A chambermaid impersonates the fictional subject of a composite photo that won a beauty contest, with whom a famed aviator falls in love.A chambermaid impersonates the fictional subject of a composite photo that won a beauty contest, with whom a famed aviator falls in love.A chambermaid impersonates the fictional subject of a composite photo that won a beauty contest, with whom a famed aviator falls in love.
Plot summary: Loretta (Marion Davies) is a country girl from Red Hook arriving in New York City's busy Grand Central train terminal where, after given some guidance from Mr. Kimball (Harry Beresford), a traveler's aide, and only $27 to her name, comes to the Park Regis Hotel where she interviews herself to Mr. Yates (Berton Churchill), the assistant hotel manager, for a job. Loretta becomes the hotel's chambermaid and teams with Betty (Patsy Kelly) cleaning rooms and assisting guests. Her first good deed goes to Chick Wiley (Pat O'Brien), a promoter, and Ed Olsen (Frank McHugh), his assistant, of Room 1762, down on their luck and four weeks behind their bill. Believing they are hungry, Loretta offers them a rejected meal from one of the other guests which turns out to be dog food. Gladys (Mary Astor), a hard-working secretary and Ed's love interest, tries her best to assist in their lack of creativity to get themselves back into business. Upon reading a full page ad in a magazine for the submission of a photograph for the most beautiful girl in the world, Ed schemes up a publicity stunt by sending a composite photo of a fictional girl he names "Dawn Glory" in hope of winning the $2500 grand prize. Much to everyone's surprise, Chick wins, but is unable to produce the girl he's promoting to Slattery Hawkshaw (Lyle Talbot), a reporter for the Express insisting on an interview with Chick's Wonder Girl. It is only when Loretta, after beautifying herself at the beauty parlor, puts on the Miss Glory Silhouette Dress does the homely chambermaid become the new American Beauty. As fate would have it, Loretta, known to all as Miss Glory, is proposed marriage by Bingo Nelson (Dick Powell) over the radio only after having seen her photograph but never met her personally (except earlier at the hotel as a chambermaid). Though Loretta is madly in love with Bingo, her life gets a turnaround when she's abducted by hired thugs, Petey (Allen Jenkins) and Blackie (Barton MacLane), out for some ransom money.
Also in the large assortment of Warners stock players are Joseph Cawthorn and Al Shean playing a couple of heavily accented rival businessmen; Lionel Stander (Nick, a Russian accented wrestler employed in the hotel baggage room); Hobart Cavanaugh (Kimball); and in smaller roles, Helen Lowell, E.E. Clive, Gavin Gordon, Irving Bacon and Jonathan Hale. Very much a straightforward comedy, the title song of "Page Miss Glory" (by Al Dubin and Harry Warren) is first heard briefly by an uncredited vocalist at a night club before Miss Glory has her daydreaming fantasy moment staring directly into the picture frame of Bingo (Powell) to come to life and sing the song directly to her.
Though PAGE MISS GLORY gets off to a great start, it grows tiresome by the time it reaches its 93 minute conclusion. As usual, the cast does its best in what they do, namely Pat O'Brien as a scheming promoter; Dick Powell appearing in pilot's uniform throughout the story; the serious-minded Mary Astor, among the many others in this all-star cast. In conclusion, PAGE MISS GLORY very much belongs to Marion Davies alone. She's has some very fine moments, especially during the first half of the story during her amusingly fish-out-of-water hillbilly type in the big city to unexpectedly become an American Beauty.
Never distributed to home video, PAGE MISS GLORY had its moments of glory when first broadcast on Turner Network Television (1989) before becoming a more permanent fixture on Turner Classic Movies cable channel. (***)
- May 21, 2017