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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 »




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:

Imperfect Ladies 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?


Two sequences, filmed in 2-strip Technicolor, totaling 1391 feet, occur in reels #2 and #10. 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 »


Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella on a Rainy Day
Music by Sammy Fain
Lyrics by Irving Kahal and Francis Wheeler
Performed by unseen male singer in the theater
See more »

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User Reviews

Early Musical Soaper
19 March 2005 | by Ron OliverSee all my reviews

A sister act finds IT'S A GREAT LIFE in show business as long as they can stick together.

MGM crafted this confection as a showcase for the talents of the Duncan Sisters, of Vaudeville & Broadway fame, and as such it's an interesting relic of its era. The sound quality is remarkably good, considering its age, one of the songs is quite good, and the antique color, which highlights a couple of stage sequences, is very pleasing to the eye. As a vehicle for screen stardom, however, the film proved a disappointment. The Sisters' movie career was over almost before if could get started.

Rosetta (1900-1959) and Vivian (1902-1986) do quite well as siblings who rise from performing in retail follies to the Vaudeville stage. Vivian, the pretty one, gets most of the film's few romantic moments, but Rosetta, who was an true clown able to do hilarious things with her face & body, steals the picture. When allowed to be silly she is enormous fun to watch. The script, unfortunately, keeps her character in a bad temper for much of the time, eventually wearying the viewer with her interminable fuming. She's so much more enjoyable when in a jolly mood, especially when teamed with sister Vivian. Their lovely duet, "I'm Following You," is a genuine heartwarmer.

Lawrence Gray, who had made a name for himself in comic Silent film roles, makes the most of his somewhat thankless part as the piano player who captures Vivian's heart. Jed Prouty, as the department store manager who quietly loves Rosetta, and Benny Rubin, playing a Vaudeville booking agent, both do well with their small roles.

The opening scene, with the Sisters madly dashing down the street to work, hotly pursued by a cop and a mob of excited New Yorkers, is one of the movie's best and gets the proceedings off to a frenzied start.

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