Other critics have compared this film to "Singin' in the Rain" (1952), which I have never seen. I've just added it to my Netflix queue (DVD only, there's no instant play, which would be a good thing given the interest).
Another comparison is "A Star Is Born" (1954, George Cukor, Warner Brothers), in the original Cinemascope, where Norman Maine (James Mason) helps Esther (Judy Garland) grow as an actress despite his own alcoholism. I saw this in Dallas at Fair Park at a special benefit in 1984.
Second picture: My father's, from southern CA, in the 1920s, about the time of the film.