Review by Ann McDonald
Carolyn Sayres gets a Hollywood contract from talent scout Thomas Brooke but is later rejected because she’s too young. She meets with Bud Borden, another contractee who helps her to become a star. Based partly on Darnells’ early experiences in Hollywood. Dane Wharton is a parody of Darryl F. Zanuck.
“Star Dust” is sheer Hollywood glitz and glamour and reflects the way the big studios used to operate back in the 1940’s. Thomas Brook (Roland Young) is a talent scout sent out to garner fresh aspiring actors and actresses for the Hollywood mill. We are introduced to Bud Borden (John Payne) on a train, singing with his football buddies when Brook happens to hear him. He informs Fillmore that he could make it big in Hollywood and that he will be in touch. Brook then moves onto a college campus where he is in a small coffee shop when he meets Carolyn Sayres (Linda Darnell) who is very young but also very beautiful.
She arranges an impromptu audition for him but is rejected because of her age. In spite of this, she manages to get an application to the head of the studio. She is then invited out to Hollywood where she meets up with Mr. Fillmore and together, they set out to conquer the world. The story is very lightweight but has some wonderful supporting actors like Charlotte Greenwood as Lola Langdon, the studio’s acting coach who gives a terrific performance and Roland Young who gives an admirable portrayal as Thomas Brook, the talent scout, given the scarcity of material he had to work with. William Gargan as Dane Wharton, the studio head and Donald Meek all add to the fun.
The sets and costume designs were first rate as was the cinematography by J. Peverell Marley. Director Walter Lang did a fine job and drew good performances from a very young cast. He kept the plot moving along nicely so you didn’t have time to be bored. After all, don’t we all want to be discovered and go to Hollywood? The movie was a wonderful and insightful glimpse into Los Angeles of the 1940’s and lends sentimentality to it. It was great also seeing the famous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre where all the big movie premieres were held and the Hollywood Walk of Fame with all the famous handprints and footprints. Enjoy “Star Dust” for what it was, a nostalgic glimpse into yesteryear.
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