Despite being both Mamoulian's debut for the cinema and a very early talkie, this deeply affecting tale of Stella Dallas-style maternal self-sacrifice transcends its sentimental shortcomings through the fluency of direction that was to become Mamoulian's trademark. As Helen Morgan's ageing burlesque queen steadily progresses towards giving up everything - even her life - for her convent-educated daughter (Peers), Mamoulian pulls out all the stops, employing unusually mobile expressionist camerawork to convey a wealth of detail in his portrait of the seedy backstage realities of the vaudeville world. Pacy, concise and innovative, the film also benefits from a truly magnificent performance from torch-singer Morgan.
Cast and crew
Fuller Mellish Jr