Review: ‘Star Dust’

Ivan Kahn, talent digger-upper for 20th-Fox, was one of the co-authors of the original story, and no doubt he incorporated many of his experiences in seeking new film faces in the hinterlands. The yarn about Linda Darnell's experiences in getting a bid to Hollywood for a test, the resultant turndown because she is too young, and eventual connivance to stay and click in her first picture, closely parallels her experiences in real life.

Ivan Kahn, talent digger-upper for 20th-Fox, was one of the co-authors of the original story, and no doubt he incorporated many of his experiences in seeking new film faces in the hinterlands. The yarn about Linda Darnell’s experiences in getting a bid to Hollywood for a test, the resultant turndown because she is too young, and eventual connivance to stay and click in her first picture, closely parallels her experiences in real life.

Darnell displays a wealth of youthful charm and personality. She handles her assignment in topnotch style. John Payne surprises with a crackerjack performance as the grid star unearthed by the talent tractor and eventually scooted along for a test. He and Darnell are the romantic interest.

Roland Young, Charlotte Greenwood and Donald Meek effectively carry comedy assignments. Young is the faded film star turned talent scout, hitting the southwest college campuses. Greenwood provides a slick characterization of the dramatic coach. Meek is the studio casting director who tries to blow down the efforts of Young and Greenwood to put Darnell across.

The picture takes good-natured cracks at Darryl Zanuck’s rapid-fire delivery while in story conference or deciding on a casting assignment. William Gargan, as the producing head, realistically imitates the striding and shortened mallet-swinging performances of Zanuck in one brief office sequence.

Star Dust

Production

20th Century-Fox. Director Walter Lang; Producer Kenneth MacGowan; Screenplay Robert Ellis, Helen Logan; Camera Peverell Marley; Editor Robert Simpson; Music Mack Gordon; Art Director Richard Day, Albert Hogsett

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1940. Running time: 84 MIN.

With

Linda Darnell John Payne Roland Young Charlotte Greenwood William Gargan Donald Meek
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