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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 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Go on, laugh, get your money's worth. No-one's going to hurt you. I know you want me to tear my clothes off so you can look your fifty cents' worth. Fifty cents for the privilege of staring at a girl the way your wives won't let you. What do you suppose we think of you up here with your silly smirks your mothers would be ashamed of? We know it'd the thing of the moment for the dress suits to come and laugh at us too. We'd laugh right back at the lot of you, only we're paid to let you sit there ...
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As one of the industry's few female directors, Dorothy Arzner's participation in this film is, I would guess, the main reason this movie is still known today. One wonders what Arzner could have accomplished if she lived in today's times, free of studio intervention. Arzner was able to direct this when Roy del Ruth had problems with the producer, Erich Pommer, and left.
The story is about two dancers - one a burlesque queen (Lucille Ball) and one an aspiring ballerina (Maureen O'Hara) -- commercialism versus art. Bubbles (Ball) goes for the money both in her work and in her search for a man, while Judy (O'Hara) attempts to be independent, even turning down Ralph Bellamy when he wants her to stand under his umbrella in the pouring rain.
The lives of these two women intertwine in work and in personal life -- Judy becomes a "stooge," a ballet dancing set-up as the burlesque audience screams for Bubbles; and they both take up with the same man, Jimmy (Louis Hayward) who's rich and conflicted. Judy understands him; Bubbles understands his wallet.
The cast is wonderful, with the O'Hara as a gentle, refined woman with the soul of an artist and accompanying sensitivity, and Ball as a classless sex bomb with a flashy personality. Both are gorgeous and play off one another beautifully.
The men make less of an impression -- this is, after all, a woman's picture. Louis Hayward as a tortured man going through a divorce somehow disrupts the flow of the film; and Ralph Bellamy is charming but doesn't have much to do.
A little slow but very entertaining and well worth seeing. Dorothy Arzner was a remarkable woman who survived in a man's world and made some excellent films, finishing her career as a teacher at UCLA. Her work is definitely worth checking out.
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