Torch Singer (1933)

Passed   |    |  Drama, Musical, Romance

Torch Singer (1933) Poster

When she can't support her illegitimate child, an abandoned young woman puts her up for adoption and pursues a career as a torch singer.


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18 April 2004 | Ron Oliver
| Soapy Showcase For Colbert
An unwed TORCH SINGER uses her children's radio show to search for her illegitimate daughter.

Claudette Colbert has a fine time in this Pre-Code melodrama playing a distraught female who covers up for the necessary separation from her child by embracing a life of empty decadence. While highly fanciful--the heroine is both sultry nightclub chanteuse and kindly kiddy radio hostess--the plot is still most enjoyable, with Colbert wringing every bit of pathos from her character's plight.

Ricardo Cortez plays the refreshingly decent producer who assists Colbert to become a celebrity. David Manners ably plays her long-lost lover. Peppery Lydia Roberti is most enjoyable as a high-spirited young mother; her character is sorely missed when she disappears early in the film. Old Charley Grapewin adds some spark as the flirtatious breakfast cereal tycoon who sponsors Miss Colbert's radio show.

A quartet of character actresses lend able support in small roles: Florence Roberts as a sympathetic nun; Virginia Hammond as Grapewin's suspicious wife; Mildred Washington as Miss Colbert's energetic maid; and aristocratic Ethel Griffies as Manners' inflexible aunt. Baby LeRoy, nemesis of W.C. Fields, appears in only one scene as Miss Roberti's infant son.

Movie mavens will recognize unbilled Scots actress Margaret Mann as a nanny.

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