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   LADY OF BURLESQUE (1943) 

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CAST
Barbara Stanwyck
Michael O'Shea
J. Edward Bromberg
Charles Dingle
Frank Conroy
Gloria Dickson
Marion Martin
Iris Adrian
Victoria Faust
Pinky Lee

DIRECTED BY
William Wellman

PURCHASE


DVD




Time: 91 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Genre: Comedy/Mystery/Musical

Academy Award nomination for Best Comedy Score.

Stanwyck has the sassy intelligence but not the uninhibited sexuality to pull off the title role in this humorous murder mystery. Filled with scantily clad ladies, witty one-liners and a slue of sudden slayings, BURLESQUE uses its' obvious eye candy to take the horror out of the proceedings. As the new girl on the block, Dixie Daisy is forced to use her brains to help solve the violent murders of her fellow performers, which through much coincidence seem to pinpoint her as the killer. Since that can't be true, it doesn't take long for Daisy to seek out the real perpetrator in order to clear her name and end the terror before she becomes the next victim. In the midst of the murder and mayhem, she also finds the time to win the heart of her onstage partner, comedian Biff Brannigan (O'Shea). While she appreciates his help, she's not exactly bowled over by his romantic administrations, since she believes all comedians are worthless bums. In the end, Daisy's hunch proves correct, though her chutzpah places her directly into the hands of the killer. When Biff comes to the rescue, he not only saves her life, he melts her heart.

There are plenty of entertaining and suspenseful moments in this film, however, the mixture of blatant sexuality, bawdy humor and brutal crime doesn't quite blend together smoothly. The one thing that should add a sense of fun to the picture – the musical numbers – is the main thing that drags it down. Though an interesting look into the long-gone world of burlesque, the stage sequences slow down the plot and are far from sexy due to Stanwyck's stiffness with the material. Singing and dancing are clearly not her forté, which is somewhat believable given that her customers are paying to see her half-naked body not listen to her belt out the latest tune; however, her lack of enthusiasm while onstage temporarily takes all the energy out the proceedings. All things considered, though blatantly risque, the film actually has a fairly complex plot that keeps you guessing until the end. (That being said, perhaps all the half-naked showgirls merely distract one from really trying to figure it all out.) Stanwyck's at her best when she's allowed to be bitchy and this film gives her plenty of chances to be sarcastic and superior. She may be just a showgirl, but her name is at the top of the bill. While not an outstanding performance, fans will find enough sass and humor to make the visit worthwhile.




"If we knew all the motives in murder cases, Ms. Daisy, then there'd be no mysteries."

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