On April 27, 1924, THOSE WHO DANCE, originally titled PROHIBITION INSIDE OUT, was released by First National. Just as producer Thomas Ince's HUMAN WRECKAGE sought to expose drug activity, his THOSE WHO DANCE attempted to do the same for bootlegging, as I reveal in my biography of Ince. Arthur Statter and Lambert Hillyer adapted George Kibbe Turner's story, with previous continuities by Statter and Elmer Harris, and Maurice E. Kivel, and an adaptation by Elliott Clawson.
Liquor causes an automobile accident that kills the sister of the driver, Bob (Warner Baxter). He resolves to stop the menace, becoming a prohibition agent. He helps Rose (Blanche Sweet) save her brother, who joined the trade for the thrill, until a crime boss shoots a government agent and her brother is framed for the crime. Using information the brother told his wife, Vida (Bessie Love), Bob poses as one of the crooks, overhearing the boss threatening her.
Lambert Hillyer directed the eight reel movie, which won high praise from the New York Times in its review of June 30, 1924. However, the movie failed to make a significant profit. A year after release, the gross receipts were $305,758, of which the producer's share was $212,964, while the actual cost, together with prints, exploitation and other expenditures was $256,894. This left the movie in the red for $44,929, according to the Ince company papers. Ince executives suggested that, although the movie was very good and had an excellent cast, the exhibitors were against a movie with propaganda, even in a good cause. Despite the disappointing receipts, the Turner story was remade in 1930 by Warner Bros., in versions in the English, Spanish, German, and French languages, paying the Ince Corp. $3500 for the rights and all prints.
An accompanying episode was entirely in keeping with the content of THOSE WHO DANCE. Legal action was brought by owners of the Rose Room Dance Hall for photographing the entrance of their establishment as a place frequented by bootleggers and criminals. After some investigation, including shady details of the operations of the establishment, its owners accepted $375 in payment on August 24 to end the suit.
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