Dance Hall (film)

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Dance Hall
DanceHall.jpg
Petula Clark and Douglas Barr in Dance Hall
Directed by Charles Crichton
Produced by E.V.H. Emmett
Written by E.V.H. Emmett
Alexander Mackendrick
Diana Morgan
Starring Donald Houston
Petula Clark
Music by Joyce Cochrane
Reg Owen
Jack Parnell
Cinematography Douglas Slocombe
Edited by Seth Holt
Distributed by General Film Distributors
Release date(s) June 1950 (UK)
30 April 1951 (Sweden)
Running time 80 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Dance Hall is a 1950 British film directed by Charles Crichton. Appealing mainly to a female audience, the film was an unusual departure for Ealing Studios, which was known at the time primarily for its classic comedies starring Alec Guinness.

Plot[edit]

The story line centres on four young women, factory workers who escape the monotony of their jobs by spending their evenings in the Palais, the local dance hall that serves as the colourful background for a rather charming plot. Clark is Georgie, who aspires to become a dance champion with her partner, Peter. Although the couple fail to win the Greater London Amateur Dancing Championships, they become romantically involved and announce their engagement at the climactic New Year's Eve festivities.Clark getting her first adult screen kiss. Meanwhile, Eve jeopardizes her marriage to Phil when she chooses someone else as her partner in the big competition.After much drama and torment all is resolved happily. There is also a plot line for Diana Dors who, as always, enhances the film. British stalwarts of the time are present and give excellent performances : Donald Houston, Sydney Tafler, Gladys Henson, Dandy Nichols Jane Hylton are amongst them. In addition there is Bonar Colleano in villainous mode and the briefest of parts for Kay Kendall. This surely was meant to be a bigger part and the rest ended up on the cutting floor. Kay gets just one spoken line at a time when she had become a true star.

Music[edit]

Geraldo and Ted Heath and their bands provided most of the music and added to the authentic atmosphere captured by art director Norman Arnold.

Reception[edit]

Most critics thought the leads were too glamorous for the working-class ladies they represented, but agreed that Clark, slowly emerging from the children's roles that had served as the basis of her early film career, and Parry, in her screen debut, had captured the spirit of young, post-war women clinging to the glamour and excitement of the dance hall. Clark was featured on the cover of the June 1950 issue of The Dancing Times and was awarded the Institute of Dancing bronze and silver medals for her work in the film.The film was successful but thought odd at the time because it was very much filmed and told from a woman's perspective, which was something not fashionable then, and for Ealing to make such a film was unheard of . All their other major films were male dominated with women usually being either quirky characters or just eye candy. Dors made a good impact as well. In recent years the film has been seen almost as a docu-drama of a time that has disappeared and one of the best ways of seeing the then prevalent culture - that of the Palais de Dance, which has now disappeared. There is an internet campaign supported both by The International Petula Clark Society website and the Diana Dors Website and Optimum releasing are promising an issue of the film on DVD as of 2011.This is now expected to be in November 2012 to coincide with Clark's 80th birthday.

Credited cast:

also uncredited are Harry Fowler (amorous youth) and Alma Cogan (dancer)

References[edit]

Forever Ealing by George Perry, published by Pavilion, 1981

External links[edit]