The Star Maker

  • 1939
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Biography, Musical

The life of Gus Edwards--who discovered such talents as Eddie Cantor, Eleanor Powell, Mae Murray, George Jessel, Walter Winchell, Sally Rand, Bert Wheeler, Georgie Price, Ray Bolger, and Jack Pearl--is highly fictionalized in this contrived tale that bears little resemblance to the career of the real Edwards, whose name is changed here to Larry Earl. Larry...read more

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The life of Gus Edwards--who discovered such talents as Eddie Cantor, Eleanor Powell, Mae Murray, George Jessel, Walter Winchell, Sally Rand, Bert Wheeler, Georgie Price, Ray Bolger, and Jack Pearl--is highly fictionalized in this contrived tale that bears little resemblance to the career

of the real Edwards, whose name is changed here to Larry Earl. Larry (Bing Crosby), a singer-songwriter who has yet to find his break, gives up his musical ambitions, marries Jane Gray (Linda Ware), and settles down to work in a department store, but is soon dissatisfied with floor-walking and

goes for the bright lights once more. Hitting upon the idea of assembling a performing troupe of kids, he finds a sextet of local newsboys, rehearses them into a finely tuned act, and persuades impresario Proctor (Thurston Hall) to feature them in one of his revues. They are an instant hit, and

Edwards hires more children and eventually has several shows operating. When the Bureau of Child Welfare steps in and tells him that these kids cannot work after 8 p.m., Edwards' fortunes wane--until he realizes that his troupes can perform on radio without violating child labor laws. That's about

it for the plot, but there are many songs to fill the running time. Johnny Burke and James Monaco wrote "Go Fly a Kite," "A Man and His Dream," "Still the Bluebird Sings," and "An Apple for the Teacher." "School Days" and "If I Were a Millionaire" came from the pens of Gus Edwards and Will Cobb.

Edwards collaborated with Edward Madden on "Jimmy Valentine" and with Robert H. Smith on "Sunbonnet Sue." The classic commercial "In My Merry Oldsmobile" was also heard. Of the child actors, the best was Linda Ware. Famed conductor Walter Damrosch plays himself as he conducts the Los Angeles

Philharmonic; comedy is provided by Ned Sparks in his usual long-faced role.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: The life of Gus Edwards--who discovered such talents as Eddie Cantor, Eleanor Powell, Mae Murray, George Jessel, Walter Winchell, Sally Rand, Bert Wheeler, Georgie Price, Ray Bolger, and Jack Pearl--is highly fictionalized in this contrived tale that bears… (more)

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