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Dancing Lady PDF Print E-mail

Directed by: Robert Z. Leonard

Starring: 

  • Joan Crawford as Janie 'Duchess' Barlow
  • Clark Gable as Patch Gallagher
  • Franchot Tone as Tod Newton
  • May Robson as Dolly Todhunter, Tod's Grandmother
  • Winnie Lightner as Rosette Henriette LaRue
  • Fred Astaire as Himself
  • Robert Benchley as Ward King
  • Ted Healy as Steve, Pat's Assistant
  • Nelson Eddy as Singer, That's The Rhythm Of The Day
  • The Three Stooges as Stagehands

Producer: David O. Selznick

Choreographer: Sammy Lee and Eddie Prinz

Words and Music by: Burton Lane, Jimmy McHugh, Richard Rodgers, Dorothy Fields, Harold Adamson and Lorenz Hart

Cinematographer: Oliver T. Marsh

Production Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Premiere: New York, November 30, 1933

Synopsis (from VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever 2001): Rarely seen film in MGM's answer to "42nd Street," with Crawford as a small-time hoofer trying to break into Broadway. The screen debuts of Astaire and Eddy. Look for none other than the Three Stooges as stage hands. (2½ out of 4)

P.J. says:

It combines the most stereotypical and saleable plot elements of the love story and musical genres- namely, the love triangle and "Let's put on a show!". While it does both pretty well, I find nothing here to distinguish it from the musicals before or after it.However, what intrigues me about the movie is directly related to Fred, who was 33 when he made the movie. What he did in his early years, we'll never be able to see. But this is the youngest Fred that was ever caught on film. This is the closest we'll ever get to seeing the young Broadway Fred, as opposed to the more mature Hollywood Fred. Does that make a difference, I have to wonder. To be sure, Fred's dancing has a more youthful spring and bounce to it compared to later films. If you watch his spin and jump in the rehearsal scene, he literally seems to float. To my eyes, he appears to leap gracefully into the air and stay in the air and then slowly and leisurely descend to the ground, with nary a sound (Joan, on the other hand, comes up and goes down with a thud). I don't think he ever did a jump like that again. He did many jumps later on, and did them well, but gravity exerted itself more on the older Fred. Thus while he was classier, smoother, and a better master of his art, he was never so youthful, so sprightly, so powerful in his dancing again.

It reminds me of what I read about the great Russian ballet dancer Najinsky. He was able to leap through a window of the set into the stage so beautifully and powerfully that it looked like he was floating on air as he passed through the window. I thought at the time that I'd never see something like that. But when Fred did his jump and spin, I had a moment when I realised what it was like: beauty in motion.

 

 

 

 

The final word:
Dancing value: 2/10
Acting value: N/A
Entertainment value: 2/10

Overall Ranking: 31/31
Last Updated on Monday, 12 October 2009 09:21