Sweet Mama is DM's first picture for WB / First National and co-stars him with Alice White, a popular actress of the time known for "flapper" roles. With a voice that worked in sound films, she successfully made the transition to "talkies" but the quality of her roles soon deteriorated. It has been said that Sweet Mama was a deliberate studio attempt to obscure her career.
White plays Goldie, a "honky-tonk" burlesque actress who's in love with Jimmy, (DM) a hard working banker. Stranded out of town with her troupe, she receives a telegram to return home at once because Jimmy is in jail. Without funds, she boards a train and is befriended by Detective Mack, (Robert Elliott) who arranges her passage. Arriving in town, she is met by Jimmy whose release from jail has been arranged by his new boss Joe Palmer, (Kenneth Thomson) a notorious racketeer. Naive about his new employer, Jimmy is now "out for the jack" and reminds Goldie he's doing it for her. Unconvinced, she is disappointed her beau is now "just a mug." With some of Jimmy's money, Goldie pays back her detective benefactor only to be told the cash is stolen. Convincing him of her desire to see Jimmy rid of his new "pals," Mack advises Goldie to work at Palmer's nightclub so as to provide some solid evidence on the slippery character. In return, Mack will clear Jimmy. With her talents and charms, Goldie works her way into Palmer's business and personal affairs and overhears a planned bank robbery. Informing Mack, the job is thwarted but Joe realizes it was Goldie who "squealed." In an attempt to throw suspicion off of her, Jimmy implicates himself and is "taken for a ride" to Palmer's penthouse apartment. As the thugs are staging Jimmy's "accidental" death, Mack and Goldie rush in to save the day. In a desperate last-second attempt to escape, Palmer is shot to death.
Sweet Mama has some interesting things going for it. White does a rather elaborate dance number, the final chase sequence is exciting, and supporting players Rita Flynn and Lee Moran provide some comedic touches. The director, Edward Cline, was known for his work with the pugnacious WC Fields.