|Directed by||Robert Z. Leonard|
|Produced by||John W. Considine Jr.
David O. Selznick
|Written by||Allen Rivkin
|Based on||Dancing Lady
by James Warner Bellah
|Music by||Louis Silvers|
|Cinematography||Oliver T. Marsh|
|Edited by||Margaret Booth|
|Box office||$2.4 million|
Dancing Lady is a 1933 American pre-Code musical film starring Joan Crawford and Clark Gable, and featuring Franchot Tone, Fred Astaire, Robert Benchley, and Ted Healy and His Stooges. The picture was directed by Robert Z. Leonard, produced by John W. Considine Jr. and David O. Selznick, and was based on the novel of the same name by James Warner Bellah, published the previous year. The movie had a hit song in "Everything I Have Is Yours" by Burton Lane and Harold Adamson.
The film features the screen debut of dancer Fred Astaire, who appears as himself, as well as the first credited film appearance of Nelson Eddy, and an early feature film appearance of the Three Stooges – Moe Howard, Curly Howard, and Larry Fine – in support of the leader of their act at the time, Ted Healy, whose role in the films is considerably larger than theirs. The Algonquin Round Table humorist Robert Benchley plays a supporting role.
Janie Barlow (Joan Crawford) is a young dancer who is reduced to stripping in a burlesque show. Arrested for indecent exposure, she is bailed out by millionaire playboy Tod Newton (Franchot Tone) who was attracted to her while slumming at the theatre with his society pals. When she tries to get a part in a Broadway musical, Tod intercedes with director Patch Gallagher (Clark Gable) to get her the job: he will put his money into the show, if Janie is given a part in the chorus. Even though he needs the money, Patch is resistant, until he sees Janie dance and realizes her talent.
When, after hard work and perseverance, Janie is elevated to the star's part – replacing Vivian Warner (Gloria Foy) – Tod is afraid he will lose any chance of gaining her affection if she becomes a star, so he closes the show, and Janie, out of work, goes away with him. Patch starts rehearsals up again using his own money, and when Janie returns and finds out that Tod has deceived her and manipulated things behind the scenes, she dumps him and joins up with her new sweetheart, Patch, to put on the show, which is a smash hit.
Dancing Lady was a box office hit upon its release and drew mostly positive reviews from critics. Mordaunt Hall in the New York Times wrote, "It is for the most part quite a lively affair.... The dancing of Fred Astaire and Miss Crawford is most graceful and charming. The photographic effects of their scenes are an impressive achievement....Miss Crawford takes her role with no little seriousness."
According to MGM records the film earned $1,490,000 in the US and Canada and $916,000 elsewhere, resulting in a profit of $744,000.
- The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles, California: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
- Hall, Mordaunt. "Joan Crawford, Clark Gable and Franchot Tone in the Capitol's New Pictorial Offering" New York Times (December 1, 1933)
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