LADIES OF THE CHORUS
(director: Phil Karlson; screenwriters: story by Harry Sauber/Joseph Carole; cinematographer: Frank Redman; editor: Richard Fantl; music: Mischa Bakaleinikoff; cast: Adele Jergens (Mae Martin), Marilyn Monroe (Peggy Martin), Rand Brooks (Randy Carroll), Dave Barry (Ripple), Eddie Garr (Uncle Billie), Nana Bryant (Mrs. Carroll ), Marjorie Hoshelle (Bubbles), Dave Barry (Designer); Runtime: 61; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Harry A. Romm; Columbia Pictures; 1949)
“Of interest only to fans of Marilyn.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The film is noted for being Marilyn Monroe’s first starring role in just her second film. Phil Karlson (“Phenix City Story,”1955/”99 River Street,”1953) directs this routine programmer musical/love story about a girl in a burlesque show who falls in love with a wealthy patron of burlesque. It is based on a story by Harry Sauber and scripted by Joseph Carole. Columbia tore up her contract of only six months shortly after the film’s release, and it was the only film she made for the studio. Ironically Marilyn got good reviews.
Marilyn stars as Peggy Martin, a second-generation showgirl who listens to her chorus girl mom Mae Martin (Adele Jergens) as she advises her about the business. When the star hoofer of the burlesque show, Bubbles (Marjorie Hoshelle), suddenly walks out after a fight with Marilyn, Peggy steps out of the chorus line and becomes a star. Mom’s main aim in life is to keep the wolves away away from her naive daughter. She especially warns her about wealthy socialite Randy Carroll (Rand Brooks), a heart-breaker. Mother just wants to make sure that her daughter doesn’t make the same mistakes she did. But Marilyn nevertheless falls in love with the charmer and seems to be heading down the same road as mom, except this wolf really wants to marry her.
Eddie Garr, who plays a burlesque comedian, is the father of actress Teri Garr.
The story is formulaic and hardly stirs up anything remotely interesting. Marilyn sings “Every Baby Needs a Da Da Daddy” and “Anyone Can Tell I Love You.” But neither the music nor Marilyn can save this stilted tale, a low-budget film shot in two weeks. Of interest only to fans of Marilyn.
REVIEWED ON 2/5/2004 GRADE: C-