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It's a Great Life (1929)

Casey and Babe are sisters who work in a department store and each year the store puts on a show. As expected, things are going wrong with every act until Casey comes out to help Babe with ... See full summary »


Sam Wood


Alfred Block (story), Al Boasberg (dialogue) | 3 more credits »


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Complete credited cast:
Rosetta Duncan ... Casey Hogan
Vivian Duncan ... Babe Hogan
Lawrence Gray ... Jimmy Dean
Jed Prouty ... Mr. David Parker
Benny Rubin ... Benny Friedman


Casey and Babe are sisters who work in a department store and each year the store puts on a show. As expected, things are going wrong with every act until Casey comes out to help Babe with her song. They are a hit, but in the final act, Casey again comes out and this time the president sees her act and fires both her and Babe on the spot. Benny is able to book Casey, Babe and Dean into Vaudeville and their act is popular. But before they have their shot at stardom, Dean and Babe leave Casey and the act. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

6 December 1929 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cotton and Silk See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (MovieTone)


Black and White | Color (2-strip Technicolor) (two sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Sheet music shown for songs from the movies Marianne (1929), The Hollywood Revue of 1929 (1929), The Broadway Melody (1929), The Divine Lady (1928). See more »


When the man upstairs says he'll call police, the audio doesn't match the movement of his mouth. See more »


[first lines]
Babe Hogan: Did you get the pocket book?
Casey Hogan: Yeah! Come on, let's beat it!
See more »


Edited into Hello Pop (1933) See more »


I'm Following You
Music by Dave Dreyer
Lyrics by Ballard MacDonald
Copyright 1929 by Irving Berlin Inc.
Performed by Rosetta Duncan and Vivian Duncan
See more »

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User Reviews

The Duncan Sisters
16 July 2007 | by drednmSee all my reviews

What a treat! Early talkie musical starring Broadway and Vaudeville stars, the Duncan Sisters. They sang, danced, and did comedy. This film is sort of a knock-off of THE Broadway MELODY. The Duncan Sisters were wanted for that film but were on the road, so the producers copied them in hiring Bessie Love and Anita Page. Later that year MGM snagged the Duncan Sisters for this film.

They play sisters who work in a department store along with handsome Jimmy (Lawrence Gray). When smart-alec Casey (Rosetta Duncan) gets fired, they all quit and launch a career in "the show business." Jimmy is sweet on Babe (Vivian Duncan) which infuriates Casey.

Anyway, they form an act built around Jimmy's songs. He plays piano while the girls sing and dance. They are a hit, but there is constant friction between Casey and Jimmy. The couple gets married and Casey goes berserk, breaking up the act. Casey goes solo, while the couple tries to make it alone. They all flop. Some time after, Babe gets really sick and Jimmy is forced to track down Casey and bring her back home.

While the plot is creaky and the acting is not always very good, the musical numbers are vintage gold. "I'm Following You," which was a big hit, is sung several times. There is also a great comic version of "Tell Me Pretty Maiden," which was the theme song of FLORODORA GIRL, the terrific Marion Davies film which also starred Lawrence Gray. "The Hoosier Hop" is also solid and done in 2-strip Technicolor. Another color sequence is a fashion parade that goes comically wrong.

Gray is charming and handsome and it's hard to figure why he wasn't a bigger success in talkies. He also has a great singing voice. Benny Rubin and Jed Prouty co-star.

Of the sisters: Rosetta is the shorter one and the broad comic. She kept reminding me of Patsy Kelly and Beryl Mercer. Vivian was "the pretty one" and has an OK soprano voice. They duet on several songs and are quite effective. They both are passable dancers and comics. They were big stage stars but didn't do all that well in films. Their only other feature together was TOPSY AND EVA, based on their smash hit stage musical. They also did a few shorts.

I liked them and thought they were both talented and personable. Maybe they could have found a niche in films. Rosetta was on the verge of a comeback on TV (WILD BILL HICKCOK) when she was killed in a car accident. Vivian apparently retired and lived to be 90.

IT'S A GREAT LIFE is creaky and stagy but what a treat to see these big stars on film.

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