Sam Goldwyn brilliantly launches a new star in a not so brilliant vehicle. Anna Sten has beauty, glamour, charm, histrionic ability (although there are a couple of moments which seemed a bit beyond her), and s.a.
The script is a very free adaptation of Emile Zola’s famous novel. Much care is evident to make it as circumspect as possible and yet maintain its color and allure which is the basis of this transition of a Parisian gamine to music hall heights.
It ends on a tragic note with a suicide by the glorified gamine who takes this way out to reunite the two brothers, Phillips Holmes whom she loves, and Lionel Atwill, his maturer kin, who has coveted her and who subsequently patronizes her when the younger brother is transferred with his regiment to Algiers.
In between there is Richard Bennett as the great Greiner, the master showman, who decides to clay this new unglorified model into the toast of the revue halls.
Sten’s likening to Marlene Dietrich becomes inevitable. Her throaty manner of singing ‘That’s Love’ (the sole Rodgers-Hart song in the film) brings that home even more forcibly, apart from her light dialectic Teutonic brogue and the same general aura in personality. The Dorothy Arzner style of direction likewise recalls the Sternberg-Mamoulian technique employed in Dietrich’s behalf.