The most memorable thing you will take away from Ladies of the Chorus is Marilyn Monroe and a feeling of well-being as it is a happy little film that never fails to entertain. If you were to stumble upon this movie you will find it is just a little B film of really no importance that came out long before many of her hits in the 1950s though it does offer a number of firsts for the actress. It happened to be her first starring role, the first time she ever sang on film and that it was all for Columbia Pictures and not 20th Century Fox. Suffice it to say, even though Columbia let her go from her contract soon after this picture, she still managed to make a career for herself, bigger and larger than any might have predicted.
Ladies of the Chorus finds Monroe as a young burlesque singer and dancer, working with her mom and a bunch of other girls. She wants to be a star and soon enough, she gets her chance. Also on the cards is a marriage to a gentleman of renown and breeding, something she is definitely not. Her mother knows that there can be only heartbreak from the union but young Peggy is determined. During the engagement party it looks as if things are going to go badly for the young couple, Peggy more than any other until her soon to be mother-in-law saves the day in a fantastic act of acceptance.
There are not a lot of laughs during this picture, it being more drama and musical, but it will put a smile on your face. Monroe is good, holding her own against more experienced players like Adele Jurgens who plays her mom and Nana Bryant who performs the final number of the film as Mrs. Carroll, her soon to be husband’s mother. Monroe’s song ‘Every Baby Needs a Da Da Daddy,’ is enjoyable and her voice shows a lot of promise at this point, not yet attaining that full, husky quality that it had in later years. This is a different Monroe than you are used to seeing on-screen, one that has stars in her eyes, a yearning that shines through her character and it adds just a little more credibility to her performance.
This picture might not be one you usually associate with Monroe, but it is a fun little movie if you can track it down and well worth a watch to see the young actress before she became a global phenomenon.