Bill is a hot shot dancer who partners with Jazzbo, until he sees Molly at the dance. He enters the Waltz with Molly and wins first prize - and they wind up being married that same night. ...
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Bill is a hot shot dancer who partners with Jazzbo, until he sees Molly at the dance. He enters the Waltz with Molly and wins first prize - and they wind up being married that same night. Now they are free of their parents nagging and their own bosses. 24 hours - no dancing as in-laws are visiting. 24 days - the Apartment is finished so off to the Hoffman's Parisian Dance Palace. Molly can only dance the Waltz and not the hot new jazz dance so she leaves and Bill follows. They are both unhappy, Bill has two left feet when it comes to romance. Written by
Tony Fontana <email@example.com>
This film is a moment frozen in time - that moment being the year or so after talking pictures became the norm in which Warner Brothers, through sheer will and the ingenuity of their employees, gave birth to the fast-paced working man's urban dramas and comedies that defined the company through the 1930's. To study their films from the dawn of sound to the birth of the production code is to study America's descent into the Great Depression from the height of the Roaring Twenties.
This little film sits at that crossroads, and it is the kind of wacky little film that Warners would not have tried a year later, once they began to come up with their own distinctive look and feel, but at this point they are still groping for a formula that works. The movie is about average working people who fill their nights with dance contests at the local dance club, Hoffman's Parisian Dance Palace. The patrons may be working stiffs during the day, but at night they have a chance at the limelight and a trophy commemorating their dancing skill. Enter Bill Cleaver (Grant Withers), a soda jerk by day who still lives with his disapproving parents and who lives for these contests. His regular dance partner is Jazzbo Gans. She's not really his type, but they win contests together, although she aspires for the relationship to be something more. Bill's chief competitor and nemesis is Needles Thompson. Needles claims he has a secret weapon - a new dance partner. Bill gets a look at this new partner, Molly O'Neil, and it's lust, or at least fascination, at first sight. He plays a trick on Needles to divert his attention and starts dancing with Molly. The two win the contest that night, and sit down to talk.
Meanwhile, the dance club had been promoting that there was going to be a marriage performed live at the club that night. Unfortunately, the couple calls it quits and Jerry Browne, Hoffman's Parisian Dance Palace Manager, is told he'll be fired if he doesn't come up with a substitute couple. He plays upon the romantic moment between Bill and Molly - and the free furniture doesn't hurt either - and the couple does the deed, mainly looking for a way out from under their parents. Both sets of parents react badly to the news, and pretty soon the couple is having problems themselves. It's hard to make a marriage work based on a mutual love of dancing, especially if marital responsibilities keep you from doing even that.
This film features a cast that can only rarely be spotted in supporting roles - if at all - just a year later. Grant Withers, who was a early talkie Warners leading man experiment that failed, is very likable here. The smart cracks fit the character he's playing here just perfectly. Sid Silvers is well cast as the dance club manager. This film has two scenes that really are worth watching just for the dance steps. First, the introduction to the film has a couple dancing wildly and it is really a sight to behold. The second scene that is very interesting is about at the film's half-way point. The dance club patrons are all dancing a new step - "The Hullabaloo" - and it has to be seen to believed. The atmosphere, the wise-cracks, the strange choice of subject matter, the demonstration of dancing as it was practiced at the conclusion of the roaring 20's, and even the hummable little waltz tune that back-scores the second half of the film as Bill and Molly's love song make this obscure little film worth your time especially for the early talkie fan and film history buff.
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