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Bessie Love stars as an actress touring in a fifth-rate company of UNCLE TOM'S CABIN. While playing in a hick town in Kansas, the local league of do-gooders discovers there's a child traveling with the show. They think it's Bessie Love, who plays Little Eva in the show, but it's really her kid sister (Nanci Price). The local undertaker (Jed Prouty) takes a shine to Bessie so she strings him along so they can get out of town with the kid sister. But in the next town, the company gets stranded when the manager (Ford Sterling) absconds with what little money there is.
Prouty has been following the touring company and helps them stage a benefit show for local flood victims if Bessie will abandon the stage and marry him. She agrees but the new manager (Raymond Hackett) secretly decides to use the kid sister as Little Eva. When Bessie finds out, she stuffs the kid full of chocolates so she gets sick and can't go on. Realizing how much she loves acting, so dumps Prouty because the show must go on.
Based on a Broadway play, EVA THE FIFTH, this is a solid early talkie vehicle for Love and she's quite good. The supporting case is also good, although Price is a bit much. Co-stars include Edward Nugent, Mary Doran, Lucy Beaumont, and Ethel Wales.
Historically this film is interesting because up through the Great Depression, plays based on UNCLE TOM'S CABIN famously toured the boonies of America and had for more than 50 years. These touring shows were called "Tommers" and took great liberties with the original novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe.
Worth a look.
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