Helen Roberts, who's on probation, goes back to work as a waitress at Torre's Fish Palace, a San Francisco waterfront dive. The customers are low characters trying to make time with Helen ... See full summary »
Mae Doyle comes back to her hometown a cynical woman. Her brother Joe fears that his love, fish cannery worker Peggy, may wind up like Mae. Mae marries Jerry and has a baby; she is happy but restless, drawn to Jerry's friend Earl.
Sassy Dixie Daisy is the hot new attraction at a former opera house that's been turned into a burlesque theater. She's popular with the customers, although not with Lolita La Verne, a stuck-up diva who was hoping she'd get the top spot. Also complicating matters is the return of the Princess Nirvena, the show's former star who once had a fling with the boss. When the Princess blackmails her way into the top spot, Dixie is none too pleased. When both Lolita and the Princess are murdered, Dixie becomes a prime suspect. She then sets up a trap to nail the real killer.Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
William Wellman, the man who brought you NOTHING SACRED, BEAU GESTE, ROXIE HART, THE PUBLIC ENEMY, A STAR IS BORN, and WINGS, brings you this neglected gem starring the one and only Barbara Stanwyck. Available for some reason in a thousand cheapie video bins for under five bucks, this 91 minute classic B-movie puts the B in sublime. An A-list group decided to adapt Gypsy Rose Lee's exploitation sex - murder - laughs novel for the silver screen, and the sheer joy brought to the tawdry enterprise somehow transmutes the base material - the murder plot was creaky for 1943 - into show-biz gold. When you think of old-fashioned entertainment, you are picturing LADY OF BURLESQUE, in which a maniac is killing the show-girls in a run-down burlesque theater, and a baggy-pants comic steadfastly pursues Barbara Stanwyck with wisecracks and dutch-treat dates. The real stars are the burlesque performers, lovable freaks from the Hollywood gutter spouting a hard-bitten patter with the nano-second timing of people who'd been doing this since their parents dragged them onto the vaudeville stage when they were three. Stanwyck was the only major screen queen from the thirties and forties who specialized in hopelessly vulgar heroines (see STELLA DALLAS and BABY FACE), but here she's the class act because she's the only one not trying to be classy. Her love interest is the wonderful Michael O'Shea, who plays the false nose comedian who falls for Stanwyck. Stanwyck puts a spin on the word "comic" that makes it sound like a four letter word. One scene above all others stakes this movie's claim to greatness - while in the middle of a hoary old comedy sketch, Stanwyck and O'Shea are interrupted by the off-stage wailings of a stripper being beaten up by her thug boyfriend. No one backstage will stop the brutality because they're all scared of the thug, so the onstage performers strike up the band and try to drown out the screams with an up-tempo musical number and improvised jitterbugging. Note, too, the big built blonde with the lisp who declares of the most recent murder "How gruethome!"
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