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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>
Lucille Ball and Maureen O'Hara became inseparable friends while shooting this film, and remained lifelong friends until Ball's death in 1989. O'Hara was having lunch with her when Ball first saw her future husband Desi Arnaz. See more »
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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"Your temperament's out of place, even down right idiotic " And so
A frustrated, chiding Ralph Bellamy confronts dancer Maureen O'Hara. And, yes., there is something "out of place" that permeates this whole film. The whole production feels dated, even for a movie made in 1940.
Dorothy Arzner, the director, started her career in the silent film era, and the movie could easily be re- imagined and visualized as a silent film. There is an absence of wit; the verbal exchanges are limp and clichéd and could easily be relegated to dialogue cards on the screen. The storyline seems to want to illuminate the challenges of women's empowerment in a man's world but fails as a "message movie" and offers only minor entertainment.
Maureen O'Hara, as Irish lass Judy O'Brien, is the demure ballerina, determined to make a career in her own way, on her own terms, and without the entanglements and compromises entailed in relationships with men. She is "sweet" on wealthy playboy Jimmy Harris but is confused by his attentions and doesn't know how to pursue the target of her infatuation. In both the world of romance and career, we see O'Hara play out the virtuous determination of a dull, stubborn girl, who can't recognize opportunity when it comes her way, and wouldn't know what to do with it if she did recognize it. Lucille Ball, is Tiger Lily White, her exact opposite. Dynamo queen of the burlesque house, Balls plays the stock figure of the brazen, gold digger, adept at manipulating and seizing any advantage that comes her way.
Ralph Bellamy and Louis Hayward, Broadway producer, and wealthy, dissolute playboy respectively, are just masculine stereotypes, templates of character types portrayed, (and to greater effect) in countless earlier films made in the 1930s.
Maria Ouspenskaya, in a supporting role as dance mentor Madame Lydia Basilova, turns up cast as an often used type: the European elderly woman for all reasons and all seasons. She's fun to watch, often unintentionally comical, for no matter her character or country of origin, she courageously carries out her performance always emoting with an unmistakable Yiddish accent and inflections.
Lucille Ball, an energetic performer when roles allowed her to expand her persona, adds some verve and energy to the storyline. She seemingly is the only cast member invested with any interest in this B movie concoction from RKO a wan, limp example of what was known as a "women's film."
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