Dance, Girl, Dance (1940)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Musical  |  30 August 1940 (USA)
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Judy O'Brien is an aspiring ballerina in a dance troupe. Also in the company is Bubbles, a brash mantrap who leaves the struggling troupe for a career in burlesque. When the company ... See full summary »


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(screen play), (screen play), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jimmy Harris
Virginia Field ...
Elinor Harris
Steve Adams
Maria Ouspenskaya ...
Madame Lydia Basilova
Katharine Alexander ...
Miss Olmstead
Edward Brophy ...
Dwarfie Humblewinger
Harold Huber ...
Hoboken Gent
Ernest Truex ...
Bailey #1
Chester Clute ...
Bailey #2
Lorraine Krueger ...
Lola Jensen ...


Judy O'Brien is an aspiring ballerina in a dance troupe. Also in the company is Bubbles, a brash mantrap who leaves the struggling troupe for a career in burlesque. When the company disbands, Bubbles gives Judy a thankless job as her stooge. The two eventually clash when both fall for the same man. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Heartbreak Behind Gayety of a Girly-Girl Show!


Comedy | Drama | Musical


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

30 August 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Vida é uma Dança  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Recording System) (as R C A Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Lucille Ball met her future husband, Desi Arnaz, while she was shooting the picture. On the very day she first met him, she was made-up to look like she had just emerged from a catfight with scratches, a black eye and bandages which resulted in Arnaz not paying much attention to her. The next time he saw her, she was not in costume and he was instantly smitten. See more »


Bubbles: Listen, squirt! I don't fall in gutters. I pick my spots.
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Featured in These Amazing Shadows (2011) See more »


The Wedding March
From "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
Written by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Played when newlyweds enter the nightclub
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User Reviews

An American Classic
21 October 1998 | by (california) – See all my reviews

Directed by a woman (!) in 1940 (!) and written by a team of two women and a man, "Dance, Girl, Dance" tackles a central plot explored later in "Flashdance" and "Dance With Me" (also directed by a woman, Randa Haines) - the serious dancer struggling for identity in a cheap, commercialized world.

Artistic dancer Judy is forced to sleaze it up as a stripper to earn a living. But she refuses to sacrifice either her dignity or her dreams. Lucy's a hoot as a whore in a rare big-screen appearance before her TV show. And Maria Ouspenskaya of the Chaney Jr. werewolf pics is hysterical as Judy's ballet teacher. "When ze moon iz full my child yu vill do plies!" Well, she doesn't actually say that, but she might as well.

The strengths of "Dance, Girl, Dance" lie in Arzner's telling the story of an emancipated, free-thinking American woman discovering and flexing her muscles of independence. O'Hara gives a rousing performance as Judy. Her onstage tongue-lashing of the trenchcoat wearing men in her audience is a speech equal to Jimmy "Mr. Smith" Stewart's Washington address.

While much of the dialogue and editing crackle with the wit of 40s screwball comedy, Arzner masterfully turned her camera to dramatic insights and crafted a true American gem, one of the most underrated classics of its day.

13 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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