Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Composer Jimmy Doyle (Jack Mulhall) is sweet on fledgling song-and-dance girl Dixie Dugan (Alice White); he wanted her for the lead in his new show Rainbow Girl, but his producers said no. Now, the show has closed and Frank, a Hollywood director (John Miljan), hears Dixie sing at a club and decides to use her in his next picture. She goes to Hollywood and becomes friends with Donny (Blanche Sweet), an actress from the silent days who is forgotten at 32, and former wife to Frank, though Dixie is unaware of that. Dixie is also unaware that Frank is the next thing to washed up, and sure enough, he's soon fired from the film. The producers decide to hang on to Dixie, they turn her film into an adaptation of Rainbow Girl, and Jimmy is brought out to the studio to work on the script. But soon Dixie, egged on by Frank who wants revenge against the studio, becomes a demanding diva and it seems like the picture might wind up getting shut down for good. Can Jimmy and Donny get Dixie away from the villainous Frank and salvage her movie career?

This early sound musical is almost done in by the weak lead performance from Alice White (pictured) who is way too cutesy early on, and later is too artificial to be effective as a bitch. But there are a few pleasures to be had. The best performance is by Blanche Sweet, who was in fact, like her character, a silent movie star whose career was about over—though in real life, she was 34. She sings a sad song about her chosen career: "There’s a tear for every smile in Hollywood/Every mile's a weary mile in Hollywood." Miljan is appropriately repugnant as the bad guy and Ford Sterling is fine as the movie producer. There's an interesting scene showing how a big production number is filmed, and a handful of stars (Al Jolson, Ruby Keeler, a very young Walter Pidgeon) appear briefly as themselves. The last song, "Hang on to a Rainbow" was originally shown in color, though the current print has it in black & white. [TCM]

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