6.8/10
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22 user 9 critic

Torch Singer (1933)

When she can't support her illegitimate child, an abandoned young woman puts her up for adoption and pursues a career as a torch singer.

Writers:

Lenore J. Coffee (screen play by) (as Lenore Coffee), Lynn Starling (screen play by) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Claudette Colbert ... Sally Trent, aka Mimi Benton
Ricardo Cortez ... Tony Cummings
David Manners ... Michael Gardner
Lyda Roberti ... Dora Nichols
Baby LeRoy ... Bobby, Dora's Baby at 1 Year (as Baby Le Roy)
Charley Grapewin ... Judson
Sam Godfrey Sam Godfrey ... Harry, Radio Announcer
Florence Roberts ... Mother Angelica
Virginia Hammond ... Mrs. Judson
Mildred Washington Mildred Washington ... Carrie
Cora Sue Collins ... Sally - 5 Years
Helen Jerome Eddy ... Miss Spaulding
Albert Conti Albert Conti ... Carlotti
Ethel Griffies ... Agatha Alden
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Storyline

Sally Trent has an illegitimate child, but cannot support her and gives the baby up for adoption. The father, Michael Gardner, leaves for China not knowing about the baby, and she assumes he has abandoned her for life. She gets a job as a torch singer, changes her name to Mimi Benton, and becomes notorious for her drinking and philadering. Mimi fills in on a children's radio program as the character "Aunt Jenny," singing and telling bedtime stories, and eventually uses the airtime to find her long lost daughter, part with her wild lifestyle, and reunite with Michael. Written by sarasdano

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The worst woman in New York...sang the best love songs! Lips that had kissed more men than she could remember ...crooned lullabies no one could forget!

Genres:

Drama | Musical | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 September 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Broadway Singer See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. Because of sponsor resistance to its age and depression themed pre-code aspects of its story, it was rarely taken off the shelf. Two of its earliest documented airings took place in Hartford, Connecticut Saturday 21 October 1961 on Gems of the Silver Screen on WHCT (Channel 18) and in Indianapolis, Indiana Tuesday 19 December 1961 on Mid-Day Matinee on WFBM (Channel 6). It was released on DVD 7 April 2009 as part of the Universal Backlot Series: Pre-Code Hollywood Collection, and again as a single 5 August 2014 as part of the Universal Vault Series. See more »

Quotes

Carlotti: A woman must suffer much before she can sing a little.
Mimi Benton: [Disappointedly] I see.
Carlotti: Come back to me in about a year.
Mimi Benton: [Smiling ironically] All right. In the meantime watch me suffer.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Complicated Women (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Torch Singer
(1933)
Music by Ralph Rainger
Lyric by Leo Robin
Published sheet music in connection with this movie, possibly played as background music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Soapy Showcase For Colbert
18 April 2004 | by Ron OliverSee all my reviews

An unwed TORCH SINGER uses her children's radio show to search for her illegitimate daughter.

Claudette Colbert has a fine time in this Pre-Code melodrama playing a distraught female who covers up for the necessary separation from her child by embracing a life of empty decadence. While highly fanciful--the heroine is both sultry nightclub chanteuse and kindly kiddy radio hostess--the plot is still most enjoyable, with Colbert wringing every bit of pathos from her character's plight.

Ricardo Cortez plays the refreshingly decent producer who assists Colbert to become a celebrity. David Manners ably plays her long-lost lover. Peppery Lydia Roberti is most enjoyable as a high-spirited young mother; her character is sorely missed when she disappears early in the film. Old Charley Grapewin adds some spark as the flirtatious breakfast cereal tycoon who sponsors Miss Colbert's radio show.

A quartet of character actresses lend able support in small roles: Florence Roberts as a sympathetic nun; Virginia Hammond as Grapewin's suspicious wife; Mildred Washington as Miss Colbert's energetic maid; and aristocratic Ethel Griffies as Manners' inflexible aunt. Baby LeRoy, nemesis of W.C. Fields, appears in only one scene as Miss Roberti's infant son.

Movie mavens will recognize unbilled Scots actress Margaret Mann as a nanny.


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