white. Not everyone will go for the picture's mix of hard-shelled pathos, booze-soaked blackouts, and rags-to-riches clichés, yet the film manages to capture the excitement of stage life quite vividly. Despite its many faults, a near-gem. **1/2 from ****
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