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slaytonf

Bebe Daniels--one class act.

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Sophisticated, refined, slinky, sexy.  She was a big big star, so it was no accident she was second-billed after Warner Baxter in 42nd Street (1933).  Despite what it is remembered for now (Busby Berkeley, Ruby Keeler, Ginger Rogers), one of the things I like most in the movie is Bebe Daniels.  A big big star in silents, too, starting with Harold Lloyd, she jumped right into soundies at Radio Pics with Rio Rita (1930), when Paramount (foolishly) cut her loose.  It was an ur-musical on a big scale with a two-strip Technicolor finale, and a big big hit.  More hits followed, culminating most classically with 42nd Street.  She self-terminated her career in the mid-30s, which is probably why she has slipped so far into obscurity, even more so than Mss. Rogers and Keeler.  She deserves to be Star of the Month, but because most, if not the majority of her work is in silents, she probably won't.

I was pleased to hear Dr. Ament give Ms. Daniels a mention at the tag end of her discussion with Mr. Mankiewicz--even if he did disconcertingly cut it short (due to time considerations?).  Anyway, one of my favorite parts of the movie is when she rehearses "You're Getting to Be a Habit With Me" at the request of Julian Marsh.  She nonchalantly tosses it off, polished, professional, standing next to, then hopping on the piano, as good as any of the best nightclub chanteuses--bright, playful, charming.  When she is done, and Marsh walks away with a cursory acknowledgment of her adequacy, she glances at the accompanist and looks down with short quick nod, as if to say, "so much for that."  Here's a clip:

 

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I agree. She was sophisticated, talented and sexy. Those outfits she wore on 42nd Street really emphasized her voluptuous figure. She was also very attractive. From what I read she had a very long happy marriage to actor Ben Lyon. They were very popular in England during the 1940's with their own show featuring their daughter and adopted son. Sadly Bebe began having a series of strokes in the 1960's which led to her death in 1971.

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Her work in 42nd Street, one of the best musicals ever, and one I never tire of, is underrated.  Her character beautifully evolves from selfish, demanding diva to being part of the team and supporting her fellow performers.  This topic is a very nice tribute to Bebe Daniels. 

 

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11 hours ago, midnight08 said:

From what I read she had a very long happy marriage to actor Ben Lyon. They were very popular in England during the 1940's with their own show featuring their daughter and adopted son

She had, let's see, one--two--three--four--five. . . .six careers in show business, starting as a child on the stage, and including two movie careers, two in radio, and one as a producer--incidentally along the way, having a major roll in fortifying British resolve in defying the German blitz in WW II.  

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