Stage Mother Film Details
Overview: A vaudeville star has to leave her daughter with her dead husband’s stuffy Boston parents while she makes a living. But when the daughter shows some talent, the mother become a stage mother and pushes her daughter into becoming a Bro
Tagline: Her life was all CAREER and no CARESSES
Review: When Phillips Holmes signed a contract with MGM at the end of 1932 he had had a very up and down career at Paramount. When he was good (ie “Stolen Heaven”) he was great, but when he was given a one dimensional role (ie “Confessions of a Co-Ed”) he didn’t have the ability to rise above the part. Even though he worked hard in 1933 (9 movies) he was obviously considered just another actor – he wasn’t even considered important enough to be given a reasonable part in MGM’s prestigious “Dinner at Eight”, being relegated to Madge Evan’s boyfriend, a part of only a few minutes screen time. Alice Brady, on the other hand, was having a wonderful professional year. She had been an ingenue in movie’s early days but after a few setbacks left the movies for the stage where she dazzled critics with her performances. By 1933 she was ready to give movies another go and in this one she played the title role a “stage mother” and her eccentric mannerisms were kept to a minimum. Life has not been kind to Kitty (Brady) – her first husband is killed during a high wire vaudeville act (Russell Hardie looks impossibly young – young enough to be her son, it is not a good look) and husband number two (Ted Healy) is divorced for being caught once too often in a chorus girl’s dressing room. She then pins all her hopes on her daughter, Shirley (O’Sullivan) who had been brought up by a puritanical aunt. If Warners had made the film it would have been a hard hitting expose of the real life of a young performer but MGM made Brady’s character sympathetic by giving her a lot of humour. She becomes a “stage mother”, pushing and prodding her daughter into dancing lessons that eventually pave the way to a Broadway show. As played by the fetching Maureen O’Sullivan, Shirley appears to have got by on her looks as her dancing in the big production number “Beautiful Girl” (Bing Crosby had a big hit with the song) is at best quite amateurish. You will definitely not mistake the dance routines for any that Busby Berkeley created!!! But Shirley’s heart has never been into “showbiz” and when she meets artist Warren (Franchot Tone) who has bought her childhood home, she soon dreams of wedding bells. That romance is quickly killed by Kitty, who is not above turning up at his parent’s home and demanding $10,000 to call the wedding off and she is also not above blackmailing the producer of Shirley’s current show into tearing up her 5 year contract so she will be free to star in “Rainbow Girl”!!! Kitty gets a taste of her own medicine when she and Shirley are forced to flee the country as some gangsters feel Shirley is getting too chummy with Broadway angel Al Dexter. It is on the continent that Shirley meets Lord Aylesworth (Phillips Holmes in a particularly thankless role that lasts only a few minutes) and finds out what the upper crust really thinks of her pushy parent. There is the usual showdown, in this case Shirley tearfully admits that she denied Kitty was her mother but just as quickly she is begging forgiveness as Kitty shows her a letter from Warren (that she had hidden!!!), where he confesses he will never stop loving her. A nice movie to watch on a rainy afternoon but not one you will remember.
Country: United States
Duration: 85 min
Genre: Drama, Musical, Romance
Also known as: Figlia d’arte,踊り子の母,Sådan är hon!,Stage Mother,Beijos por Dinheiro,Színházi mama,Danseuse étoile,A Atracção do Palco,Madres de bastidores madres de artistas