La Goualeuse (1938)

Genres - Drama  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - France  |  
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French stage favorite Lya Gauty made her screen debut in 1938's La Goualeuse (The Street Singer). The story concerns a poverty-stricken vagabond (Jean Martinelli) who supports himself by singing for pennies in a rough section of town. Only the local barkeeper knows that the vagabond is actually the illegitimate son of a prosperous and highly respected banker (Constant Remy). One would think that the film's dramatic climax would consist of a tearful reunion between father and son. Instead, this scene occurs in the middle of the picture; the rest of the film is a melodramatic melange of high emotionalism and low melodrama, culminating in the boy's suicide. Though billed first, Lya Gauty has an almost peripheral role as the hero's long-suffering sweetheart who sings at the drop of a hat and frequently brings her own hat.