Movie Mirrors Index

Going Hollywood

(1933 b 78')

En: 6 Ed: 5

A young French teacher follows a singer to Hollywood to win his love and ends up starring in his picture.

Sylvia Bruce (Marion Davies) is dissatisfied teaching French in a prudish school and gets in trouble for saying what she thinks and listening to the radio. She wants music, love, and life, and leaves to find them. His publicity agent wakes up Bill Williams (Bing Crosby), who sings "Beautiful Girl." Sylvia comes to thank him for his song on the radio. Bill is given a big send-off at the train station as they sing "Going Hollywood." Ernest Baker (Stuart Erwin) is financing the picture and wants movies to be art instead of business. On the train Sylvia corrects Bill's French and tells him she loves him. Needing money, she gets a job as Lili's maid and drinks with Ernest. The French Lili (Fifi D'Orsay) is the star of the picture and Bill's girlfriend. She and Sylvia soon quarrel over Bill.

In Hollywood Sylvia moves in with Jill (Patsy Kelly). Sylvia has a dream in which Bill sings, "We'll make hay while the sun shines; we'll make love when it rains." Disguised in black face, Sylvia tells Bill he won't marry the foreigner but a blonde, saying Lili is awful. Lili threatens to leave the picture if Sylvia is not removed from the set. Sylvia asks Ernest to give her and Jill jobs as extras. Lili complains again and quits, though Bill mollifies her. During a break the electricians satirize radio programs. Then Sylvia imitates Lili. Lili and Sylvia fight, and Lili gets a black eye. Ernest takes control of the picture and puts Sylvia in the main role. She does well and goes out with Bill, but she declines to go to his apartment. Later she takes daisies and from the hall can hear him singing to Lili. The director Bert Conroy (Ned Sparks) reprimands Bill for missing a day of shooting. Sylvia tells Bill that everything in Hollywood is fake, including the people. He gets drunk, and in a bar he gets a message he will be replaced. Sylvia finds Bill with Lili and asks him to come back with her. However, Lili gives him another drink, and he sings to her "You Were Temptation." Bill is replaced in the picture, but in the final scene of the movie he returns singing, "Our Big Love Scene Is Real."

Some fine songs highlight this story of the temperamental star replaced by the young and hungry girl in both career and romance. The wit of Jill, the frustration of Conroy, the sincerity of Ernest, and the electricians' radio satire tend to outshine the main plot, showing that it's not always the stars that carry the picture. Sometimes the picture carries them.

Copyright © 1999 by Sanderson Beck

Movie Mirrors Index

BECK index