6.1/10
71
7 user 2 critic

Dancers in the Dark (1932)

Approved | | Drama | 11 March 1932 (USA)
A bandleader tries to romance a dancer by sending her boyfriend, a musician, out of town. However, things get complicated when he finds out that a gangster has designs on her too.

Director:

Writers:

(play), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Reviews

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Certificate: Passed Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A loose woman rediscovers a former lover during a dangerous train ride to Shanghai.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Marlene Dietrich, Clive Brook, Anna May Wong
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Although Vivian Revere is seemingly the most successful of a trio of reunited schoolmates, she throws it away by descending into a life of debauchery and drugs.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Stars: Joan Blondell, Warren William, Ann Dvorak
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Brash hoodlum Tom Connors enters Sing Sing cocksure of himself and disrespectful toward authority, but his tough but compassionate warden changes him.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Bette Davis, Arthur Byron
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Marianne falls in love with a con artist who has a hidden agenda.

Director: Hobart Henley
Stars: Conrad Nagel, Sidney Fox, Bette Davis
Night World (1932)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Story of the goings-on at a Prohibition-era nightclub.

Director: Hobart Henley
Stars: Lew Ayres, Mae Clarke, Boris Karloff
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A woman cannot decide between two men who love her, and the trio agree to try living together in a platonic friendly relationship.

Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Stars: Fredric March, Gary Cooper, Miriam Hopkins
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The daughter of a senator from South Dakota visits Manhattan for the first time, eager to see the sights of the big city. While there, she finds herself caught up in an affair with a ... See full summary »

Director: William C. de Mille
Stars: Miriam Hopkins, Phillips Holmes, Irving Pichel
Becky Sharp (1935)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Set against the background of the Battle of Waterloo, Becky Sharp is the story of Vanity Fair by Thackeray. Becky and Amelia are girls at school together, but Becky is from a "show biz" ... See full summary »

Directors: Rouben Mamoulian, Lowell Sherman
Stars: Miriam Hopkins, Frances Dee, Cedric Hardwicke
All of Me (1934)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A professor tires of the direction his life is going and wants to move west, but his girlfriend doesn't understand why he is so dissatisfied.

Director: James Flood
Stars: Fredric March, Miriam Hopkins, George Raft
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A wealthy family is thrown into turmoil when the daughter falls for the family chauffeur and the son begins to keep company with a chorus girl.

Director: Fred C. Newmeyer
Stars: Miriam Hopkins, Carole Lombard, Frank Morgan
24 Hours (1931)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A nightclub singer is carrying on an affair with a married man. When she is found murdered, her lover is suspected of the crime.

Director: Marion Gering
Stars: Clive Brook, Kay Francis, Miriam Hopkins
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A wealthy but neurotic Southern belle finds herself trapped in the hideout of a gang of vicious bootleggers. The gang's leader lusts after her, and is determined not to let anything stand in the way of his having her.

Director: Stephen Roberts
Stars: Miriam Hopkins, William Gargan, Jack La Rue
Edit

Cast

Cast overview:
...
...
Duke Taylor
...
Floyd Stevens
...
Gus
...
Fanny Zabowolski
...
Maurice Black ...
Max
...
Police Sergeant McGroody
...
Benny
Eduardo Durant ...
Orchestra Leader
Eduardo Durant's Rhumba Band ...
Musical Ensemble
Edit

Storyline

A bandleader tries to romance a dancer by sending her boyfriend, a musician, out of town. However, things get complicated when he finds out that a gangster has designs on her too.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on play | See All (1) »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

11 March 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dançando no Escuro  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »

Soundtracks

St. Louis Blues
(uncredited)
Written by W.C. Handy
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Plodding Pre-Code Melodrama with an Expressionistic Main Set
12 January 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Another Pre-Code obscurity, Dancers in the Dark is a middling melodrama about a dancehall singer/dancer Gloria (Miriam Hopkins) who finds three men pining for her: wet-behind-the ears saxophonist Floyd (William Collier, Jr), smart-alecked bandleader Duke (Jack Oakie), and murderous crook Louie (George Raft).

Gloria seems to have a drama-ridden past but innocent Floyd has fallen for her anyway. And she likes him just as much. They plan to get married but Floyd's childhood friend Duke doesn't like it. He arranges it so that Floyd has to leave town for a month-long gig with a band in Pittsburgh. Obedient Floyd leaves, planning to marry Gloria when he returns. Duke figures that soon enough Gloria will be back to her old tricks. But then Louie shows up, one of those old flames of Gloria's, a two-bit crook who immediately moves in on his old territory. Only Gloria stops his advances; she's in love with Floyd. Soon even Duke's putting the moves on her; his original idea was to get Gloria to forget about Floyd, but instead he finds himself falling for the tough-talking blonde.

Intersperse the above melodrama with the occasional song and dance number and a pointless robbery scene and you have Dancers in the Dark. A lot of these Pre-Code flicks are regrettably now obscurities but some of them have been forgotten for a reason; at this moment I'm considering Dancers to be one of the latter. For this is an overly-talky, plodding affair in which nothing seems to happen except for people sitting around and talking…and talking…and talking.

I blame screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz. These days he gets credit for writing "Citizen Kane" and admittedly his dialog is good – but at least in Kane he had Orson Welles, a director who understood what separates films from plays. Mankiewicz had a long screen writing career behind him but more than that he was a playwright, and his scripts generally fall under the same rubric; like plays they are composed of precious little "movie content" and instead feature endless scenes of dialog. What with the talent and the surreal set, a director could've done wonders for this movie, turned it into a fast-moving piece of Pre-Code luridness. But David Burton directs the film in as stage-bound a manner as Mankiewicz's script. For example, that aforementioned robbery scene. We don't even see it; Louie and his croney discuss the robbery, we see them sneak up to the place, then a ham-fisted screen-pan and we see them coming out after performing the deed. We only discover what happened via their dialog, of course.

Most notable about the film is its main set. Really the film only takes place on the one set and it's a doozy: this massive dance floor with a bandstage in the center, with surreal architecture swooping and spanning above and about the entirety. Oblong shadows are cast all over the expanse, lending the film a German Expressionistic/Dr. Caligari feel. Paramount went to some lengths to create this set; it's unfortunate the story doesn't live up to it. I can only imagine what a Josef von Sternberg or a Lubitsch or even a Leisen would've done with such promising décor. That being said, I only wish I could see the set better; I'm certain it would look all the more incredible on a better print than my sourced-from-16mm bootleg copy.

Acting-wise everyone performs admirably; Raft has the sneering gangster bit down pat and Jack Oakie's at his gum-chewing, line-dropping best. Miriam Hopkins carries the brunt of it, ranging from drama to comedy. She handles it well but I feel she emotes a bit too much in certain scenes. Lots of overly-dramatic stuff which, again, probably would've gone over well on a theater stage but comes off as hammy in a film. She sings a few numbers, particularly "St. Louis Blues," but she's obviously lip-synching. I have no idea who really sang the number, but whoever it was had one belter of a voice.


6 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

"The IMDb Show": Alan Tudyk, His Top 5 Star Wars Droids, and Denzel's Dream Role

"The IMDb Show" Thanksgiving special: Alan Tudyk ranks his top five droids, we talk with the cast of Roman J. Israel, Esq., and we share our favorite Thanksgiving TV episodes.

Watch the show