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The Helen Morgan Story

Warner's feature is little more than a tuneful soap opera, another in what appears to be a growing series of boozy biopix of showbiz greats. [A Playhouse 90 version of the same story, starring Polly Bergen, was shown on TV a few months before pic's release.] On the studio schedule for a long time, the production finally emerges as the product of four screenwriters, who have taken some of the legends and some of the realities of the Roaring '20s and loosely attributed all of them to La Morgan.

With:
Ann Blyth Paul Newman Richard Carlson Gene Evans Alan King Cara Williams

Warner’s feature is little more than a tuneful soap opera, another in what appears to be a growing series of boozy biopix of showbiz greats. [A Playhouse 90 version of the same story, starring Polly Bergen, was shown on TV a few months before pic’s release.] On the studio schedule for a long time, the production finally emerges as the product of four screenwriters, who have taken some of the legends and some of the realities of the Roaring ’20s and loosely attributed all of them to La Morgan.

The story line sometimes strains credulity and the dialogue situations occasionally give the production a cornball flavor. Overall plot of a woman in love with a heel is best exemplified by the fadeout shot on the song ‘Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man.’

Morgan (Ann Blyth) comes to Chicago to seek a career. She gets her start, both professionally and romantically, with Larry (Paul Newman), a shady operator, and his desertion of her after one night sets the pattern of his domination of her career. When he comes back into her life to prey upon her friendship for attorney Wade (Richard Carlson), she takes to the bottle for solace.

Director Michael Curtiz has done a good job with the material at hand, injecting a pacing and bits of business that help maintain interest, and the production gets added benefit from a series of hit tunes of the era, excellently sung offscreen by Gogi Grant. Blyth turns in a sympathetic but not always convincing performance. Newman is very good as the rackets guy, giving the part authority and credibility.

The Helen Morgan Story

Production: Warner. Dir Michael Curtiz; Producer Martin Rackin; Screenplay Oscar Saul, Dean Riesner, Stephen Longstreet, Nelson Gidding; Camera Ted McCord; Editor Frank Bracht Art Dir John Beckman

Crew: (B&W) Widescreen. Extract of a review from 1957. Running time: 117 MIN.

With: Ann Blyth Paul Newman Richard Carlson Gene Evans Alan King Cara Williams

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