SYNOPSIS: Bowery street waif becomes Broadway star, despite opposition - "You know how I hate the theatre and all it stands for. If you leave this house you may never expect to come back to it."
COMMENT: A compendium of every cliché known to Victorian melodrama, but I liked it. At least one of the worst sequences of unbridled sentiment is missing from the current TV version and one cannot but applaud its removal. The film is somewhat light on songs and one could have wished for at least another production number to cap or offset the agreeable minstrel-type finale.
Casting is well-nigh perfect (Mr Fetchit's part is not nearly as obnoxious as usual) and the script provides meaty parts for Frank Morgan and Helen Westley. Direction and photography are pretty ordinary, however, and the sets and costumes have to contend against their current presentation in an indifferent TV print. Still, the sound has been re-recorded and it comes across to-day with a fidelity and clarity (thanks to peerless original recording) that must make Douglas Shearer and M-G-M squirm with envy.
OTHER VIEWS: 2018 prints are still missing 5 or 6 minutes (including all of Herman Bing and Arthur Aylesworth) but all the songs have now been pleasingly restored, thus giving the melodramatic story a balance which greatly improves the entertainment value of the whole. In fact the skill of such support players as Frank Morgan and Helen Westley helps carry the story. Berton Churchill has a characteristic part too and if the hero and his heroine are a bit wet (Astrid Allwyn makes an agreeably tempting siren but her part is tiny) their parts are small enough to make little difference. John Carradine plays a confidence man with his usual affable rascality, while Stepin Fetchit is mildly amusing as Morgan's servant ("Pour? Pour what?").