A burlesque star seeks to keep her convent-raised daughter away from her low-down life and abusive lover/stage manager.A burlesque star seeks to keep her convent-raised daughter away from her low-down life and abusive lover/stage manager.A burlesque star seeks to keep her convent-raised daughter away from her low-down life and abusive lover/stage manager.
If you are expecting to see Helen Morgan the torch singer doing the same type of act she did for Ziegfeld in his Follies, you'll be disappointed. Instead, be prepared to see Helen Morgan the actress in this one. Here Helen Morgan plays Kitty Darling, a woman of burlesque whose husband is sent to the electric chair for killing a man in a fit of jealousy. Kitty gives birth to their daughter, April, at about the same time. Convinced by a friend that the burlesque backstage is no place for a child to grow up, Kitty sends April to a convent school in Wisconsin. She remains there from age 5 to age 17.
When April returns home she finds her mother's world in sharp contrast to the peace of the convent. Plus, Kitty has taken up with a younger man. He is a parasite who is two and three timing her and soaking up what money she has. He tries to put the moves on April, but with no success. Kitty dealing with the end of her career and both her private and professional humiliation is hard to watch. Morgan gained weight and donned an unkempt blonde wig just for this part, and her acting is superb. Do realize that much of the film focuses on April, Kitty's daughter. Joan Peers was the actress playing April, and this was her first credited screen role. She handles the part quite well, but by 1931 her career in films was over.
By the way, the video quality is excellent and the audio is fine too if you are viewing the Kino DVD. It is necessary to turn up the volume a little during some outdoor or crowd scenes that have dialogue. However, there is no hissing and crackling in the audio, nor is the sound of shoes clomping around and jewelry clanging in competition with speech as in many other early sound films.
- Nov 21, 2009