9 user 2 critic

On Your Toes (1939)

Approved | | Music, Comedy | 14 October 1939 (USA)
A young hoofer quits vaudeville to become a composer and hooks up with a Russian ballet troupe.



(screen play), (screen play) | 5 more credits »


Complete credited cast:
Vera Barnova
Phil Dolan Jr.
Sergei Alexandrovitch
Paddy Reilly
Phil Dolan Sr.
Ivan Boultonoff
Peggy Porterfield
Queenie Smith ...
Mrs. Dolan
Erik Rhodes ...
Konstantin Morrisine
Donald Henderson
Phil Jr. as a Boy
Sarita Wooton ...
Vera as a Girl (as Sarita Wooten)


Junior Donal, an ex-vaudevillian now teaching music at Knickerbocker University in New York, enlists to help of patroness Peggy Portefield to persuade Sergei Alexandrovich, the director of the Russian Ballet, to stage a friend's jazzy "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" ballet. Junior becomes involved with the company's prima ballerina, Vera Barnova, and even takes over the male lead in "Slaughter". This so enrages Vera's lover and regular dancing partner that he hires two thugs to kill Junior while he is performing on stage. Written by Alessandro Martini <alemartini@geocities.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Music | Comedy


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

14 October 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Dançarina Russa  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


"On Your Toes" was adapted from a Broadway musical that opened at the Imperial Theater in New York on April 11, 1936 and ran for 315 performances. Ray Bolger starred in the original stage production. The musical was revived on Broadway in 1954 and 1983. See more »


Sergei Alexandrovitch: I will not give the American audiences what they want, I will give them what they ought to like.
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Crazy Credits

Lorenz Hart, the lyricist for the original Broadway show, receives onscreen credit, but his lyrics are never sung at all in the film. See more »


On Your Toes
Music by Richard Rodgers
Played by the orchestra as background music
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User Reviews

A lyricless revision of the musical concentrates on ballet and comedy.
16 October 1998 | by (Pine Grove, California) – See all my reviews

I was disappointed in not hearing any of the great songs, such as "There's a Small Hotel," sung in this movie, apparently revised to accommodate its star Vera Zorina, who is a ballerina. Despite the onscreen credit for lyrics, the songs of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart are used as background music throughout, while two pieces suitable to ballet were used to display Zorina's ballet skills. The first, "Princess Zenobia" started as a straight ballet, but with Eddie Albert substituting for a missing performer, it turns into a burlesque of ballet, and is a hit. I was uncomfortable with the implication that straight ballet cannot be enjoyed (which is even stated in the script). The second piece, "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue," was extremely well done and worth seeing. But here also, the writers injected other material. The impresario, Alan Hale, planned on having Albert killed at the end of the ballet. We know it and Albert learns of it while still on stage and sees the killers too, all of which creates a small amount of suspense. The overall plot is a little dumb, as in most early musicals, but I did enjoy seeing a young, dancing Donald O'Connor (playing Albert as a boy) and some of the gags supplied by Frank McHugh and Leonid Kinskey.

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