5 May 2017 | boblipton
Early Universal Talky Weakened by Bad Line Readings
Mary Nolan decides to leave the hootchie-cootch show at the carnival -- there are some rather broad hints that the barker has been pimping her for half her take. She heads off to Spencerville, where she fascinates young William Janney, grandson of the town's founder, and then falls in love with the young, innocent fool. Everyone is excessively noble and you know it's going to end very badly.
The problem is that while Miss Nolan is beautiful -- sometimes the camera views her in close-up and she is amazing to look at -- she is terrible at line readings. The only set of emotions I believed was when she was trying to be cynically sarcastic, and then only intermittently.
In case you think I am picking on the gorgeous Miss Nolan, I should note that Janney seems whiny, and Claire McDowall (as Janney's mother) seems to be uncertain the people in the balcony can hear her. Only George Irving, as Janney's father, and Mae Busch, as Nolan's world-weary fellow cootch dancer, speak their lines well. Clearly at Universal, they were still learning to deal with the sound era.