8 August 2010 | Michael_Elliott
Worth Watching for Music Fans
** 1/2 (out of 4)
Better than average Musical from Warner about a down on her luck waitress (Marilyn Miller) who dreams of making it big as a dancer and finally gets a shot thanks to a man (Alexander Gray) who turns out to also be a major love interest. This story was a big hit on Broadway and it was even made into a film in 1925 but it seems it has now been forgotten as has its star Miller. Miller was apparently one of the biggest names on Broadway and she was making her film debut here but she's end up dead a short seven-years later due to alcohol and health problems. Many consider this her shining moments and she certainly leaves an impression even if it wasn't the one I was expecting. The actual story here will probably strike many as being unoriginal but one must remember that this movie came before many future films that would follow the same Cinderella-type structure. The one problem I had with the structure is that it seemed like Miller became famous way too quickly but this is just a minor thing. I went into this thing expecting great music numbers and poor "acting" but I actually got the opposite. I thought the entire cast delivered fine performances and they actually made the story flow a lot better than it would have with other actors. Gray has a very good voice but he also handles the role quite well and makes a memorable character. Joe E. Brown is here for comic relief and nearly steals the film in a couple classic scenes. One has an old man paying him some extra money to get into the club so Brown makes him climb a ladder to reach a tree house. Another laugh riot follows when Brown makes life Hell on a guy who comes to the club to impress a girl but doesn't have enough cash to pay for what she wants. I think most people are going to be checking this film out to get a glimpse of Miller and she's certainly very easy on the eyes. Her acting range really impressed me as she came off quite natural and I thought she was very believable as the girl dreaming for something big. I thought her dancing scenes were terrific and her comic timing was able to match Brown's and the two appear to be having fun together. The strange thing is that I wasn't overly impressed with her voice, which is something most other reviewers really praised. It wasn't horrible but I just didn't really get into it. The film was originally released in 2-strip Technicolor but sadly that version has gone missing so we're left with a B&W print that features the only remaining color footage, which lasts around three-minutes. It's a real shame that the color stuff is missing but the footage that does survive is in pretty rough shape but then again the B&W print is in tough shape.