Tuesday, February 1, 2022


 Bing Crosby made countless movies during his 40 plus years in the cinema, and some of his movies that were quite good seem to have fallen through the cracks of time. One such movie was his 1939 effort The Star Maker. Bing made the movie at the time when his stardom was rising and rising. The film was made in Hollywood from May to July of 1939, and it had a quick premiere on August 25, 1939. The film was directed by Roy Del Ruth with new music written by Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van Heusen. The film was “suggested” by the life of Gus Edwards. Edwards was a German songwriter and vaudeville dancer who settled in New York and became a talent scout and produce of children’s revues. Among the children that Gus Edwards discovered was: George Jessel, Eddie Cantor, the Marx Brothers, and Eleanor Powell among countless others.

The movie opens at an orphanage which seems surprisingly happy. The kids are all happy because Bing (as Larry Earl) is there entertaining them with songs. He starts off the movie straight away by singing the song “Jimmy Valentine”. We find out he is there to woo one of the women that work there, played by Louise Campbell. For some reason to me, Campbell always reminded me of Mary Martin. After constantly asking her to marry him, she says yes. Little does she know what she is getting herself into. Bing, in strictly older days fashion, makes her quit her job, and yet he bounces around from job to job! Bing tries his hand at songwriting but that does not work out. Even with the young married couple not having any money, Bing still buys a piano they cannot afford.

His wife convinces him to go on a job interview finally, and as he is walking to the interview, he sees young children performing on the streets. Instantly Bing gets the idea to create a vaudeville act around the children. He brings all these children home without even going on his job interview. Bing tries to get an audition with a stage producer (Thurston Hall) but is unable to. Bing’s wife Mary is tired of him not getting anywhere so she takes it upon herself to hide in the car of the stage producer and talk to him. The producer is so impressed with Bing’s wife that he gives Bing and his kids a chance. On opening night, they sing the great song “Go Fly A Kite”. Bing and his troupe are a success. However, that is not enough for Bing. He is always thinking bigger and bigger!

Bing forms a production company and hires a publicity manager (Ned Sparks), who hates children. They get the idea to tour the country in a train and audition and set up acts all around the country. However, as Bing is reaching the apex of his career as a kiddie show producer, the Children’s Welfare Society gets involved. They will not allow children under twelves of age to perform after 10pm. The Society gets all his shows shut down, but Bing realizes he can use radio to showcase the talent of the children without the interference of the welfare group...


No comments:

Post a Comment