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Glorifying the American Girl (December 7, 1929)

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Glorifying the American Girl
 

Released on December 7, 1929: The story of the rise of showgirl Gloria Hughes to become the center of a Ziegfeld Follies production, with appearances by Ziegfeld, Eddie Cantor, Rudy Vallee and more.

Produced by Montana Bell

Directed by Millard Webb

The Actors: Mary Eaton (Gloria Hughes), Helen Morgan (herself, in the Revue scenes), Eddie Cantor (himself, suit salesman), Rudy Vallee (himself, in the Revue scenes), Dan Healy (Miller) Kaye Renard (Mooney), Edward Crandall (Buddy Moore, piano player in sheet music store), Gloria Shea (Barbara), Sarah Edwards (Mrs. Hughes), Singing and Dancing Chorus of Seventy-Five Glorified Beauties (themselves - the Ziegfeld girls), Noah Beery (himself), Irving Berlin (himself), Norman Brokenshire (the narrator), Billie Burke (herself), Desha Delteil (dancer in the bubble-dance sequence), Charles B. Dillingham (himself), Texas Guinan (herself), Otto Kahn (himself as a big-shot banker), Nancy Kelly (young child), Ring Lardner (himself), Bull Montana (the customer requesting 'Baby Face'), Tony Sansone (Harkrider's finale revue), Louis Sorin (the tailor's assistant), Jimmy Walker (himself), Johnny Weissmuller (Adonis in the Loveland segment), Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. (himself), Adolph Zukor (himself)

 

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The Stars, the Story and the Show

The Great Depression began on 29 October of 1929, but for a decade leading up to that day of disaster America was enjoying the Roaring Twenties. Alcohol was illegal, so of course there was plenty to be had in speakeasies and secret nightclubs. Life was fun, with bigger-than-life gangsters provided all of the booze, gambling and women that our growing country desired.

This movie is an amazing time-capsule of those final glorious days. If you thought that Las Vegas invented glamourous shows with dozens of pretty girls in amazing costumes dancing seductively on stage, you should know that New York theaters were producing extravaganza performaces in the 1920's. During the Roaring Twenties Florenz Ziegfeld produced shows on Broadway that included the best dancers, singers and comedians of the day.

In this ‘almost documentary-style’ story you will experience a Ziegfeld show with the real dancers, singers and comedians of 1929. To turn the stage show into a movie, the writers precede the show with the story about a young blonde girl working her way from being a department store clerk to the centerpiece dancer and singer of the Ziegfeld Follies show of 1929. You will see Irving Berlin, Eddie Cantor, Rudy Vallee, Johnny Weissmuller and more, including ‘her.’

She was 29 years old in 1929 when this movie was filmed. While Vaudeville and Broadway performers were tap dancing, smiling, swinging and singing happy songs of frivolity and good times, she sang dark, sad, blues songs with a sultry voice that made gangsters bawl like babies. She was so popular with the biggest gangsters of Chicago that they financed her in her own speakeasy nightclubs on her way to fame on Broadway and Vaudeville. Helen Morgan was performing in the Broadway performance of Show Boat, and her performance of ‘What Wouldn’t I Do for That Man’ in this movie might be the only surviving full performance of a Helen Morgan song on film. The booze of her early days with the bootleggers stayed with her until her death caused by a liver destroyed by alcohol when she was forty-one years old.

By the time this movie opened in theaters around the country the Roaring Twenties were entering the first days of the poverty-filled Great Depression years, and this story stands as one last ‘hurrah’ for the fun-filled happy-go-lucky days. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter over it and enjoy the show.

Zeigfeld Follies dancer
Zeigfeld Follies dancer
Adolph Zukor
Adolph Zukor
An actress with Bull Montana
An actress with Bull Montana
Dan Healy and Mary Eaton
Dan Healy and Mary Eaton
Desha Delteil
Desha Delteil
Desha Delteil
Desha Delteil
Eddie Cantor
Eddie Cantor
Eddie Cantor
Eddie Cantor
Edward Crandall
Edward Crandall
Edward Crandall and Gloria Shea
Edward Crandall and Gloria Shea
Edward Crandall and Gloria Shea
Edward Crandall and Gloria Shea
Edward Crandall and Mary Eaton
Edward Crandall and Mary Eaton
Edward Crandall and Mary Eaton
Edward Crandall and Mary Eaton
Edward Crandall and Mary Eaton
Edward Crandall and Mary Eaton
Edward Crandall
Edward Crandall
Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. and Billie Burke
Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. and Billie Burke
Gloria Shea
Gloria Shea
Gloria Shea and Edward Crandall
Gloria Shea and Edward Crandall
Gloria Shea
Gloria Shea
Helen Morgan
Helen Morgan
Kaye Renard and Dan Healy
Kaye Renard and Dan Healy
Mary Eaton
Mary Eaton
Mary Eaton and Sarah Edwards
Mary Eaton and Sarah Edwards
Mary Eaton
Mary Eaton
Mary Eaton
Mary Eaton
Mary Eaton
Mary Eaton
New York Mayor Jimmy Walker and wife
New York Mayor Jimmy Walker and wife
Radio announcer Norman Brokenshire
Radio announcer Norman Brokenshire
Rudy Vallee
Rudy Vallee
Sarah Edwards
Sarah Edwards
Sarah Edwards, Dan Healy and Mary Eaton
Sarah Edwards, Dan Healy and Mary Eaton
Sarah Edwards
Sarah Edwards