“I’ve gotta dance now… I’ve waited all my life for this opportunity, and I’m not going to let it get away from me!”
An aspiring dancer (Mary Eaton) leaves behind her small-town sweetheart (Edward Crandall) for a chance at fame in New York; meanwhile, her corrupt partner (Dan Healy) takes advantage of her, and her best friend (Gloria Shea) hopes Crandall will fall for her instead.
This early variation on the cinematic trope of marriage-versus-career — with an enormous dollop of “I want to be a star!” thrown in — received decidedly lukewarm reviews upon its release, for good reason. The performances are sub-par (most of the actors lean towards the over-emoting techniques of silent cinema), while the narrative is full of cliches — including a tepid “unrequited-love” triangle, an overbearing stage mother, and a lecherous Broadway cad. One scene in particular — in which poor Gloria Shea is run over by a car after being left behind by Crandall and Eaton — is so ridiculous it nearly approaches camp. Glorifying the American Girl is primarily notable these days for showcasing a handful of famous performers (including Eddie Cantor and Helen Morgan) in their prime, and for its cinematically innovative opening sequence; it’s too bad the rest of the film fails to live up to this early potential.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- The creative opening sequence, depicting streams of hopeful starlets heading across the United States towards New York
- The dazzling “Follies” finale