Molly and Me Resonates Truth

Molly and Me Resonates Truth
Gather ‘round kids. It seems Molly is one of us. And she’s hungry.

As any trouper will tell you, life on the stage is filled with ups, downs, tremendous triumphs, and devastating heartbreak. The truth is, it is infrequent that a young hopeful is launched into a successful acting career after being discovered at her menial day-job.

It’s also known that one can have tremendous talent, and still have to scrape to get by.

For these reasons, there are many who give up the stage in favor of steadier work in ordinary occupations. After years of relentless rejection, one fact is certain: Sometimes, you have to choose between your career and your next meal.

Such is the story in Molly and Me.

Molly Barry (Gracie Fields) has been performing for more years than she can count; although she loves showbiz, she’s had enough. She’s tired of being hungry and ready to try something else.

While the road to stardom can be bleak, this film approaches the negative side of the acting profession in the most delightful way. It demonstrates what a determined actress can do once she discovers what she really wants in life.

In Molly’s case, it’s a roof over her head and food on the table.

The film begins when our Molly has a chance at a permanent job as a housekeeper for a curmudgeon (Monty Woolley) and his teenage son (Roddy McDowall). The job comes with a room and three squares – very tempting when the offers for theatrical roles are dwindling.

All Molly has to do is play the part.

Using her wits and some well-sharpened improv skills, Molly not only gets the job, but she manages to bring a joy into the household. She also discovers that the staff is doing some pilfering, so she sacks the lot of them. The replacements? Molly’s out-of-work friends from the local theatrical boardinghouse, of course.

Now, what possibly could go wrong?

While the story of Molly is fictional, it was inspired by the real life of character actress Marie Dressler.

There was a point in her life where a struggling Dressler gave up the theatre in order to survive. She wasn’t getting work and, in desperation, she took non-theatrical jobs with the hope of making a life elsewhere.

Like many, she returned to show business at the first opportunity. Happily, Dressler would eventually receive an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Min and Bill.

Unlike Dressler, Molly is content with her choice to leave the stage and move on to a more secure future. Of course, Molly has the luxury of being surrounded by her showbiz friends who are now part of the household domestic staff.

Other faces to look for in the film are those of Reginald Gardiner, who plays the head butler with a secret, and a flashy Natalie Schafer, as the ex-fan dancer who married well. Think of an ambitious Lovey Howell before she meets Thurston.

In any career, success and a happy ending is never assured; but, Molly is a roll-up-your-sleeves kind of gal, and if anyone can handle a difficult role, it’s Molly.

And that’s the truth of the matter.

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