Peggy Martin (Marilyn Monroe) and her mother May (Adele Jergens) are chorus girls in a burlesque show. When the star of the show, Bubbles LaRue, quits, May encourages Peg to take a chance and do a solo number.
Peg takes the stage, and she’s a hit, soon given the starring role in the show. But could her job have a negative impact on her future? It might, when she falls for a society man (Rand Brooks) whose social circle would never accept a burlesque performer into its ranks.
Ladies of the Chorus was directed by Phil Karlson. The film was written by Harry Sauber and Joseph Carole.
When this film aired during Summer Under the Stars, TCM referred to it as Marilyn Monroe’s first major role. Her performance here is quite earnest, as a young chorus girl performing alongside her overprotective mother.
Monroe’s voice sounds deeper and more natural than the voice she would use later in her career, and the character is sweet but scrappy. It makes for a nice early entry into her filmography.
Adele Jergens is another highlight of the cast, giving a strong performance as well-meaning mother Mae.
The film is well paced, with some nice songs. The opening song-and-dance is fun, with its glittering costumes. Some of the musical numbers are also pretty amusing for their lyrical content, namely Monroe’s sugar baby anthem, in which she sings, “Every baby needs a da-da-daddy! Could my da-daddy be you?”
The story involves a mild conflict stemming from Peg’s romance with a high-society fella, so there isn’t a whole lot of serious drama or intrigue here. Still, Ladies of the Chorus makes for cute romantic-musical fluff. Worth a look.