The short but colorful life of American musical comedy star Marilyn Miller is given the standard prettified Hollywood treatment in Look for the Silver Lining. June Haver, an accomplished dancer-singer in her own right, is well-cast as Miller, who rises from an appendage in her parents' vaudeville act to the toast of Broadway. Along the way, she suffers such personal tragedies as the wartime death of her first husband, songwriter Frank Carter (Gordon Macrae), but manages to smile through the tears and go on to even loftier showbiz heights. The film ends in 1936, the year of Miller's death; we last see her "giving her all" to her audience, while an offstage observer makes ominous comments about her future. The Phoebe and Henry Ephron/Marian Spitzer screenplay (based on a story by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby) glosses over Marilyn Miller's notorious prima donna behavior; she is shown lording it over the "little people" in only one scene, whereupon she is gently put in her place by the remonstrative Frank Carter. Charles Ruggles and Rosemary DeCamp co-star as Miller's vaudevillian parents, while Ray Bolger is his usual ebullient self as Jack Donahue; also on hand are S.Z. Sakall and Walter Catlett, recreating a scene from Miller's 1925 Broadway triumph Sally (Catlett had appeared in the original production). Look for the Silver Lining was produced by Warner Bros., the same company that released the real Marilyn Miller's three starring films back in the early days of the talkies.
by Hal Erickson synopsis