- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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dance girl dance
- kevin sellers
I have decidedly mixed feelings about this movie. On the plus side, it's definitely good to see a Hollywood film, made in the oh so sexist 1940s, directed by a woman, where the gals are strong and the guys aren't. Congrats to Dorothy Arzner. On the debit side, the screenplay, by the usually reliable pair of Tess Slesinger and Frank Davis, of "Tree Grows In Brooklyn" fame, has some major problems. Let's see if I got this one right. Maureen OHara's ballet career is derailed 'cause her dance instructor (Maria Ouspenskaya) is run over and killed on the way to O'Hara's big break. You ok with that? Wouldn't it have made more sense if O'Hara had simply been rattled by the exalted level of dance she was auditioning for? Another more serious script problem is that the most important relationship in the film, that between O'Hara's artiste and Lucille Ball's vulgarian, is woefully under explored. I mean, aside from a badly staged cat fight, there is nothing close to a dramatic confrontation between these two. My ambiguity toward this film extends to the acting. On the one hand you have a wonderful, ballsy (to use a feminist term) performance by Lucille Ball as the voice of popular culture, while on the other you have the eternally dull Maureen O'Hara as the creative muse. Let's give it a B minus instead of a C plus 'cause of its pioneering stance vis a vis the ladies. P.S. Louis Hayward has an eerie resemblance to Dezi Arnaz.
More than merely a feminist film.
- David H.
"Dance, Girl, Dance" is an above average movie well directed with fine acting, music and dancing. Maureen O'Hara gives one of her best performances and more than in any of her pre-Lucy films Lucille Ball displays the all-around talent that would make her a TV legend. Director Dorothy Arzner combines just the right amount of sentiment with comic relief. Also, unlike most of his screen appearances of this period, Ralph Bellamy actually gets the girl. This movie is more than merely a trail blazing feminist film.
- disinterested spectator
This is a cult film, but I would never have suspected it had I not read it somewhere. All on my own, I would probably have thought this was just a typical backstage musical, in which all the fun scenes include Lucille Ball. But from what I have read, the reason for its cult status is the interest it has for feminists: it has a female director; the men in the movie are secondary to the women; and the principal character, played by Maureen O'Hara, achieves happiness in her career as a dancer, rather than by giving up that career and getting married. That does make the movie unique for the time in which it was made, and so I'm glad someone pointed it out to me.
From the interview in Cinema Magazine, 1974
- Margo Channing
Arzner was nowhere in sight when Dance, Girl, Dance (1940) was begun by another RKO director. This was a personal project of Erich Pommer, the former head of Germany's famed UFA Studio, then in exile in Hollywood. As producer, Pommer had conceived, cast, and started shooting of Dance, Girl, Dance, but everyone involved was unhappy and confused. After a week Pommer removed the original director and brought in Dorothy Arzner to take charge. She reworked the script and sharply defined the central conflict as a clash between the artistic, spiritual aspirations of Maureen O'Hara and the commercial, huckster, gold-digging of Lucille Ball. She decided to base Ball's character of Bubbles on the real-life "Texas" Guinan, whom Arzner had spotted waving out of her taxi window to everyone New York, "Hi, I'm 'Texas' Guinan!"
Dance, Girl, dance
A campy behind the scenes world of burlesque. O'Hara is an overly-sweet ballet girl who competes with scene-stealer Ball for eyes of a wealthy bachelor. O'Hara's fiery feminist stance near the end of the film is the only social highlight of Arzner's film, the story could be easily improved. An okay film that could've had so much potential. I give it a 3/5.
Dance, Girl, Dance (1940)
- James Higgins
I feel this is director Dorothy Arzner's best film. It is a fine drama, with some comedy thrown in to lighten it up a bit. Maureen O'Hara gives a very sincere performance, Lucille Ball is excellent in one of her best pre I Love Lucy performances. It is also a role you would not expect from her. This is one of her personal favorites of the films she had made. She is very memorable. Maria Ouspenskaya does well in a supporting role. Great dialogue, some good musical numbers as well. The film clearly didn't have a big budget, but the character development of the stars and a plot with substance help it rise above the restrictions of the budget.