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DANCE, GIRL, DANCE (1940)

blog.DanceGirlDanceLobbySuperb drama directed by talented  lesbian filmmaker Dorothy Arzner examines women’s roles in society, how men perceive them – and what it means to follow your dream. Maureen O’Hara is lustrous as Judy O’Brien, a struggling dancer in a tawdry all-girl dance troupe who aspires to dance in Ballet.blog.dance-girl-dance-lucille-ball-1940-dancing-a-hula-with-the-chorus-girls_i-G-67-6720-EZMA100Z Also in the troupe is Bubbles (Lucille Ball) who has her sights set on the Big Time – and will do whatever it takes to get there. While Judy is sweet, sincere and wants to use her talent for success, Bubbles is crude and vulgar and uses her sexual charms to get what she wants. When Bubbles (now Tiger Lily White) lands in Burlesque she gets Judy a job to dance ballet in come-on spots between her strip acts using Judy is as her “stooge”. Judy reluctantly agrees. Complicating matters are wealthy married playboy Jimmy Harris Jr. (Louis Hayward) and Ballet entrepreneur Steve Adams (Ralph Bellamy) who sees a future star in Judy. blog.maureen-ohara-dance-girl-danceO’Hara  has a great scene telling off the rowdy Burlesque audience. And Ball as Bubbles/Tiger Lily is wonderful playing a mercenary bad girl. It’s interesting to note the feminist angles, highly unusual for the era. The film was a critical and commercial failure at the time, but gained new respect in the 70s. Its theatrical release lost RKO Studios roughly $400,000. Recommended.

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