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Star for a Night

Star for a Night(1936)

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Remind Me

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In a village in the Austrian Tyrol, the neighbors of the blind frau Martha Lind give her a going away party as she prepares to go to New York to visit her three children: Anna, whom she says is a concert pianist; Fritz, whom she thinks owns an automobile factory; and Nina, whom she believes is a famous singer and dancer. In reality, Anna plays the piano at a music store, Fritz drives a cab, and Nina is a chorus girl. When the children receive their mother's cable that she is coming for a visit, Nina convinces them that they must keep up their deception because their mother would be ashamed to know that they have spent money that they really could not afford to send her to eye specialists in Europe. Because of Mrs. Lind's blindness, the ruse works, but it is endangered when Dr. Spellmeyer, a former student of Mrs. Lind's doctor from Austria, arrives at Anna's small Third Avenue apartment to examine Mrs. Lind. After listening to Anna's story about the charade, he calls her courageous and does not let on. Dr. Spellmeyer's operation to restore Mrs. Lind's vision is successful, and when Nina learns that her mother will be able to see in a few days, she breaks down and cries during a number, which angers the self-centered star, Josephine Hall, who wants to have Nina fired. Nina's two friends on the chorus line, Mamie DeLaMont and Mildred La Rue, convince a ditsy blonde friend, Ellen Romaine, to let Nina borrow her fancy clothes and large apartment that her wealthy beau has given her. After Mrs. Lind is able to see, the ruse continues in Ellen's apartment. Because Mrs. Lind wants to see Nina's show, Mamie, Mildred and Ellen ask Josephine to pretend to be sick one night so that Nina, Josephine's understudy, can go on in her place. When Josephine indignantly refuses, they lock her in her liquor closet, and when she does not appear at the theater, Nina is starred in the show. Mrs. Lind sees the performance, but at the end of the first act, Josephine, who has been let out by her maid, comes onstage and slaps Nina. The audience is unsure if the disruption is part of the act, and during intermission, when the producer learns what happened, he gives Josephine's role to Nina. Hoping to capitalize on the story, the producer calls the newspapers, and the next day, which is Thanksgiving, Ellen, Mamie and Mildred awaken to read about it in the headlines. They call Nina, who then plans with Anna to keep their mother from reading the papers. They find, however, that she has left the apartment. Mrs. Lind goes to the Third Avenue apartment, and later in the day, Anna's landlady calls to have the whole family come at once. They find that their mother has prepared a Thanksgiving meal and has learned about the ruse. Rather than being upset, Mrs. Lind says that she is prouder of her children than she would have been if they had really been what they pretended to be. When Mamie, Mildred and Ellen come to join the family, Mrs. Lind says grace and blesses them all.