When her rich oilman father is killed, Bingo, raised in the wilds of South America, inherits the company. Her guardians Ben and Howard send her to New York for civilizing but on the way she... See full summary »
Diana is outwardly the hit of the party but inwardly virtuous and idealistic. Her friend Ann is thoroughly selfish and amoral. Both are attracted to Ben Black, soon-to-be millionaire. He takes Diana's flirtations with other boys as a sign of disinterest in him and marries Ann. Big mistake. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
OUR DANCING DAUGHTERS (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1928), directed by Harry Beaumont, is memorable today mainly because it made an overnight star of an MGM contractee named Joan Crawford, a resident performer at MGM since 1925. In spite of Crawford's recognition with this particular silent melodrama focusing on three happy-go-lucky party girls out for a wild time finding men, Dorothy Sebastian and Anita Page being the other two dames in question, it is Page, the third party of the trio, who practically gets the most attention due to her immorality and selfishness in her character. It is this, and Page's performance in MGM's first talkie, "The Broadway Melody" (1929) that will be most remembered by film historians for years to come, so long as this, and other films like these, continue to exist on television and appreciated by a new generation of classic movie lovers.
The story opens with three youthful girls getting themselves ready for another Saturday night on the town: Beatrice (Dorothy Sebastian), a simple-minded girl; Ann (Anita Page), a cute, peppy blonde who's not only immoral and immature, but an out-and-out gold digger; and Diana Bedford (Joan Crawford), a fun-loving socialite noted for her love for fast cars, dancing and wild parties, trying to live her life according to her parental upbringing, on high moral principals. At the party, Diana amuses her friends by stripping off her dress and dancing step-ins. Later, she comes upon Ben Blaine (Johnny Mack Brown), a handsome young man and an heir to millions. Diana becomes very much interested in him, but Ann decides to step in herself, giving Ben the impression that she is pure and innocent. She tricks Ben into marriage, which leaves Ben blind of the fact to what kind of girl Ann really is. As Beatrice finds a partner in marriage with Norman (Nils Asther), Diana remains single, keeping only to herself until sometime later, the unhappily married Ben comes back into her life again, causing friction between Diana and Ann.
As it appears, OUR DANCING DAUGHTERS is a routinely made silent drama that rises above similar stories made during the bygone roaring twenties era. Watching Joan Crawford as a "jazz age" baby in the vogue of Paramount's own Clara Bow, is interesting to see, but unlike Bow, who retired from the screen in 1933, Crawford adapted to the changing of times, presenting herself in costumes and headdress accordingly to the new era, and improving with each passing decade her skillfulness as an actress, which is why she remained in the public eye of motion pictures until 1970.
For quite some time, OUR DANCING DAUGHTERS became the only known silent movie starring Crawford from the silent era to circulate either in revival movie houses or on commercial television before becoming part of cable television decades later, namely Turner Classic Movies. Interestingly, as in many silent movies of the late twenties, OUR DANCING DAUGHTERS is currently available two ways, in either 97 minutes (video cassette) or a shorter version (TCM) at 85 minutes. The video presentation from the late 1980s, labeled on its storage box "including original musical score," is, in actuality, consisting of orchestral score used for the public television 13-week film series 50th anniversary to MGM, MOVIES GREAT MOVIES (1973), where OUR DANCING DAUGHTERS premiered in on WNET, Channel 13, in New York City, October 19, 1973, as hosted by Richard Schickel. The 85 minute version shown on Turner Classic Movies is the one with the original 1928 soundtrack consisting of crowd noises, sound effects and off-screen singing by an unknown vocalist crooning to "I Love You Then as I Love You Now." A sharp ear will also hear Diana's name being yelled out amongst the crowd. Watching the movie currently available in both these versions with different underscoring is quite acceptable, but it's the original 1928 soundtrack that gives more of the feel, capturing the mood from that jazz age.
Also seen in the supporting cast are Eddie Nugent, Dorothy Cumming, Huntley Gordon, Evelyn Hall and Sam DeGrasse. Fans of Universal's SHERLOCK HOLMES film series of the 1940s starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce will take notice that the character actress who played their landlady, Mrs. Hudson, can be spotted as one of the three scrub women at the bottom of the stairs in one of the more memorable highlights involving the drunken Ann (Anita Page).
The success of OUR DANCING DAUGHTERS lead to sequels in name only, all featuring Crawford and Page: the silent OUR MODERN MAIDENS (1929) with Douglas Fairbanks Jr; and the early talkie, OUR BLUSHING BRIDES (1930) with Robert Montgomery and Dorothy Sebastian. With all three being shown occasionally on TCM, the original, which started it all, remains the best of the trio. (***)
26 of 26 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?