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Ten Cents a Dance

Ten Cents a Dance(1945)

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While on a thirty-six hour leave, soldiers Billy Sparks and Ted Kimball, III go to the Merryland Dance Hall in search of female companionship. As usual, the very wealthy Ted gives Billy his money to hold and spend, for Ted is afraid of attracting gold diggers. Billy immediately becomes enamoured of singer Jeannie Hollis, even though she is the girl friend of the hall's disreputable owner, Breezy Walker. Billy buys ten minutes worth of dances for everyone in the hall in order to get a dance with Jeannie, who becomes more interested in Billy when he brags about his wealth. Although Jeannie is not a fortune hunter, she needs five hundred dollars for another taxi dancer, Joyce, who was injured in a car accident and needs surgery. Breezy has begged off helping Joyce himself, but has told Jeannie that if she can find a chump for him to cheat in a dice game, he will get the money that way. Believing that Billy may be the right dupe, Breezy orders Jeannie to keep him around while he organizes a game for the next evening. Not knowing that Breezy intends to clip Billy for a huge amount of money for himself, Jeannie agrees, and she and dancer Babe take Billy and Ted out on the town. The couples end the night sitting on a roof, discussing their lives and dreams. Jeannie discovers that she and Billy have much in common, while Babe delights in coaxing kisses from shy Ted. The girls arrange for the soldiers to sleep in their boardinghouse for a few hours, and the next afternoon, they all enjoy a bicycle ride and a picnic. Jeannie is beginning to feel apprehensive about the crooked game, but Babe reminds her that it is for Joyce. When the girls return to the dance hall, Bits, the bartender, tells them that Breezy has arranged for Joyce's boxer boyfriend, Rocky, to take a dive in the first round of that evening's fight, and that a bet against him will double their money. Unfortunately, Bits misunderstood Breezy's negotiations with Rocky, who is actually under orders to withstand all six rounds at any cost, and so Jeannie loses the five hundred she borrows from Billy. Billy is blase about the loss, however, and Jeannie becomes even more distraught about the upcoming game. Finally, Jeannie confesses the situation to Billy, and he in turn reveals that Ted is the rich one. Billy assures her that Ted will take care of Joyce, and Jeannie happily accepts his proposal of marriage. When Jeannie informs Breezy that the game is off and that she is leaving to marry Billy, Breezy has his mug Joey keep Joyce captive in the dressing room, while Breezy tells Billy that Jeannie left suddenly. Breezy implies that Jeannie took off because she does not want to marry Billy, and the disappointed soldier assumes it is because of his lack of money. Billy tells Ted that he is going to participate in the rigged game, for he knows that the other players will let him win at first. Ted tells Babe, who then informs Jeannie after she escapes from Joey. Desperate to save Billy, Jeannie and the other girls start a fight, which prompts Joey to turn off the lights. Billy escapes from the game and Babe tells him that Jeannie is on the level, but is now being held by the furious Breezy. Bill rescues Jeannie from Breezy's office, and the reunited couples spend the last few hours of the soldiers' leave kissing in a taxi. After bidding their boyfriends goodbye, Jeannie tells the astonished Babe that Ted, and not Billy, is the wealthy one.