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Glorifying the American Girl (1929)

Passed | | Comedy, Drama, Musical | 7 December 1929 (USA)
The rise of a showgirl, Gloria Hughes, culminating in a Ziegfeld extravaganza "Glorifying the American Girl".


Millard Webb


J.P. McEvoy (from the story by), Millard Webb (from the story by)

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Complete credited cast:
Mary Eaton ... Gloria Hughes
Eddie Cantor ... Eddie Cantor - Appearance in Revue Scenes
Helen Morgan ... Helen Morgan - Appearance in Revue Scenes
Rudy Vallee ... Rudy Vallee - Appearance in Revue Scenes
Dan Healy Dan Healy ... 'Miller'
Kaye Renard Kaye Renard ... 'Mooney'
Edward Crandall Edward Crandall ... Buddy
Gloria Shea ... Barbara (as Olive Shea)
Sarah Edwards Sarah Edwards ... Mrs. Hughes
Singing and Dancing Chorus of Seventy-Five Glorified Beauties Singing and Dancing Chorus of Seventy-Five Glorified Beauties ... Chorus Members


Gloria, Barabara and Buddy are working at the sheet music counter in a New York department store. On a trip of the whole store, Gloria, who's in love with Buddy, is spotted by vaudeville hoofer Miller, whom his partner Mooney, like her predecessors, has just left. Miller tours with Gloria and both are spotted by Ziegfeld's talent scouts, just before they were splitting up, leaving Gloria with a contract giving Miller a part of her earnings in the next few years. Gloria becomes the star of a new Ziegfeld production, but Barbara, who has been pining for buddy for quite a while, seems to have more luck with him. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


With a galaxy of Broadway's famous stars- See how Broadway's darlings are glorified! (Print Ad-The Evening Tribune,((Providence, R.I.)) 5 December 1929) See more »


Comedy | Drama | Musical



Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

7 December 1929 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Glorificação da Beleza See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(Raymond Rohauer print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric System)


Black and White | Color (2-strip Technicolor) (some sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The 2-strip Technicolor sequence, 897 feet in length, occurs in the second half of the film, with Mary Eaton and the Ziegfeld Chorus Girls performing "There Must Be Somebody Waiting for Me". This sequence, along with the rest of the film, was restored and preserved by the UCLA Film & Television Archive in 1988. See more »


Mrs. Hughes: Better get that piano player out of your mind. He never did anything for you.
Gloria Hughes: What of it!
Mrs. Hughes: Well now, Gloria. For instance, take Mr. Miller he's...
Gloria Hughes: Yeah, we'll take him.
Mrs. Hughes: But if it weren't for him, you'd still be yelling your head off down at Himmers.
Gloria Hughes: Am I better off now? Eating around greasy food, one cheap hotel after another playing five a day?
Mrs. Hughes: Well you make a lot of money.
Gloria Hughes: Yeah. A lot of it I guess.
Mrs. Hughes: Well, of course you don't spend it foolishly. I'm saving it for you.
Gloria Hughes: Yeah, I know.
See more »

Alternate Versions

A black-and-white print currently shown on television (which was cut down to 87 minutes) was made in the 1950s and has a number of sequences cut due to their Pre-Code content (nudity, etc.). The film was restored to the length of 96 minutes, with the original Technicolor sequences, by the UCLA Film and Television Archive. See more »


Featured in Broadway: The American Musical (2004) See more »


Tulip Time
(1919) (uncredited)
Music by Dave Stamper
Lyrics by Gene Buck
Sung by a chorus in the opening montage
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

For Ziegfeld research it's a must!
7 April 2007 | by wetcircuitSee all my reviews

For Ziegfeld research it's a must, and you get to see many of Ziegfeld's stars perform, but the sound is poor and there isn't a whole lot of conflict to drive the plot....

As a woman, it's nice to hear Mary Eaton speak frankly to her boyfriend (a dreamy Edward Crandall) about wanting to live a little and see what she can do before settling down and raising children. He's hurt, but not petulant or insulting (like every boyfriend/husband in ZIEGFELD GIRL and THE DOLLY SISTERS). He does wait for her and seems genuinely supportive of her success, before eventually settling for girl-next-door Gloria Shea -- who actually is treated pretty badly by the film, abandoned and hit by a car! Eaton discovers her boyfriend's moved on just as she goes out for the finale in the Follies, and you see the emotions hit her as she struggles under the weight of an enormous headpiece that cascades around her like a fountain.... OK, so it's not exactly heartbreak, but at least she doesn't die of alcohol poisoning or get slapped around like in the exploitational ZIEGFELD GIRL.

The production numbers are tame by Hollywood standards, and we wait the whole film to finally see one of Flo's evolving stage contraptions. Most of the numbers are arranged in tableau including a gorgeous "painting" of a mermaid being pulled from the sea in a fisherman's net as the Pope and neoclassical figures stand by. Tableaux don't make interesting cinema, but I was happy to see some man flesh in these scenes too as nearly nude males (like Johnny Weissmuller here) were apparently excised from the later interpretations of Ziggy's stagework -- ironic since Ziegfeld had his first success displaying the muscular Sandow, so you know he wasn't shy about it.

Eddie Cantor has an overly long vaudeville scene as a Jewish tailor, but is actually funnier in a brief exchange with a haughty showgirl, Rudy Vallee might have been a somebody back then but he sure doesn't show it here. Helen Morgan sings her signature torch song from atop a piano (a schtick she invented by necessity as she was too short to be seen in many music halls). She is excellent in the film APPLAUSE which also came out in 1929 where she played an aging showgirl trying to keep her daughter out of theater life, but unfortunately her performance here suffers from the antique recording.

Ted Shawn is the imaginative choreographer who arranges the dancers as exotic animals, graceful swans, and nouveau beauties clutching glass globes. Shawn would create the Jacob's Pillow dance festival and was instrumental in forming a uniquely American branch of Modern Dance.

There's a lot of history here, and the opening montage is almost Fritz Lang-esquire, but I wouldn't try to show the whole film to any of my friends. The film quality is terribly uneaven, suggesting inconsistent filmstock. Silent footage from a premier was spliced in so we can get a glimpse of Ziegfeld and Billie Burke, as well as other Broadway dignitaries of the age. It's a tragedy the technicolor scenes are lost (at least, not a part of the Alpha Video release). All-in-all it's not a bad film, the pre-code heroine isn't "punished" for having career ambitions but she experiences some bumps and bruises along the way (by her selfish mother and an unscrupulous manager). She loses the cute guy but he comes to congratulate her when she stars in the show and that seems like a fair compromise; much better than the plots that would slap down any woman who dared to have her own goals in later films.

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