Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

DANCE, GIRL, DANCE


DANCE, GIRL, DANCE (1940). Director: Dorothy Arzner.
Judy O' Brien (Maureen O'Hara) and "Bubbles" White (Lucille Ball), both belong to the same dance troup headed by Madame Basivola (a wonderful Maria Ouspenskaya). Doing a sexy hula (a highlight of the film) for a prospective client, Bubbles gets a job in Hoboken which eventually leads to her becoming a big star in burlesque. She has Judy hired to do serious dancing in the middle of the act, but Judy's unaware that she's only to be a stooge. Woven into the main storyline are the romantic figures of Louis Hayward, who romances both girls but is carrying a torch for his ex-wife, and Ralph Bellamy as as head of a dance company. Frankly, the romantic storylines never really fit in smoothly with the rest of the film, which becomes a bit boring even with the famous "cat-fight" between Judy and Bubbles late in the picture. Judy tells off the men who laugh at her in the burlesque house, which some see as giving the film a kind of feminist slant. But this is basically a disappointing comedy-drama with some interesting moments but not enough of them.
Verdict: Watch Lucy hula and then go to sleep. **1/2.

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