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The Dancing Years (1950)

Approved | | Drama, Musical, Romance | 23 August 1950 (USA)
The episodic story of a composer of operettas, Rudi Kleiber, in in old Viennese days, and the two women in his life; Maria Zeitler, his sweetheart, later mistress, lost love, an operetta ... See full summary »



(play), | 1 more credit »
1 nomination. See more awards »


Cast overview:
Gisèle Préville ...
Patricia Dainton ...
Grey Blake ...
Olive Gilbert ...
Martin Ross ...
Gerald Case ...
Rudi's Secretary
Carl Jaffe ...
Jeremy Spenser ...
Maria's Son


The episodic story of a composer of operettas, Rudi Kleiber, in in old Viennese days, and the two women in his life; Maria Zeitler, his sweetheart, later mistress, lost love, an operetta star, and his first patron, and the mother of a son he did not know he had; and of Greta, his first love and companion in later years. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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Wonder Musical of the Year See more »


Drama | Musical | Romance


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Release Date:

23 August 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Valsa Eterna  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Featured in Elstree Story (1952) See more »

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User Reviews

Pleasant adaptation of the Novello operetta
17 February 2004 | by (Putney, VT) – See all my reviews

THE DANCING YEARS is served better than Novello's previous operetta adaptation (GLORIOUS NIGHT retained only four of its fifteen numbers and lasted a mere hour and ten minutes, less than half of its original stage length). Here seven out of fifteen numbers are present and the libretto retains its balanced mix of fancy and reality.

Olive Gilbert and Anthony Nicholls repeat their stage recreations here and the ever bland but pleasant Dennis Price essays the role created by Novello himself. The lovely and quite talented Gisele Preville takes over the part created on stage by Mary Ellis.

Simply told it is a confection whereby a struggling Austrian operetta composer meets and falls in love with an opera star who nurtures his career. Her shady past as a woman with many liaisons is brought to the fore by her current amour, a Prince who hopes to eventually win her. Through a number of misunderstandings the composer and singer eventually part. She is pregnant with his child but he does not know this until the final reel. She marries the prince and raises the child as their own. There is a touching reunion/farewell scene where the composer sees his love for the last time and for the first time meets his son.

The production in Technicolor is quite lovely and the singing and dancing are top notch. Patricia Dainton gives a vivacious performance as Grete, the "girl he left behind" and dances beautifully. The heart of the film however belongs to Ms. Preville. Her acting is quite fine and her singing lovely. She is worth the price of admission alone.

The seven numbers retained are:

WALTZ OF MY HEART sung by Preville and reprised in the finale; THE WINGS OF SLEEP sung by Preville and Gilbert; MY LIFE BELONGS TO YOU sung as a snatch by Price and then by Preville and a tenor on stage; I CAN GIVE YOU THE STARLIGHT sung by Preville; MY DEAREST DEAR sung by Price and Preville; PRIMROSE sung and danced by Dainton; and the LEAP YEAR WALTZ heard in the main title and danced beautifully by Dainton.

The action moves from 1910 to 1926. 42 minutes were shorn from the original stage running time of 140 minutes. Oddly enough we must wait fourteen minutes into the film before anyone sings a note. Look for Laurence Harvey in a bit walk on.

THE DANCING YEARS was also produced on television in its entirety in 1976.

It's a lovely operetta and worth a visit.

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