Sunday, August 28, 2011
Glorifying the American Girl (1930)
"Broadway impresario Florenz Ziegfeld brought his legendary "Follies" to the silver screen in Glorifying the American Girl. The barely visible plotline concerns a virginal young miss (Mary Eaton) who aspires to greatness as a Follies girl. With stars in her eyes, she heads to New York, leaving her hometown boyfriend to fend for himself. Upon arriving in the Big Apple, our heroine links up with a two-bit dancer who offers to make her a star -- if only she'll let him make her, period. The greater part of the film is given over to a re-creation of a "typical" Follies production, replete with musical solos by Rudy Vallee and Helen Morgan and a sidesplitting comedy sketch with Eddie Cantor and Louis Sorin as a pair of kvetching Jewish tailors ("Vat's der idea uff calling me a damn fool in front uff der customers?" "So, it's a secret?"). From time to time, the camera cuts away to the many celebrities enjoying the show, including journalist Ring Lardner, nightclub doyenne Texas Guinan, New York mayor Jimmy Walker, Paramount Pictures head man Adolph Zukor, and Flo Ziegfeld himself, accompanied by his then-wife, Billie Burke. And yes, that's Johnny Weissmuller on-stage as a provocatively undraped "Nature Boy." As a bonus, the musical score was the handiwork of Irving Berlin. Originally filmed in Technicolor, Glorifying the American Girl is presently available only in black-and-white."