“Go on, laugh, get your money's worth. No-one's going to hurt you. I know you want me to tear my clothes off so you can look your fifty cents' worth. Fifty cents for the privilege of staring at a girl the way your wives won't let you. What do you suppose we think of you up here with your silly smirks your mothers would be ashamed of?”
Dance, Girl, Dance is one of those old films that involves a mix up and the whole plot could have been avoided and no one would have gotten hurt had the lead character(s) not been so damn stubborn. Of course being stubborn and causing a mix up is part of what moves movie plots along but it drives me crazy!
Bubbles (Lucille Ball) and Judy (Maureen O’Hara) were working in a burlesque as chorus girls when the police come and shut it down. A handsome young man named Jimmy Harris (Louis Hayward) was sitting in the audience when the club was raided. Jimmy likes Judy. He dances with her and talks to her and then all the sudden Jimmy changes his mind about Judy and leaves with Bubbles. Judy is not too upset about losing Jimmy because she loves dancing more than anything.
Judy goes back to her old boss, a woman simply called Madame. Madame runs a dance troupe but now that Bubbles is gone no one wants to hire the troupe. Judy says she is willing to learn the oomph that Bubbles had. One guy, an owner of a dance place, just wants Bubbles not Judy because he does not want class. Madame sees Judy dancing all by herself in the studio. She gives Steven Adams (Ralph Bellamy), a ballet producer, a call. Madam sets up an appointment for she and Judy to meet with Steven. On the day of the meeting Madame is hit by a care and dies. Judy goes back the following week to meet Steven. As she is waiting Judy watches a dance number being performed. Her confidence takes a dive she does not feel she is good enough to be a ballet performer and leaves. Steven is in the same elevator as Judy and follows her out of the building. He sees her looking for the dime she had dropped. He tells her he noticed her in the elevator. She tries to walk away from him not knowing who he is. Steven continues following Judy for a while and he tells her she looks unhappy.
Bubbles comes back to New York City with the new name Lily White. She has enough money where she is able to pay Judy and her roommate’s back rent. Lily was discovered and has become a big burlesque star. Lily has come looking for Judy because she needs an opening for her act. Lily begins her number then walks off the stage. Judy goes out on stage thinking she will be doing ballet for people who want to see the kind of dancing she does. All the men in the audience hate her act they want Lily to come back on. Judy realizes she was being used as a sort of tease for the men and she is terribly upset.
The show becomes a huge hit. The papers begin writing up about Judy, mostly that she is a stooge being used to tease the men in the audience. Steve goes to see the show for Judy. Jimmy goes to the same show. He stands up for Judy and tells everyone in the audience to shut up. When Jimmy goes backstage he does not even remember Judy until he sees a Ferdinand bull he had given her. After the show Judy sees Steven. He gives her his card but she rips it up thinking he is making fun of her. She still does not know that he is the Steven Adams that she was supposed to have met.
Judy gets in the papers again but this time it is not for her dancing. She went out on a proper date with Jimmy. He took her to a restaurant where he used to go with his wife Elinor all the time. Everyone stares at them. When Elinor comes by the table Judy can immediately see that he is still in love with her. The next day Lily is furious with Judy for going out with Jimmy mostly because he is rich and also for the fact that she got into the papers. Steven’s secretary sees Judy’s picture in the papers and realizes Judy is the girl who had been waiting in the office that one day.
Steven goes to see Judy again at the show. Judy has finally had it. She is late for her queue and she just walks out. When she gets to center stage instead of dancing she rips into the men in the audience telling them how much they are like pigs who comes to stare at her because they cannot look at their wives in that way and how disgusting they all are. When she finishes her speech Steven and his secretary clap. Lily is furious with Judy and the two of them brawl right out onto the stage. They get arrest for publicly fighting. In court Judy tells the judge that she just lost her head but that she got a load off of her mind. The judge sentences her for disorderly conduct.
Fortunately Judy is not put in jail. The next day she goes to see Steven at his office. When she sees Steven and realizes he was supposed to be the one she had to speak to she is upset with herself because everything could have been so different.
From what films I have seen Maureen O’Hara in they fail because she is in them. I adore O’Hara as an actress. She was perfect in this role because she was classy and beautiful. Her feisty temper was perfect for the scene where Judy gave the speech on stage. Ralph Bellamy does not leave too much of an impression but he is Ralph Bellamy and he always adds fantastic charm and warmth to any of film he is in (even if he plays grumpy sour men). Lucille Ball looked amazing. It was kind of odd to see her in slinky outfits and pretending to be a burlesque dancer but she did a great job with the character and its sleaziness.
Dance, Girl, Dance was an alright film. It is not a film that would first come to my mind when suggesting classic films to see or films of either actress. Maureen O’Hara’s and Lucille Ball’s performances are worth sitting through.