Silent film star Colleen Moore and Charlie Plumb's comic strip character Ella Cinders had two basic things in common: their dutch-bob haircuts and their winsome, wide-eyed charm. As played by Ms. Moore, Ella is a moviestruck small-town girl who wins a talent contest purportedly sponsored by a film studio. First prize is a trip to Hollywood and a screen test, but when Ella arrives in Tinseltown, she discovers that the contest was a fraud. Momentarily disheartened, Ella vows to get into pictures by any means possible. Finally wangling a screen test, Ella convinces producers that she is a great dramatic actress by reacting in terror to a fire that has accidentally broken out on the set. She realizes her dream of becoming a star--at least until her hometown boyfriend Lloyd Hughes offers a "lifetime contract" of his own. A thoroughly delightful minor effort, Ella Cinders displays Colleen Moore at her peak, notably in one sequence in which she imitates her contemporary Lillian Gish; there's even time left over for a brief cameo from comedy great Harry Langdon.
by Hal Erickson synopsis