Dancing Lady

  • MGM, 1933, B/W, 90 minutes, **½
  • Released November, 1933

Backstage musical finds Franchot Tone and Clark Gable vying for Burlesque-to-Broadway dancer Mommie Dearest. Tone goes slumming and finds Crawford dancing in a Burlesque house, which is raided by the cops. He bails her out and provides a contact for her to try her talents in a real musical production. When she lands a part, Tone provides the financial backing, but later withdraws his support in order to get Crawford to go globe-hopping with him. Needless to say, Crawford is not happy when she finds out what Tone has done!

This “backstage” musical format was used almost exclusively from the advent of “talkies” in the late 1920s up until the late 1930s, when the movie-going public began to tire of the fixed menu and ticket sales slumped.

Plays much like Forty-Second Street. The story takes place mostly backstage. The Stooges are on hand for a bit of stooging; Fred Astaire and Nelson Eddy make appearances as famous Broadway personalities (which they were). Benchley plays a muddled gossip columnist. The most interesting thing about this film is that it’s Fred Astaire’s Hollywood debut. The show numbers are quite good – once they get to them! Staging and costumes are wonderful!

Details

  • Executive Producer: David O. Selznick
  • Associate Producer: John W. Considine, Jr.
  • Directed by: Robert Z. Leonard
  • Screen Play by: Allen Rivkin and P. J. Wolfson
  • From the Book by: James Warner Bellah
  • Music Director: Louis Silvers
  • Song Numbers: “Let’s Go Bavarian,” “Heigh Ho,” “Everything I Have Is Yours;” Music by Burton Lane, Lyrics by Harold Adamson
  • “That’s the Rhythm of the Day” Music by Richard Rodgers, Lyrics by Lorenz Hart
  • “My Dancing Lady” Music by John McHugh, Lyrics by Dorothy Fields
  • Orchestra Conducted by: Louis Silvers
  • Musical Ensembles Directed by: Sammy Lee and LeRoy Prinz
  • Art Director: Merrill Pye
  • Interior Decoration by: Edwin B. Willis
  • Gowns by: Adrian
  • Recording Director: Douglas Shearer
  • Special Effects by: Slavko Vorkapich
  • Photographed by: Oliver T. Marsh
  • Film Editor: Margaret Booth

Cast

  • Joan Crawford [Jane Barlow]
  • Clark Gable [Patch Gallagher]
  • Franchot Tone [Tod Newton]
  • May Robson [Dolly Todhunter]
  • Winnie Lightner [Rosette Henrietta La Rue]
  • Fred Astaire [Himself]
  • Robert Benchley [Ward King]
  • Ted Healy and His Stooges [Steve]
  • Supporting Players: Art Jarrett [Art]
  • Grant Mitchell [Bradley Sr.]
  • Nelson Eddy [Himself]
  • Maynard Holmes [Jasper Bradley Jr.]
  • Sterling Holloway [Pinky
  • the Author]
  • Gloria Foy [Vivian Warner]
  • Moe Howard
  • Jerry Howard
  • Larry Fine [The Three Stooges]
  • Additional Cast: Florine McKinney [Grace Newton]
  • Bonita Barker
  • Dale Dean
  • Shirley Aranson
  • Katharine Barnes
  • Lynn Bari [Chorus Girls]
  • Jack Baxley [Barker]
  • Frank Hagney [Cop]
  • Pat Somerset [Tod’s Friend]
  • Charles Williams [Man Arrested in Burlesque House]
  • Ferdinand Gottschalk [Judge]
  • Eve Arden [Marcia
  • the Southern Actress]
  • Matt McHugh [Marcia’s Agent]
  • Charles Sullivan [Cabby]
  • Harry C. Bradley
  • John Sheehan [Author’s Pals]
  • Stanley Blystone [Traffic Cop]
  • Charles Wilson [Club Manager]
  • Bill Elliott [Cafe Extra]
  • Larry Steers
  • C. Montague Shaw [First Nighters]

Musical Program

  • [0:00] Overture (played by Orchestra behind titles)
  • [0:02] Hey Young Fella (sung and danced by Chorus Girls)
  • [0:02] Hold Your Man (sung by Winnie Lightner, danced by Joan Crawford, Winnie Lightner and Chorus)
  • [0:27] Alabama Swing (?) (danced by Joan Crawford)
  • [0:31] Everything I Have Is Yours (sung by Art Jarrett, danced by Joan Crawford and Franchot Tone)
  • [0:52] My Dancing Lady (sung by Art Jarrett, danced by Joan Crawford and Chorus)
  • [0:55] Heigh-Ho the Gang’s All Here (short instrumental excerpt danced by Fred Astaire and Joan Crawford)
  • [1:06] short excerpt of Flamenco dance in Havana
  • [1:16] Heigh-Ho the Gang’s All Here (sung and danced by Fred Astaire, Joan Crawford and Chorus)
  • [1:19] Let’s Go Bavarian (sung and danced by Fred Astaire, Joan Crawford and Chorus)
  • [1:22] Finale: Rhythm of the Day (sung by Nelson Eddy, danced by Chorus)
  • Many instrumental dance numbers in the background score.