Show Girl in Hollywood

Admission: $1.00

According to Miles Kreuger: “Despite its rather innocuous title, Show Girl in Hollywood is a surprising film in many ways. Its tale of a minor stage performer who succeeds on the screen is told with uncommon honesty and without the pretentious excesses of so many later behind-the-scenes Hollywood stories. Dixie is not characterized as a paragon of virtue who is mistreated by the heartless men of the movie factories. She is, in fact, treated quite well and reveals her own limitations as a human being through insecurity and a bloated sense of importance. Ironically, the very pitfalls which almost destroy Dixie's career in the film actually hastened the demise of Alice White's own career, when the studio found the ratio between her temperament and her talent too imbalanced on the negative side.

“The film is a remarkable document of movie-making techniques in the early days of talkies. There are detailed scenes showing the cinematographer roasting inside the ‘ice box' housing that retarded camera noise, sound engineers mixing and recording tracks, studio buildings with editors and others hard at work, and shots of Hollywood in its golden age.

“Most interesting is the character of Donny Harris, played so touchingly by Blanche Sweet. The tenderness with which Donny befriends the Hollywood newcomer and explains that after thirty a girl is finished because her youth is gone is presented with simplicity and restraint by Miss Sweet, whose appearance endows the musical with rare dignity. The moody, shadowy lighting during the sequence of Miss Sweet's attempted suicide are handled in the finest tradition of the silent screen and wed the past of cinema with the ‘present' as exemplified by the gaudy production numbers through which Miss White cavorts.

“The premiere of the film version of the fictional musical ‘Rainbow Girl,' and the finale itself were originally (not unfortunately in this print) in Technicolor. It is intriguing to see Ruby Keeler, who had created Dixie Dugan on the stage, as a fleeting guest in another star's version of the material. This one shot, incidentally, (was) Ruby Keeler's solitary screen appearance in color.”

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