Discovery by Flo Ziegfeld changes a girl’s life but not necessarily for the better as three beautiful women find out when they join the spectacle on Broadway: Susan, the singer who must leave behind her aging vaudevillian father; vulnerable Sheila, the working girl pursued both by a millionaire and by her loyal boyfriend from Flatbush; and the mysterious European beauty Sandra, whose concert violinist husband cannot endure the thought of their escaping from poverty by promenading her glamor in skimpy costumes. —IMDb
Robert Z. “Pop” Leonard was a highly successful contract director at MGM, to such extent that critical appreciation of his work is practically nonexistent or of a negative kind. Nevertheless, the transparency of Leonard’s work conceals a skilled and talented artisan of the highest order, and several of his films rate as classics and remain popular favorites decades after they were made. Born in Chicago, Leonard began as a stage actor, making his film debut in 1908 at the Selig Polyscope studios in Chicago; his directing career began in 1913 at Rex, a former independent then operating as a unit within Universal. Leonard’s early films were comedies, often starring Leonard himself as a “boob” or an ethnic Swedish caricature. From the time vaudeville star Mae Murray arrived in Hollywood in 1916, Leonard gradually became her principal director, he abandoned his own career as a movie actor by 1918, but did make unbilled cameo appearances in later films.
Murray’s headstrong behavior and… read more
American director/choreographer Busby Berkeley made his stage debut at five, acting in the company of his performing family. During World War I, Berkeley served as a field artillery lieutenant, where he learned the intricacies of drilling and disciplining large groups of people. During the 1920s, Berkeley was a dance director for nearly two dozen Broadway musicals, including such hits as A Connecticut Yankee. As a choreographer, Berkeley was less concerned with the terpsichorean skill of his chorus girls as he was with their ability to form themselves into attractive geometric patterns. His musical numbers were among the largest and best-regimented on Broadway. The only way they’d get any larger was if Berkeley moved to films, which he did the moment films learned to talk. His earliest movie gigs were on Sam Goldwyn’s Eddie Cantor musicals, where he began developing such techniques as “individualizing” each chorus girl with a loving close-up, and moving his dancers all over the stage… read more