USA Today -
"Hiding microphones everywhere and getting outside for some magnificent time-capsule shots of New York City, Mamoulian's direction still triumphs."
Kitty Darling (Helen Morgan), a burlesque entertainer, fears the impact her lifestyle will have on her daughter April (Joan Peers), so she sends the girl to a convent for proper rearing. Years later, an adult April returns to her mother's life, and the two must forge a new relationship. Complications in the process arise when Kitty finds balancing motherhood and her fading career difficult, and April must fend off advances from her mother's lover at the same time she explores her first love. This musical drama fits nicely into the "backstage" musical and melodrama category, which explores the ups and downs of entertainers' lives when they're not performing, but the deft direction of Rouben Mamoulian helps the film exceed its place in the genre. Made just as American cinema begins to move from silent films to "talkies," Mamoulian manages to transform a soapy story into a sophisticated and moving portrait of the life of an aging performer who trades on her beauty. This heartrending musical possesses even more significance given its pre-code status - a film made prior to the institution of the self-censorship of sex, violence and other controversial content that began formally in 1934 and lasted until the late 1960s.
Musical Sequences |
Musicals / Music Videos