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 ...
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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 partner named Helen. (The highlight of the film is a dance performed atop a circular stage to a truncated version of Ravel's "Bolero.")Written by
Eugene Kim <email@example.com>
Before starting in films, George Raft was a taxi dancer in New York, dancing with women at clubs for the proverbial "ten cents a dance". He was adept at all kinds of dance steps, including Spanish-style, which made his role in this film perfect for him. BTW, one of his fellow dancers was a young Italian immigrant named Rudolph Valentino. See more »
George Raft is excellent as an ambitious dancer (he was a Broadway dancer before coming to Hollywood) who is never satisfied. He works his way up thru beer gardens and honky tonks in the US to the height of London and Paris supper clubs, finally owning his own nightclub. Even if some of the long shots are doubled by a dance act, there is enough footage here to show that Raft could dance. Not an Astair or Kelly, but Raft could certainly move--in total opposition to his screen persona as rigid tough guy. Bolero is one of Raft's most likable and best film performances.
Carole Lombard, in horrible makeup, cashes in on her breakthrough year of 1934 (this film and Twentieth Century) in her role as Helen. Lombard and Raft were a good team and are quite believable as dancers. Lombard slinks thru a few numbers here before the big Bolero production number--she even danced in her underwear for her audition. Quite racy. Lombard remains one the the screen's great treasure even 60 years after her death.
Sally Rand is surprisingly good as Annette, and yes Rand does her famous "fan dance" complete with see-through negligee. She has a couple of really solid acting scenes as well. William Frawly is good as the Irish brother (Raft plays a Belgian), while Gertrude Michael and Frances Drake are solid in support. Ray Milland has a small role as Lombard's husband.
Bolero was a hit, a change of pace for Raft, a star-making role for Lombard. It spawned 1935's Rumba, which was not a hit. And even if the long shots are of Veloz and Yolanda, they are extremely well done. We see enough of Raft and Lombard in dance action to believe that ALL the dancing is done but them.
Nice film though I wish the Bolero dance number had been longer. This and Night After Night rank among Raft's best performances.
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