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Janie lives to dance and will dance anywhere, even stripping in a burlesque house. Tod Newton, the rich playboy, discovers her there and helps her get a job in a real Broadway musical being directed by Patch. Tod thinks he can get what he wants from Janie, Patch thinks Janie is using her charms rather than talent to get to the top, and Janie thinks Patch is the greatest. Steve, the stage manager, has the Three Stooges helping him manage all the show girls. Fred Astaire and Nelson Eddy make appearances as famous Broadway personalities. Written by
Lisa Grable <email@example.com>
By definition any film like Dancing Lady that has the debuts of movie icons Fred Astaire and Nelson Eddy is historic. But Dancing Lady is a good, not great film.
It is also one of the few sound films that took advantage of Joan Crawford's dancing talents. Few remember that it was as a dancer that Joan Crawford started in show business. During her silent period Crawford played a few roles as a flapper, but her dramatic talents came to the fore when sound came in. It would be another twenty years before she did a musical role in Torch Song on a return visit to her old studio MGM.
Crawford is an aspiring dancer who's doing some strip teasing at a dive when slumming playboy Franchot Tone spots her. He's interested in her, but she's interested in a career. She auditions for a new Broadway revue that is being directed by Clark Gable.
Despite some misgivings Gable recognizes her talent and is ready to star her. But a few bumps on the road to love and Broadway occur as they do in any musical. It all gets resolved though.
This was one of Franchot Tone's first role in a tuxedo. I guess he looked so good in white tie and tails that Louis B. Mayer starred him in over half his films in a tuxedo. Tone got pretty tired of it and left MGM at the end of decade, but couldn't shake the typecasting for the rest of his life. But he also got Crawford in real life, he became her second husband.
We cannot forget the contributions of that comedic team of Howard, Howard, and Fine who were Ted Healy's three stooges. Dancing Lady is one of the Three Stooges earliest films, Larry in fact had a bit more of a substantial role as a pianist here.
Joan Crawford became the first of a long list of distinguished women of the cinema to dance with Fred Astaire. Though he made his debut here, Louis B. Mayer thought little of him to sign him to a long term contract. Later on he paid dear for Mr. Astaire's services. Fred has a few lines of dialog and two numbers with Crawford.
At least he was smart enough to keep Nelson Eddy, signed fresh from the Metropolitan Opera. After two more bits like this in films, Eddy was co-starred with Jeanette MacDonald in Naughty Marietta and the rest is history. Eddy sings the finale number.
Though Warner Brothers practically had a patent on the backstage musical stuff in the Thirties, Dancing Lady is entertaining enough on its own terms.
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