Dance, Girl, Dance (1940)

Film, Drama

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Based on a story by Vicki Baum (of Grand Hotel) fame, Dance, Girl Dance finds innocent young Judy (Maureen O'Hara) journeying to the Big Apple in hopes of gaining fame as a classical dancer. Instead she ends up as the stooge for raucous strip-tease artist Bubbles (Lucille Ball), who attempts to perform ballet before leering, catcalling, unappreciative burlesque audiences. Eventually, Judy and Bubbles both fall for playboy Jimmy Harris (Louis Hayward), a rivalry that culminates in a hair-pulling, eye-scratching cat fight. Eventually, Harris's ex-wife (Virginia Field) reels him back in, and Judy is hired by ballet producer and entrepreneur Steve Adams (Ralph Bellamy). In recent years, Dance, Girl, Dance has been canonized as a feminist manifesto, due to the fact that Dorothy Arzner was the director and because of Maureen O'Hara's climactic burlesque-house speech, in which she lambastes the male spectators for their puerile chauvinism. It should be noted, however, that Arzner became director only after Roy Del Ruth pulled out of the project. Uncertain how to promote the film, RKO Radio elected to sneak it into its first-run houses without fanfare, and the result was a $400,000 loss for the studio.~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

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Duration:
90 mins

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