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Right before the dancing Tobius' ought to film a new production, his wife tells Freddy Tobius that she's pregnant. So the producer desperately has to seek a replacement and starts a countrywide competition among all college girls. However the contest is bogus: young dancer Patty Marlow is sent to a little college in the Midwest. Only Pug, a college reporter, suspects something. Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
A year after they appeared together in "Love Finds Andy Hardy", Lana Turner and Ann Rutherford were paired up in two 1939 films: "These Glamour Girls" and "Dancing Co-Ed". Beyond having a college setting (with Turner playing an outsider) and the same Director (S. Sylvan Simon) there was little similarity between the two films. Although not as ambitious, "Dancing Co-Ed" is a much more entertaining film. It is probably Turner's best performance and is indisputably her most timeless. She gets to show off her dancing and her surprising ability to do comedy. Plus she looks great in a charming girl-next-door way, playing a character that gets to smile a lot (she has a great smile-too bad so few of her roles utilized it).
The story revolves around a nationwide hunt to find a new female dance partner for a well-known dancer, a radio program runs a contest to select this partner from aspiring college students. But it is more publicity stunt than actual contest as vaudeville dancer Patty Marlow (Turner) has been pre-selected, she has enrolled in a university just to be technically eligible. Her agent's secretary (Rutherford) enrolls with her to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Complications arise when Pug (Richard Carlson), a reporter for the Porcupine (the student newspaper), begins to investigate the legitimacy of the contest. Carlson would became the king of 3D science fiction films in the 1950's.
"Dancing Co-Ed" has a lot going for it. Turner and Rutherford have excellent chemistry, their scenes work very well and you really believe that they are friends. It is a slick and funny script. The supporting cast actually has something to add to the production, particularly Monty Woolley as pompous Professor Lang and Leon Errol as Patty's vaudeville father.
Artie Shaw and His Orchestra are featured extensively and provide some great swing music. They are even in a parade with a college marching band featuring baton-twirling majorettes (who would have thought they had that kind of stuff way back in 1939).
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
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