Based on J. P. McEvoy's novel Hollywood Girl, a Broadway understudy goes to Hollywood and stars in a musical picture.
A musical play by Jimmy Doyle (Jack Mulhall) closed after two weeks. He takes understudy Dixie Dugan (Alice White) to a nightclub, and she sings "I've Got My Eye on You" for Hollywood producer Frank Buelow (John Miljan), who offers her a contract in Hollywood. Jimmy wants to marry Dixie, but she goes to Hollywood.
She calls on movie producer Sam Otis (Ford Sterling), who says Buelow has promised too many girls and that she should go back to New York. Buelow invites Dixie to his house, but she prefers the studio in the day time. The next day Buelow learns Otis fired him. Dixie recognizes Donny Harris (Blanche Sweet), who invites her to her home. Donny at 32 is too old and is no longer a star. She sings "There's a Tear for Every Smile in Hollywood." Donny calls Buelow, but he has her, Mrs. Buelow, told he is in New York. Dixie learns Buelow is no longer at the studio and sends Jimmy a telegram asking for fare back to New York. Otis decides to test Dixie for a part, and she sends another telegram to say she's staying. Then Otis is told that Doyle's play flopped in New York, and she learns it's off. Otis gets the movie rights from Doyle at low cost. Jimmy arrives and insists on starring Dixie; Otis argues he has a girl and realizes it is Dixie.
Dixie rehearses a production number, quarrels with Jimmy and goes to lunch, where she is treated like a star and meets Buelow, who criticizes her director. Dixie is late and tells Jimmy she wants changes in the story. She tells Otis she demands a new director, because Kramer wants hysterics. While she is arguing with Jimmy, she learns the production is canceled, becoming hysterically angry. Dixie tells Donny that Buelow made her an offer. Donny informs her she has been married to him for twelve years. Jimmy overhears Buelow saying he put Dixie up to it, and he slugs him. Donny tells her driver she's not going to the studio anymore. Jimmy tells Dixie he's going back to New York. Donny calls Dixie and tells her she is in pain, going away and not coming back. Jimmy and Dixie break in the window to find Donny unconscious. Donny says she lost her chance. As the doctor treats her, Dixie blames herself and vows to change. At the premiere of Dixie's movie stars appear, including Donny. In the last reel of the film Dixie sings "Hang On to a Rainbow." Then she announces that she and Jimmy are getting married.
This film shows that behind the stars at the studio can be dashed hopes, false promises, and short careers.