Thursday, June 26, 2003


Claudette Colbert brings this predictable soap opera to life, as does the pre-Code atmosphere of sin and decadence. Colbert plays Sally Trent, a chorus girl with, shall we say, aspirations. She gets pregnant by a rich boy (David Manners) who goes gallivanting off to China, not knowing about her predicament. She goes to a charity ward to have the baby and steadfastly refuses to give the father's name, despite the threat that she can be turned away if she doesn't. Afterward, Colbert and another single mom, Lydia Roberti, try to make a go of it as roommates, but ultimately her economic status forces Colbert to give up her child for anonymous adoption to go back to her career. A nicely done montage sequence shows Colbert's rise to fame as a torch singer (using the name Mimi Benton) and all-around figure of scandal. One day, she winds up on the radio, by accident, filling in for a new and nervous children's show host; Colbert does it as a lark, but she's a hit and she remains (under yet another name) on the air, eventually using the show as a way to find her daughter. The futility of the search and the bad influence of her drunken friends cause her to crash and burn, but just then, Manners comes back in her life and manages to locate the girl, adopt her for himself, and reunite with Colbert. We don't see how he accomplishes all this--it's downright supernatural! Colbert is very good throughout whether she's dumpy and weepy, or glamorous and on top of the world; actually, her best scenes are when she's weepy and on top of the world. Manners doesn't have much to do but he looks pretty doing it. Ricardo Cortez is fine as Colbert's society boyfriend who is basically a good egg. Baby LeRoy has a small part as Roberti's child, Charley Grapewin is the radio show sponsor, and Ethel Griffes is Manners' cold-hearted aunt. Despite the occasionally overdone melodrama and the improbable ending, this was fun to watch.

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