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Bolero (1934)

 -  Drama  -  23 February 1934 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 145 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 3 critic

This is the story of an egotistical nightclub dance performer named Raoul, his determination to succeed at all costs, and the only woman in his life that truly matters to him, a dancing ... See full summary »


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Title: Bolero (1934)

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Cast overview:
Raoul De Baere
Helen Hathaway
Sally Rand ...
Frances Drake ...
Mike DeBaere
Gertrude Michael ...
Lady D'Argon
Lord Robert Coray (as Raymond Milland)
Gloria Shea ...


This is the story of an egotistical nightclub dance performer named Raoul, his determination to succeed at all costs, and the only woman in his life that truly matters to him, a dancing partner named Helen. (The highlight of the film is a dance performed atop a circular stage to a truncated version of Ravel's "Bolero.") Written by Eugene Kim <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


His dancing partners were but stepping stones to fame! See more »








Release Date:

23 February 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bolero  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 by Universal ever since. See more »


Mike DeBaere: [to the fan dancer] Did you ever think about doing that dance with one fan?
See more »


Followed by Rumba (1935) See more »


Clair de Lune
Written by Claude Debussy
See more »

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User Reviews

"I'm Too Good For This Joint"
14 January 2009 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Bolero, the film named after Maurice Ravel's classic instrumental orchestral composition is one of George Raft's very few non-gangster successes. That's because it takes advantage of Raft's other great talent, that of a dancer. It's how he started out in show business and like James Cagney, got to display that aspect of his talent way too little.

Raft is perfectly cast as the stop at nothing to get to the top man who uses and discards women partners like Kleenex. The only one who really understands him is his down to earth brother William Frawley who serves as his manager. But when Carole Lombard comes into his life, it throws his game plan off kilter. But just a little bit.

The film is set in the years before, during, and just after World War I. Just as he's really got it made with the opening of his own club in Paris, the war breaks out which Raft considers something done to hurt him personally. But he decides unlike Gene Kelly in For Me And My Gal to turn things to his advantage. The war will be over in a few weeks he reasons, why not enlist and get great publicity as the biggest patriot in show business. That enlistment sets off a chain of events that ends in tragedy.

Speaking of Gene Kelly, if Bolero had been done at MGM instead of Paramount a decade or two later this film would have been great for him. Raft was a good dancer, but he was not a creative individual the way Kelly was. Look at what he did with An American In Paris, this could have been another film like that.

Still it's not bad, Raft and Lombard, make an exciting couple on the dance floor, especially doing that dance to an abbreviated version of Ravel's Bolero. There's also good performances by Frances Drake and Sally Rand as a couple of Raft's discarded dames and by up and coming Ray Milland as the English lord also interested in Lombard.

In other hands though, Bolero could have been a classic.

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