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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?


Originally announced to star James Cagney. See more »


Sergei Alexandrovitch: I will not give the American audiences what they want, I will give them what they ought to like.
See more »

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 »


Pretty Baby
Music by Egbert Van Alstyne and Tony Jackson
Played during the introduction of the Dancing Dolans and as their first number
Also played when the kids are on the stairs talking
See more »

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User Reviews

Nice cast in what is the shadow of a Broadway musical
20 May 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Vera Zorina, Eddie Albert, Alan Hale, Jr., Frank McHugh, Leonid Kinskey, Donald O'Connor, and James Gleason star in "On Your Toes," a 1939 film based on the Broadway show of the same name, which starred Ray Bolger and had music and lyrics by Rogers and Hart. If you think you hear "There's a Small Hotel" in the background throughout this film, you are - it was one of the songs in the musical that is not performed here. Since the star is Vera Zorina, the song omissions are presumably because she wasn't a singer. You'd think Hollywood just never dubbed anyone or just never assigned a song to a different character.

At any rate, if you forget the original show, what's left is actually entertaining, with Albert playing Phil Dolan, Jr., a young hoofer turned composer who writes "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue." The two dance sections, "Princess Zenobia" and "Slaughter" are the highlights of the film, with Slaughter very importantly shown with the original Balanchine choreography.

The other highlight for me was seeing a young Donald O'Connor, who plays the Phil as a young boy in vaudeville - he's delightful.

Some trivia: the head of the ballet company, played here by Alan Hale, Jr., was played on Broadway by Monty Wooley.

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