6.8/10
1,953
21 user 19 critic

Dance with a Stranger (1985)

A stormy relationship, complicated by the strictures of 1950s social class and gender roles, ends in death. Based on the life of Ruth Ellis, the last woman hanged in Britain.

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3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
David Blakeley
...
Desmond Cussen
Matthew Carroll ...
Andy
...
Anthony Findlater
Jane Bertish ...
Carole Findlater
David Troughton ...
Cliff Davis
Paul Mooney ...
Clive Gunnell
...
Morrie Conley
...
Christine
Susan Kyd ...
Barbara
...
Maryanne
Sallie Anne Field ...
Claudette (as Sallie-Anne Field)
David Beale ...
Man in Little Club
Martin Murphy ...
Roy
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Storyline

Ruth Ellis lives with her 10-year old son Andy next to a night club. One night she meets David Blakely, and they start a love affair. However, for David with his upper-class background it is impossible to uphold the relationship. He breaks up with her, something which makes Ellis, obsessed by him, very upset... Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It wasn't simply love. It was a case of cold-blooded passion.

Genres:

Biography | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 August 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bailar con un extraño  »

Box Office

Gross:

$138,359 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Events depicted in this movie in the year of 1955 contributed to the gradual abolition of capital punishment in the UK, which began in 1965 but was only completed in 2004. See more »

Goofs

Ruth switches on a radio which begins to play immediately. In those times, vacuum-tube radios had to warm up for about 20 seconds. See more »

Quotes

David Blakeley: I want you to marry me.
Ruth Ellis: Why? Are you pregnant?
See more »

Connections

Featured in Siskel & Ebert: Buried Treasures - 1987 Edition (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend
(uncredited)
Music by Jule Styne
Lyrics by Leo Robin
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Miranda's Rights
5 December 2000 | by (Farmington Hills, MI, USA) – See all my reviews

Billing this as the tale of "the last woman who was executed in Britain" sorta lets you know up front that Miranda Richardson's widescreen debut is going to end badly.

Director Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral) pulls gut~wrenching performances from his leads, Miranda Richardson, Rupert Everett & the always~underrated Ian Holm, in this fascinating fact~based story about utter sexual obsession.

Set in the dark '50s.

Ruth Ellis (Richardson) runs and lives above a nightclub/brothel frequented by several of London's wealthy gadflies. She's platinum blonde, all brass and ummm... well~liked by the local gentry.

She also has a young son named Andy, about to enter school, who turns the blindest of innocent eyes to Mom's lifestyle.

Enter David (Everett), a sullen alcoholic rich boy and LeMans auto racer wannabe who's taken in by Ruth's wiles within moments of seeing her for the first time ~ after being introduced to Ruth and her "club" by his equally well~heeled close friend Desmond (Holm).

What unfolds is the single most riveting ~ and more importantly, believable ~ love/hate relationship film I've seen. There have been tons of movies about obsessive lust (and I'm not talking about the flix they rent behind that door at the back of your video store whose "A" section takes up three aisles) but this one is a real treat.

David, you see, is seriously involved with another woman when he meets Ruth... yet beds the latter in quick fashion. The other woman (eventually his fiancee) is the rub. As is David's penchant for getting drunk and simultaneously developing still a third wandering eye.

Still, it's Ruth he wants. To the point of showing up at the oddest of times to woo (or just rant drunkenly, incoherently at ~ or just to hit) her. All the while winnowing his way deeply into Ruth and her son's hearts and lives.

Meanwhile Desmond stands stoically by until nearly the bitter end, supporting Ruth during LeMans~boy's long absences and sustaining her each time David fails to live up to his promises, which is pretty much always.

The "fights betwixt the leads" scenes are the best, the most creatively acted and directed.

After a while, Newell yanks you into the almost~triangle between the three and one begins to attempt to choose sides. This proves to be impossible, as none of the characters are particularly sympathetic.

IE: this ain't a Hollywood movie. Each character has flaws which are well~defined, there's no happy ending and (are you listening, Jim Cameron?)... no sequel.

Richardson is simply astonishing in her premiere. Each note she plays, screaming or smoldering, is just right (hence Miranda's Rights).

Everett's superb as the sociopathically obsessed lover.

And Holm is, well, brilliant. Color him unrequited with a vengeance.

9 of 10 Niro~Stars


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