The Evolution Of A "Show Girl" 1926

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    "Footlights! Every girl in the world as some time or another has imagined herself looking over them at a spellbound audience." "But, before any girl can get on the stage, she must meet with some Manager's approval. The popular conception of a Theatrical Manager is something like this." Panning shot of a still cartoon showing a line of women in a waiting room all dressed up and presumably waiting for an audition. The women are all different shapes and sizes. Shot ends on a secretary at a desk typing (here the cartoon begins to animate.) Bell boy comes out of a doorway and ushers in the next applicant. A man sits at a desk, the woman walks in and sits down. He pats his knee and invites the woman to sit on it! The casting couch in operation! She turns away looking haughty and the manager pulls a lever to the "out" position. A trapdoor opens and the woman falls through it! We see her falling through various floors of the building and flying out of an open window at the bottom of the building. Another woman comes in and stands by the desk looking coy. She leans on the desk and gives the Manager a big kiss on the top of his bald head.

    "Having established friendly relations, our Showman of fiction is now in a mood to talk business." The showgirl is now sitting on his lap. He gives her a signed contract. "It is hereby agreed that we employ Miss Jane Gacit as star at a salary of One Thousand Pounds per week." The contract is signed by "I'll Showem." The bellboy shows her out. "Don't believe it! The people who engage show girls for big productions are just like those in any other business. Mr C.B. Cochran, for instance, an acknowledged expert on beauty." reads an intertitle. We see Cochran sitting in his office with a secretary beside him. "Whilst the mail is being dealt with, new candidates for theatrical honours wait outside - " M/S of some strange looking women - one large lady and one very skinny lady. C/U of their legs. The two turn to each other and give withering looks. C/U of a cute looking girl. The camera pans to show another sweetie. "Sooner or later comes a summons to step inside. A man walks along the line of women. He selects one of the women. The fat lady gets up and tries to jump the queue by moving to the vacant seat. But it is too late, the queue has already moved along. Inside Mr Cochran's office he lights a cigarette as the young hopeful comes in.

    They shake hands and she sits down. "Routine questions are asked, as in the case of engaging a typist, except that "entertainment" value must be judged. C/U of Mr Cochran. The two chat then the young woman parades around the office a bit to show her figure and her walk. Mr Cochran picks up the telephone. The Producer then comes into the room. "If the girl is a "possible", the Producer takes her over." The girl follows the Producer out of the office. "A little later comes an audition - probably on the empty stage itself." A group of women mill around a piano. The Producer looks at the girls one by one but gets very scared when the large pushy woman seen earlier approaches him. "...and, if chosen, the ordeal of showing one's paces before a strange crowd." A girl does high kicks and the splits and some early break dancing! C/U of Mr Cochran. Another hopeful does high kicks and handstands. More girls go through their paces.

    "Sometimes a note of comedy blows in - " Our comedy fat lady - now in shorts - attempts a high kick routine. "the Dance Producer's task now begins - " We see a choreographer sitting on a stool demonstrating a strange dance step. The chorus girls have a go. He picks one of the girls' legs up and crosses it over her other knee to show her how it is done. "There'll be such a rush on the "Dance Producers' business" after this, girls!" Girls on chairs do a leg kicking routine. "But, it's just hard work, hour after hour, until complicated steps become second nature - that's the aim - " Choreographer walks in front of the line of girls as they practice. Lots of leg and underwear on display. "Finally comes the great night and you step out before the curtain - the "Show Girls" have arrived!" The girls go through the same routine, this time in costume. Blonde wigs, little hats perched on the side of their heads, stripy basques and short bloomers. They look a bit like Madonna circa 1995! Good peeks at their knickers as they jump up, turn around and sit back down again.

    Note: excellent stuff! Pretty long for an Eve's Film Review item. Was from issue 271.

    Safety print exists - show print. Probably in "Frocks Frolics and Follies" roll.

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    British Pathé
    Issue Date:
    Media URN:
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Film ID:
    Black & White
    Time in/Out:
    01:17:12:00 / 01:24:04:00
    EP 095
    Sort Number:
    EP 095
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    Sport & Leisure Lifestyle & Culture Entertainment & Humour
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