“Three people get crowded at a table for two.”
When ambitious burlesque dancer Lolita La Verne (Victoria Faust) is murdered, her gangster lover (Gerald Mohr) as well as all her fellow performers — including new arrival Dixie Daisy (Barbara Stanwyck), a comic romantically pursuing Dixie (Michael O’Shea), and a snooty rival known as the Princess Nirvena (Stephanie Bachelor) — are under suspicion.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Amateur Sleuths
- Barbara Stanwyck Films
- Murder Mystery
- Vaudeville and Burlesque
- William Wellman Films
Barbara Stanwyck is a class act the entire way in this censor-tamed adaptation of Gypsy Rose Lee‘s best-selling mystery thriller The G-String Murders (whose title, naturally, was changed for the big screen). The storyline itself is little more than a standard whodunit, with nearly all the film’s motley characters under suspicion at one point or another (and a second murder thrown in for good measure). What really counts here is the setting in which the entire affair takes place — a relatively faithful if highly sanitized recreation of the behind-the-scenes mayhem, camaraderie, romance, and rivalry that constituted the rapidly fading world of burlesque. Directed by William Wellman (who helmed the much more serious literary adaptation The Ox-Bow Incident the same year), the film holds interest throughout, thanks to a sincere performance by Stanwyck and game turns by the supporting cast. You may be surprised by the identity of the murderer — though I’ll admit I guessed correctly for once (albeit without an accurate assessment of motive).
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Barbara Stanwyck as Dixie Daisy
- A fine tribute to the quickly-fading world of burlesque
No, though it’s recommended. As a public domain title, it’s available for free viewing at www.archive.org.