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Lady of Burlesque

Lady of Burlesque (1943)


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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 2



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Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 971

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Movie Info

Barbara Stanwyck shines in her second portrayal of a showgirl in less than two years (the first was in Howard Hawks' Ball of Fire in 1941). In Lady of Burlesque -- which, at times, has a Hawksian edge to the dialogue -- she portrays Dixie Daisy, a striptease artist at a Broadway theater in New York at the end of the 1930s. In the course of fending off the unwanted advances of brash comic Biff Brannigan (Michael O'Shea), with whom she is teamed in several numbers, and staying clear of the

May 1, 2001

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All Critics (5) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (3) | Rotten (2) | DVD (4)

Gallant trouping by Barbara Stanwyck, colorful background provided by Stromberg, and speedy direction by William Wellman, carry picture through for good entertainment for general audiences.

March 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
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Nothing more than a mystery melodrama with a backstage setting. Not a good mystery exercise either.

August 8, 2006 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
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Although a stream of hard-boiled wisecracks keeps things amusing, the plot gets tied up in the usual dreary whodunit business of providing motives for all and sundry.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
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It isn't without some zip, though you have to wonder why the producers bothered when the censors demanded that the dancers be shown only from the neck up.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
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Audience Reviews for Lady of Burlesque

An errant film with very little going for it except that at the time it was supposed to be shocking. It doesn't have much else to back it up except for the fact that it is led by none other than Barbara Stanwyck, who plays the beautiful and bodacious Dixie Daisy who is a burlesque headlining performer at a striptease theater called Old Opera Theater. Much of the film showcases inferior numbers from the singer and dancer, as well as comedienne, with many scenes backstage to show the voluminous costumes of her counterpart actresses. The film itself mostly takes place in the theater, and doesn't try to explore the characters or their performances as much as it should have. Everyone, including the leads, are so two dimensional and drab, a hard feat to accomplish in a film about striptease artists. The film soon varies into hard boiled detective thriller, but never is smart or intriguing enough to be true noir. Instead it stumbles on clumsy dialogue and plot devices which only serve to lengthen this film into ninety minutes. The humor is even humdrum, as this was in the days of the Hays Code and stays mostly family friendly throughout. If it had been as bawdy as a Mae West, really this film would have sizzled, but Stanwyck is given very little to work with. The only adult content is a hinted affair between the manager and a dancer who was blackmailing him, and the fact that several girls are being strangled to death with G-strings. The book that this was based upon was written by Gypsy Rose Lee, which doesn't give it any prominence and actually serves to cheapen it all the more. Stanwyck had earlier portrayed a performer in Ball of Fire, and in that film there was a lot more production value, better music, and more genuine a character with great humor. Stanwyck started in this line of work and it only makes sense that she would go back to it time and again in films, but this was just not the shocker it was meant to be, and in that, it suffers as a dull picture.
April 23, 2012

Super Reviewer

Saucy little mystery with a great collection of 40's blond wisecracking dames and of course the great Stanwyck. Even the usually vapid O'Shea is more animated and entertaining than his norm, this is probably his best screen performance.
September 25, 2011
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

This is a funny and interesting look at the old burlesque shows. If that interests you, I recommend seeing this movie.
October 13, 2010

Super Reviewer

The only date I make with comics is the Sunday morning funny papers. Gee, if only my ex-true love had felt the same way. She bypassed me for a professional comedian. I kid you not. As a result, I've been working on my routine ever since -- you know, just in case. If I've learned anything from the whole mess, I gotta say it really is hard to write your own jokes. Damn, flixster friends, do you think Barbara Stanwyck might have a grand-daughter on flixster? If so -- Yo, Barbara Stanwyck's grand-daughter, if you actually exist and you're reading this: Aloha! If you're single, this is a genuine marriage proposal. Don't worry about the singing (if it's inherited); we can work on that. If you're interested, Barbara Stanwyck's grand-daughter, please flixster message me ASAP! I pretty much log in daily. Yea, verily, I promise you the moon -- and then some . . . You want the moon? Just say the word and I'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That's a pretty good idea. I'll give you the moon, Barbara Stanwyck's grand-daughter. And -- I must ardently reiterate -- then some : )
January 26, 2008

Super Reviewer

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