Monday, December 29, 2014


This is a very early talkie and, in plot and structure, a forerunner of the Warner Bros. Gold Digger movies of the 30s. Mrs. Maguire, a former showgirl, runs a boarding house for theatrical types. Three chorus girls who room together call themselves the Three Musketeers, standing alone because unlike the other gals in the house, they're not actively looking for "sugar daddies" or "johns" as they’re known in the trade—I don't think this has quite the connotation it does for prostitutes, but it's in the same ball park. One of the girls (Alice White) is engaged to Charles Delaney, a stage manager who has ambitions to become a producer, but complications ensue. A rich gambler from Detroit (Fred Kohler) crosses paths with the gals and he gets them after-hours jobs at a nightclub. Meanwhile, White sees Delaney flirt with a starlet whom he hopes will headline his show, so she breaks it off with him and transfers her affections to Kohler. But Kohler is getting set up for a big fleecing at the gambling table by some New York gangsters, and these gjys carry guns. The movie starts off slow and stagy, but by the halfway point, it gets some energy and the climax is pulled off well. The musical numbers are pre-Busby Berkeley, meaning they are staged like they would be on a real Broadway stage and not extended into a fantasy Musical-Land. The dancing is a little clunky as well, but the numbers are generally fun. The acting is not much to speak of—White is OK but has no style, and Delaney would be a better fit for a bad guy role (he's definitely not a spritely juvenile type) but Fred Kohler is good as the gambler. Of some interest for fans of early musicals. [Warner Archive streaming]

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