23 user 13 critic

Ten Cents a Dance (1931)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 6 March 1931 (USA)
Men pay a dime to dance with Barbara and her fellow taxi dancers. She marries Eddie and plans to quit dancing. Before she does, she meets a handsome and rich gentleman.


Lionel Barrymore, Edward Buzzell (uncredited)


Jo Swerling (story), Jo Swerling (screenplay) | 3 more credits »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Barbara Stanwyck ... Barbara O'Neill
Ricardo Cortez ... Bradley Carlton
Monroe Owsley ... Eddie Miller
Sally Blane ... Molly
Blanche Friderici ... Mrs. Blanchard
Phyllis Crane ... Eunice
Olive Tell ... Mrs. Carlton
Victor Potel ... Sailor Smith
Al Hill ... Sailor Jones
Jack Byron Jack Byron ... Leo
Pat Harmon ... Casey - Club Bouncer
Martha Sleeper ... Nancy Clark
David Newell ... Ralph Clark
Sidney Bracey ... Wilson - Carlton's Butler
Harry Todd ... Mr. Carney


Men pay a dime to dance with Barbara and her fellow taxi dancers. She marries Eddie and quits dancing, but before that, she meets with the handsome and very rich Bradley. Barbara eventually starts dancing again, since her marriage is plagued by financial tension, and Bradley begins visiting her again. Eddie becomes jealous, accusing his wife of infidelity. He sees that alleged infidelity as an excuse to steal money from Bradley. Written by Ulf Kjell Gür

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


With a lump in her throat and a pang in her heart,...SHE DANCED! (Print Ad-Toledo News-Bee, ((Toledo, Ohio)) 3 April 1931) See more »


Crime | Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Barbara O'Neill: I didn't lie to you. I just didn't go into detail.
See more »


Alternate-language version of Carne de cabaret (1931) See more »


Ten Cents a Dance
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Lorenz Hart
See more »

User Reviews

Stanwyck tries to lift dispiriting potboiler
5 November 2007 | by Derutterj-1See all my reviews

Soon after this effort, Lionel Barrymore went back to acting full-time. I wouldn't blame him. Although Stanwyck is excellent as usual, this is a slight tale, typical of the time, that she alone makes worth watching—one time only. There's something frustrating, moreover, about how her character remains faithfully committed to the lout played by Monroe Owsley for so long. I suppose we have to accept that behavior which in our day would seem masochistic was the cultural norm in 1931 for most women. On the Pre-Code front, there's a gum-chewing scene stealer, foxy Sally Blane as Molly, a newbie who can't wait to dive into the sleazy dance hall world, although Stanwyck tries to advise her (and immediately says she knows that Molly is underage).

What brings everything down is the low budget. Columbia could mount a good-looking feature from time to time, but in 1931, I suppose they weren't doing it very much. The art director does suggest the opulence of Ricardo Cortez's apartment effectively without showing its interior; we get the idea from the lobby, hallway leading up to his door and vestibule, with its snazzy Spanish California motif. But the rest of the picture is pretty threadbare, and Barrymore's direction seems perfunctory and hurried, as if pressured by budget and schedule constraints (I hasten to add that budget is not necessarily everything; take a look at the excellent, absorbing Five Star Final, which basically takes place in two newspaper offices and an apartment living room, to see how resourcefully such conditions can be handled).

As for the story itself, it looks like it was dreamed up by somebody and sketched out on the back of an envelope all in the space of one afternoon. If Barrymore felt dispirited, he sure showed 'em, going into "A Free Soul" this very year, where his performance blew everybody's minds and won him a lifetime MGM contract. The song of the title is pretty good; we hear but do not see it performed by a torchy vocalist.

26 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 23 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

6 March 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A diez centavos el baile See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.19 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.

Visit our What to Watch page

Recently Viewed