The Helen Morgan Story (1957) / Warner Bros.
Directed By: Michael Curtiz
Starring: Ann Blyth, Paul Newman, Richard Carlson, &
This film is based on the real famed singer Helen Morgan (played by Ann Blyth).
It is the 1920's and the girl's; one being Helen (Blyth) is playing at a small hunky tonk town as a hulla dancer. Rains pour in and the show is over. Larry Maddux (Newman) is the man that puts the show together and starts to get to know Helen in her dressing room after the other dancers leave and her last show. Helen is from a small town herself and wants grand and big things in her life. Larry offers
Helen moves from one casting call to another where she is told her songs are perhaps to dreary and gets the door often. Larry sees Helen as she is trying to audition and he now is working for the mafia with Whitey Krause (Gene Evans) by selling alcohol during the prohibition. Helen is hired because Larry states that Whitey will want her hired and with the force made her land a position as a showgirl. During her first show Larry comes down and states that Helen will be the perfect front for the work that he is going to be doing and comes to the rescue when a touchy/feely man is bothering Helen.
Larry has an idea that she can travel one being a Ms. Canada; which will give her a Broadway contract and money which then will bring her to NYC. Larry's partner Benny Weaver (Alan King) to help him talk to Helen. Helen is not Canadian but decides to go north and try out for such a great opportunity. Russell Wade (Richard Carlson) is the famous judge from USA and votes for Helen to win. While this is being done Larry and Benny are working on getting the alcohol hidden and delivered from Canada to the USA via the train. Russell asks to meet her one on one about her true identity and how they know she may not be Canadian which she agrees. Helen open up that the truth for doing this is getting the role on a Broadway musical.
Larry, Benny, Helen and some girls all travel together with Dolly Evans (Cara Williams) and Sue (Virginia Vincent) being two of them. Helen, Dolly and Sue are friends since all working with Larry in the past. The trains stop and Dolly says they are hoodlums since feeling that they are up to no
Larry shows up with Benny and Helen wants nothing to with him and his lies. Dolly finds that Sue has hung herself in the bathroom since her supposed boyfriend was there with someone else and did her wrong by ignoring and saying she was nothing. He had another girl on his arm so Sue was over with. Sue already was depressed prior of how he was treating her so poorly. The final action was Sue acting in desperation a very sad one.
Larry offers Helen to travel with him. No marriage but just being together. Helen does not like how her career has been based on such bad things from her childhood to now. Larry promises that she will be a star. There is a new show where Dolly is dancing to an opening number and Helen will headline who is very nervous. Larry has an understanding to allow his girl to sing and breakout while they deliver alcohol. Whitey catches that Larry is trying to move on and do his bootlegging business for himself and move away from him which is not going to happen. Whitey sees that Larry is actually talking to a business and trying to get them to move with him and leave Whitey which makes him angry. Whitey states that it will be forgotten that he tried to quit but Larry states he is done where he gets beaten up and is kicked out while Helen gets on stages in her flapper dress to sing. Larry makes a call while Helen sings a lovely song "Somebody Else."
Larry then appears with a new girl while Helen is singing while her new love Russell is there in support. Helen tries to not pay attention and is very happy with Russell who is truly a kind man to open doors and giving her a good life. Helen loves that her success now has her face on the written/published songs and on marquees. Helen only finds out that Russell is married already and that within the marriage they have things open since they are simply friends and nothing more.
Dolly and Benny are married and are out together with Helen where Larry shows-up. Helen tries to walk away from Larry and keep him out of her mind but always seems to haunt her. Helen sings "The Man I Love" and it brings back feelings for Larry. He waits for her in her home and they fight but at the end can not resist one another. Larry speaks to Russell who owns property on the idea of building a night club that was elegant. Big profits where Helen Morgan will have a long term engagement there where Larry gets some money and helps manage and Russell owns and builds the club with his finances. Russell wants his name nowhere associated to the club. Come opening day it is called "The Helen Morgan Club" where the band is playing, diamonds everywhere, lush and elegance everywhere. Larry is excited since on the opening night Florence Ziegfeld (Walter Woolf King) to see Helen and maybe a new chance for Helen down the road. Brand new music is written especially for Helen's first engagement with her looking to the nine's ready to give them all.
"On The Sunny Side of the Street" is her opening number at the club where she looks stunning. Helen
Things quickly go south where the club closes since it is found to be dealing with alcohol, Helen is close to being broke due to being too generous, and emotionally she is a wreck. "Everything I touch turns bad" is what Helen truly thinks and decides to take a voyage to London where she performs at the famed Palladium, Teatro Madrid and more venues to great success.
Helen's life though takes a turn which is not for the better and finds out that Larry might not be doing well. Let's hope this star is able to sort her life out before things get to be too late.