7.5/10
235
8 user 3 critic

The Dance of Life (1929)

A vaudeville comic and a pretty young dancer aren't having much luck in their separate careers, so they decide to combine their acts. In order to save money on the road, they get married. ... See full summary »

Writers:

Benjamin Glazer (screenplay), Arthur Hopkins (play) | 3 more credits »
Reviews

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Certificate: Passed Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A ruthless, crooked stockbroker is murdered at his luxurious country estate, and detective Philo Vance just happens to be there; he decides to find out who killed him.

Director: Frank Tuttle
Stars: William Powell, William 'Stage' Boyd, Eugene Pallette
Bolero (1934)
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

This is the story of an egotistical nightclub dance performer named Raoul, his determination to succeed at all costs, and the only woman in his life that truly matters to him, a dancing ... See full summary »

Directors: Wesley Ruggles, Mitchell Leisen
Stars: George Raft, Carole Lombard, Sally Rand
Her Man (1930)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Paris bargirl with tough "protector" falls for young sailor.

Director: Tay Garnett
Stars: Helen Twelvetrees, Phillips Holmes, Marjorie Rambeau
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Father hires a woman to lure his son away from a gold digger.

Director: George Archainbaud
Stars: Betty Compson, John Darrow, Gilbert Emery
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The trial and tribulations of a strong-willed woman who elopes and gives birth out of wedlock without telling her ex-husband.

Director: Edmund Goulding
Stars: Gloria Swanson, Robert Ames, Purnell Pratt
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Dowdy Sylvia accepts her boss' marriage proposal, even though he only asked her to avoid marriage to another woman. As a wealthy wife, Sylvia changes from ugly duckling to uninhibited swan ... See full summary »

Director: Paul L. Stein
Stars: Constance Bennett, Kenneth MacKenna, Basil Rathbone
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Mary Whitman, an old friend of Charlie's in Reno for a divorce, finds herself accused of murdering the woman her husband planned to marry after the decree became final.

Director: Norman Foster
Stars: Sidney Toler, Ricardo Cortez, Phyllis Brooks
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

While in Paris for a reunion on the eve of World War II, Charlie finds that the murder of an hated businessman leads him to a conspiracy to smuggle arms to Germany.

Director: Herbert I. Leeds
Stars: Sidney Toler, Lynn Bari, Richard Clarke
Jungle Bride (1933)
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

A young woman believes that an actor committed the murder for which her brother has been imprisoned, and she gets her fiancé--a newspaper reporter--to accompany her in following the ... See full summary »

Directors: Harry O. Hoyt, Albert H. Kelley
Stars: Anita Page, Charles Starrett, Kenneth Thomson
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A treasury agent on the trail of counterfeit money confides to fellow ocean liner passenger Charlie Chan that there have been two attempts on his life.

Director: Terry O. Morse
Stars: Sidney Toler, Gloria Warren, Victor Sen Yung
Wise Girl (1937)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Snooty heiress decides to track down her dead sister's kids, who are living a Bohemian life with their uncle in Greenwich Village. Once she finds them, she discovers that the Bohemian life ... See full summary »

Director: Leigh Jason
Stars: Miriam Hopkins, Ray Milland, Walter Abel
Street Scene (1931)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Twenty-four hours elapse on the stoop of a Hell's Kitchen tenement as a microcosm of the American melting pot interacts with each other during a summer heatwave.

Director: King Vidor
Stars: Sylvia Sidney, William Collier Jr., Estelle Taylor
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Hal Skelly ... Ralph 'Skid' Johnson
Nancy Carroll ... Bonny Lee King
Dorothy Revier ... Sylvia Marco
Ralph Theodore Ralph Theodore ... Harvey Howell (as Ralph Theadore)
Charles D. Brown Charles D. Brown ... Lefty Miller
Al St. John ... Bozo
May Boley May Boley ... Gussie
Oscar Levant ... Jerry Evans
Gladys DuBois Gladys DuBois ... Miss Sherman
James Quinn James Quinn ... Jimmy
Jim Farley ... Champ Melvin
George Irving ... Minister
Gordona Bennet Gordona Bennet ... Amazon Chorus Girl
Miss La Reno Miss La Reno ... Amazon Chorus Girl
Cora Beach Shumway Cora Beach Shumway ... Amazon Chorus Girl
Edit

Storyline

A vaudeville comic and a pretty young dancer aren't having much luck in their separate careers, so they decide to combine their acts. In order to save money on the road, they get married. Soon their act begins to catch on, and they find themselves booked onto Broadway. They also realize that they actually are in love with each other, but just when things are starting to look up, the comic starts to let success go to his head. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

theater | based on play | See All (2) »

Taglines:

See the Follies do the Flippity Flop! (Print ad- (Auckland Star,((Auckland,N.Z.)) 30 November 1929) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Musical | Romance

Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 August 1929 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Burlesque See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (MovieTone)

Color:

Color (2-strip Technicolor) (one sequence)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This was Oscar Levant's first acting role in a feature film. See more »

Connections

Version of Repertory Theatre: Burlesque (1949) See more »

Soundtracks

The Flippity Flop
(uncredited)
Music by Richard A. Whiting
Lyrics by Sam Coslow and Leo Robin
Sung by Marjorie Kane, danced by Hal Skelly and chorus girls in the finale at the Ziegfeld theatre
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Excellent vaudeville drama

'The Dance of Life' (1929) is the film version of a hit Broadway play called 'Burlesque', which starred Barbara Stanwyck. The original title was considered too racy for movie audiences, so the film producers bought the rights to a best-selling NON-fiction book about sex, 'The Dance of Life', just so they could use the book's title for this movie based on 'Burlesque'.

Skid Johnson is a baggy-pants comedian who can't make it on the vaudeville circuit. He meets Bonny Lee, a bright young dancer who is pretty and talented but who just can't catch a break. Stranded in a train station between vaudeville bookings, the two decide to team up and try a new act together. To save money, they get married: if they travel the vaudeville circuit with a marriage license to prove they're husband and wife, they can share a single hotel room. As their act gets better, Skid and Bonny get bookings which bring them closer to Broadway, and soon they are genuinely in love with each other. But, just when stardom is within their grasp, Skid gets a big head. And then the trouble starts...

'The Dance of Life' is a fascinating early talkie. Nancy Carroll (in the Stanwyck role) is an excellent actress and a fine dancer. Dramatic actor Hal Skelly had difficulty getting roles because of his clownish face; in this film, he puts his unusual appearance to good tragicomic advantage as a comedian who encounters problems in his offstage life. Skelly does a funny skidding dance which probably explains his character's nickname.

Oscar Levant had a small role in the Broadway cast of 'Burlesque', in a party scene which gave him a chance to play the piano and make a few wisecracks. He makes his film debut in 'The Dance of Life', repeating his Broadway role ... but the screenplay cuts Levant's role to a mere walk-on, giving him no opportunities to play the piano or crack any jokes. Don't expect any of those great Levant witticisms.

I was excited to see Al Saint John's name in this film's cast list, in the role of Skid Johnson's slapstick comedy sidekick Bozo. Al Saint John was one of the great acrobatic comedians of the silent screen, working prominently with his uncle Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle and with Buster Keaton. Seeing him cast as a comedian in this dramatic backstage story, I expected St John to do some of his brilliant acrobatic pratfalls in 'The Dance of Life'. Unfortunately, we never see Bozo doing any of his act onstage, so St John's comedic talents are wasted in this film. But he handles the dramatic aspects of his supporting role very well.

Some of the dialogue in 'The Dance of Life' was considered quite racy at the time, but it will seem very tame now. Like this example:

GIRL: You wouldn't kid me, would you, mister?

BOY: I would if I could, sister, I would if I could.

In 1929, that was pretty close to a dirty joke. I recommend 'The Dance of Life' as a fascinating example of early talking pictures


21 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 8 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed