29 January 2012 | drednm
Bebe Daniels Is Sensational
The story isn't all that great, but Bebe Daniels is sensational as the showgirl stranded in some hellhole where she works in a cantina as a singer. A ship docks and the sailors pour into the bar buying drinks for the girls. But after Bebe (as Peggy) sings a number, she attracts the attention of a jaded sailor (Lloyd Hughes) and they hit it off. Meanwhile, the local queen bee, Carlotta (Alma Tell) is two-timing the local honcho (Montagu Love) and gets caught. He throws her over and takes a shine to Bebe when he hears her singing in the garden.
Love has plans for Bebe and lures her out to a fiesta with the promise of letting her sing. Hughes gets the wrong idea and bails but is arrested by Love and deported. He comes back just as Love is about to close in on Bebe. Not much of a plot, but it's serviceable.
Daniels, in her follow-up to the smash hit RIO RITA is terrific as the wisecracking Peggy. She also sings a nice song called "Until Love Comes Along" and a few others by Oscar Levant and Sidney Clare. She sings this about 3 times and the final rendition (sung live) is quite moving. Hughes was a fairly big star in silents and is pretty good here and shows a decent singing voice, Love seems to be impersonating Noah Beery and overacts badly. Tell is lousy.
Others in the cast include Ned Sparks (with a monkey) as a drunken sailor and Lionel Bellmore as the treacherous cantina owner. Evelyn Selbie is Bianca.
Certainly worth a look (and listen) for the wonderful Bebe Daniels. Her opening song in nicely filmed by a roving camera and overhead mike as it follows her around the cantina.