One year, one film: 1929 – Glorifying the American Girl

One year, one film: 1929

The film:
Glorifying the American Girl, dir. John Harkrider & Millard Webb
starring Mary Eaton, Edward Crandall, Dan Healy

Rating:
Recommended | Highly Recommended | MUST-SEE

(Image via art.com)
(Image via art.com)

Glorifying the American Girl was one of my favorite discoveries of 2014, and I wrote a four-star review of it after watching.

It tells the story of Gloria Hughes, a woman with big dreams of stardom in the “Big Apple” Follies. While waiting for her break, she works in the music department of a store, singing songs to promote the sale of sheet music.

When vaudeville performer Danny Miller pegs Gloria as his new partner, she jumps at the chance to make her dreams come true… but Danny’s intentions aren’t good. He’s interested in her romantically and cares little about her career goals.

The film stars Mary Eaton as Gloria and Dan Healy as Danny Miller. Interesting cinematography (including the use of double exposures), very natural performances, and wonderful musical numbers make this film well worth a watch.

But did the reviewers of 1929 agree with my high opinions of the film?

Mourdant Hall, of course, disagrees with me regarding the film’s enjoyability. If there’s one thing we’re learning from this project so far, it’s that Mourdant Hall would have been my nemesis, had I been a film reviewer in the silent/talkie era. (His opinions have differed from mine on three of the five films featured in “One year, one film” so far!)

We do agree on the typicality of the film’s plot: “Miss Hughes is another of those brilliant shop girls who eventually succeed in winning recognition on a Broadway stage,” Hall writes, pointing to the fact that already by the late ’20s, dozens of stories of the search for fame had been told on screen. For Hall, this seems to ruin the film, while I found the talent and musical staging good enough to make the film rise above its typicality.

While this critic may not have been crazy about the film, Paramount was certainly confident in it, calling it a “super-show” in a December 1929 Picture Play advertisement. And a super show it is, in my book.

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