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Dancing Mothers (1926)

 -  Drama  -  1 March 1926 (USA)
6.9
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Young girl becomes a "flapper", defying her parents and the community.

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Ethel Westcourt
...
Hugh Westcourt
...
Kittens Westcourt
Conway Tearle ...
Jerry Naughton
Eleanor Lawson ...
Irma
Dorothy Cumming ...
Mrs. Mazzarene
Donald Keith ...
Kenneth Cobb
...
Birdie Courtney
Spencer Charters ...
Butter and Egg Man
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Storyline

Young girl becomes a "flapper", defying her parents and the community.

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Drama

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Release Date:

1 March 1926 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La soif de vivre  »

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1.33 : 1
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Prints of this film are held by the Library of Congress and the UCLA Film and Television Archives. See more »

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User Reviews

Indiscretion of an American Wife
28 July 2009 | by (Kissimmee, Florida) – See all my reviews

DANCING MOTHERS (Paramount, 1926), directed by Herbert Brenon could very well be a backstage musical about young wives choosing theatrical careers in the chorus line over being stay-at-home moms. In spite of a promising idea for such a title, DANCING MOTHERS is actually a drama featuring society types, notably women in fur coats, expensive dresses, smoking with cigarette holders and riding in a rolls Royce. Taken from the play by Edgar Selwyn and Edmund Goulding, it depicts upon one particular mother, taken for granted by her family, who chooses to break away from her lonely existence by stepping out to enjoy life, much to the dismay of her cheating husband and selfish/ carefree daughter.

The story begins on an ocean liner, "Homeward bound for America - the first day out" where debonair playboy Jerry Naughton (Conway Tearle), traveling along with his companion, Irma Raymond (Elsie Lawson), meets Catherine "Kittens" Westcourt (Clara Bow), a youthful flapper, and her wealthy father, Hugh (Norman Trevor), on deck. On "their last day out," Kittens and Jerry have become inseparable while her father and Irma have become romantically involved. As the ship docks New York, Mrs. Westcourt (Alice Joyce), the once famous Ethel Wright who "On December 13, 1907, abandoned her stage career to marry the wealthy banker," awaits their arrival, but their union as a family is short lived. "And so it went on ... for a fortnight the Westcourt country home had seen little of Ethel's husband and daughter."  As Ethel continues having dinner alone in her luxurious mansion, Hugh and Kittens dine separately at the Pirate's Pub Cafe, he with Irma and she along with beau, Kenneth Cobb (Donald Keith), and girlfriend, Birdie Courtney (Leila Hyams). After Hugh telephones Ethel for "being called away to Philadelphia on Russian business" and Kittens to call saying she's "spending the evening" with Birdie, Ethel takes the advise from Mrs. Mazzarene (Dorothy Cumming), her widowed friend, to accompany her at the Roof Club to start living. Also there are Kittens and Jerry, as well as Hugh with his "Russian business." As the evening progresses, Ethel encounters Jerry Naughton. Discovering he to be the one romancing her daughter, she passes herself off as Yvonne De Bresac, a French socialite. True love prevails until Ethel and Jerry are caught embracing in his apartment by both her daughter and husband.

As much as DANCING MOTHERS is regarded to be both a jazz age story and a Clara Bow starrer, this 64 minute drama rightfully belongs to the sophisticated Alice Joyce, a notable star of the silent screen whose name is as forgotten as her leading man, Conway Tearle. Bearing a slight resemblance of Mary Astor, and known solely for playing society types, Joyce is as prominently cast as the respectable old-fashioned wife who proves not to be vulnerable as she appears. Of her many films dating back to 1910, only DANCING MOTHERS, along with STELLA DALLAS (1925) and BEAU GESTE (1926, also directed by Brenon) are most associated with her and much essayed by film scholars. Clara Bow, better known as the "It" girl of her time, lives up to her reputation as the typical fun loving, self centered daughter who addresses her own mother as "Buddy." 

Rarely revived in recent years, DANCING MOTHERS has enjoyed occasional revivals in the public broadcast television series, "The Toy That Grew Up" (1965-1972), and later part of a large selection of silents distributed to home video from various distributors as Grapevine and Video Yesteryear. For the Grapevine collection in both VHS and DVD formats, DANCING MOTHERS contains an acceptable orchestral score playing such popular twenties tunes as "Has Anybody Seen My Gal?" during party sequences, most likely the print acquired from reissues distributed during the early sound era.

For its premise and surprisingly timely theme, DANCING MOTHERS might have served equally well for Depression era audiences of the 1930s with possible casting of Ruth Chatterton, Lionel Barrymore, Ricardo Cortez and Mary Carlisle in the Joyce, Trever, Tearle and Bow roles, or serve as the basis for a Lana Turner /Sandra Dee movie in the 1960s. As much as DANCING MOTHERS is a reflection of the roaring twenties, it's quite a novelty, too. (***)


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