Dance, Girl, Dance (1940)

TOMATOMETER

——

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Dance, Girl, Dance Photos

Movie Info

This 1940 dramedy involves an ambitious ballet dancer (Maureen O'Hara) forced to find work at a burlesque house. While there, she competes with a stripper (Lucille Ball) to win the love of a ladies' man (Louis Hayward).
Rating:
NR
Genre:
Classics , Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
WARNER BROTHERS PICTURES

Watch it now

Cast

Lucille Ball
as Bubbles
Ralph Bellamy
as Steve Adams
Sidney Blackmer
as Puss In Boots
Walter Abel
as Judge
Maria Ouspenskaya
as Mme. Lydia Basilova
Virginia Field
as Elinor Harris
Louis Hayward
as Jimmy Harris
Gino Corrado
as Waiter
Wade Boteler
as Policeman
Harold Huber
as Hoboken Gent
Clyde Cook
as Claude
Ernest Truex
as Bailey No. 1
Robert Emmett O'Connor
as Plainclothesman
Emma Dunn
as Mrs. Simpson
Harry Tyler
as Barker
Paul E. Burns
as Reporter
Ralph Sanford
as Taxi Driver
Lee Phelps
as Plainclothesman
Chester Clute
as Bailey No. 2
Dewey Robinson
as Nightclub Manager
Lew Harvey
as Reporter
Milton Kibbee
as Reporter
Bob McKenzie
as Fat Man
Paul Fung
as Chinese Waiter
Philip Morris
as Policeman
Lee Shumway
as Policeman
Katherine Alexander
as Miss Olmstead
Paul Phillips
as Reporter
Kernan Cripps
as Bailiff
Lola Jensen
as Daisy
Vivien Fay
as Lead Ballerina
Leo Cleary
as Clerk
Lee "Lasses" White
as Stage Manager
Vivian Fay
as The Ballerina
Ruth Seeley
as Dimples
Paul Rensy
as Headwaiter
Jean Lafayette
as Nanette
Tony Martelli
as Waiter
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Dance, Girl, Dance

Critic Reviews for Dance, Girl, Dance

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (4)

Arzner films it with fascination and enthusiasm, and the choreography is marked by the point of view of the spectators and the dancers' awareness that they're being watched.

Full Review… | May 30, 2016
New Yorker
Top Critic

The themes are female friendship and a woman's fulfillment, and it is one of Arzner's most coherent and accomplished films.

Full Review… | September 28, 2015
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Arzner's internal critique of Hollywood ideology (woman as silent object of male scrutiny). It works within the confines of a stock vaudevillian golddiggers comedy-drama.

Full Review… | September 28, 2015
Time Out
Top Critic

Dance, Girl, Dance is just a cliché-ridden, garbled repetition of the story of the aches and pains in a dancer's rise to fame and fortune.

Full Review… | September 28, 2015
New York Times
Top Critic

Without rising out of the cinematically conventional, the movie's self-reflexivity continually questions the gaze of the camera.

Full Review… | September 28, 2015
CinePassion

This jaunty RKO musical... was directed by Dorothy Arzner, and has been reclaimed over the years as a film of relevance to the feminist movement.

Full Review… | September 28, 2015
Senses of Cinema

Audience Reviews for Dance, Girl, Dance

Fantastic! Nothing like it today. An overt and amazing commentary on the woman's right to work with subtle insight into the self sabotage that keeps them from success. A definite studio movie in style and tone, but with some really modern, arresting moments thrown in.

Samantha Shada
Samantha Shada
½

Awesome movie, Lucille Ball like you never seen her before. This was made before she started playing the stupid housewife of Ricky Recardo. Her acting is over the top in this movie. 4 1/2 stars 12-5-12

Bruce Bruce
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

½

Dorothy Arzner is often remembered (and rightfully so) for her bravery -- the only regularly employed female director during the Golden Age, the first woman to join the Directors Guild of America, and the first feminist filmmaker some 30 years before it became a social issue -- but Dance, Girl, Dance, her most personal film, follows an almost identical trajectory: a critical and commercial failure that lost a pre-Citizen Kane RKO a crippling amount of money, only to be reclaimed over the years as a film of relevance to the feminist movement. Dance, Girl, Dance is a milestone in the dance film and musical, despite its B-movie production values (featuring lots of back projection). Key sequences which demand critical attention include Judy's (Maureen O'Hara) attempt to be a hula dancer, stunningly upstaged by the sexy wiggles of Bubbles (a pre-I Love Lucy Lucille Ball), and the burlesque routine which gives Bubbles her biggest chance to shine, "Mother, What Do I Do Now?" Hollywood also shows us classical ballet, with an extended routine choreographed by Steve Adams (Bellamy) - relying on the assumption that classical ballet/high art is not as appealing as good old low-down burlesque, regardless of how much money and talent is thrown into the "art" pot. While it may have made use of the resources from Fred and Ginger's RKO musicals, the ballet sequence looks flat against the earthy sexiness of Bubbles' hula dance. Judy's most stunning set piece, a speech near the end berating the men who go to watch strippers on the burlesque stage, could be considered as a barbed attack on the movie audience - after all, part of the Hollywood myth was the objectification of women, and despite Arzner's input, Dance, Girl, Dance is as guilty of this as any other film of the period. The film could be classed as high camp, but it has much more to offer than this implies. Although Arzner's experience with musicals was limited, she ensured the film was tightly directed and gave the finished product considerable power. However, this art vs. commerce mediation was her penultimate film. It succeeds because of its sheer charm and attention to detail; we can understand perfectly how it feels to sleep in a room of the type rented to chorus girls, how seeing a ballet performance can fuel the ambitions of one of their number. It is also a kind of fairytale where Judy is the good princess and Bubbles the wicked witch, although the ending isn't brought about by masculine intervention, but by sheer determination and self-faith.

Jonathan Hutchings
Jonathan Hutchings

Super Reviewer

Dance, Girl, Dance Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Dance, Girl, Dance on our Movie forum!

News & Features