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On Your Toes (1939)

Approved | | Music, Comedy | 14 October 1939 (USA)
A young hoofer quits vaudeville to become a composer and hooks up with a Russian ballet troupe.


Ray Enright


Jerry Wald (screen play), Richard Macaulay (screen play) | 5 more credits »


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Complete credited cast:
Vera Zorina ... Vera Barnova
Eddie Albert ... Phil Dolan Jr.
Alan Hale ... Sergei Alexandrovitch
Frank McHugh ... Paddy Reilly
James Gleason ... Phil Dolan Sr.
Leonid Kinskey ... Ivan Boultonoff
Gloria Dickson ... Peggy Porterfield
Queenie Smith ... Mrs. Dolan
Erik Rhodes ... Konstantin Morrisine
Berton Churchill ... Donald Henderson
Donald O'Connor ... Phil Jr. as a Boy
Sarita Wooton Sarita Wooton ... Vera as a Girl (as Sarita Wooten)


Junior Donal, an ex-vaudevillian now teaching music at Knickerbocker University in New York, enlists to help of patroness Peggy Portefield to persuade Sergei Alexandrovich, the director of the Russian Ballet, to stage a friend's jazzy "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" ballet. Junior becomes involved with the company's prima ballerina, Vera Barnova, and even takes over the male lead in "Slaughter". This so enrages Vera's lover and regular dancing partner that he hires two thugs to kill Junior while he is performing on stage. Written by Alessandro Martini <alemartini@geocities.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Music | Comedy


Approved | See all certifications »





English | Russian

Release Date:

14 October 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Dançarina Russa See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This film's earliest documented telecast took place in Tucson Monday 27 August 1956 on KDWI (Channel 9); it first aired in Albuquerque Sunday 16 September 1956 on KOAT (Channel 7), in Boston Wednesday 19 September 1956 on WBZ (Channel 4), in San Francisco Wednesday 3 October 1956 on KPIX (Channel 5), in New York City Sunday 4 November 1956 on WABD (Channel 5), and in Bloomington IN Tuesday 18 December 1956 on WTTV (Channel 4). See more »


George Balanchine's name is misspelled as "Ballanchine" in the credits. See more »


Sergei Alexandrovitch: I will not give the American audiences what they want, I will give them what they ought to like.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Lorenz Hart, the lyricist for the original Broadway show, receives onscreen credit, but his lyrics are never sung at all in the film. See more »


Princess Zenobia Ballet
(1936) (uncredited)
Music by Richard Rodgers
Danced by Vera Zorina, Charles Laskey and others
See more »

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User Reviews

Nice cast in what is the shadow of a Broadway musical
20 May 2010 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Vera Zorina, Eddie Albert, Alan Hale, Jr., Frank McHugh, Leonid Kinskey, Donald O'Connor, and James Gleason star in "On Your Toes," a 1939 film based on the Broadway show of the same name, which starred Ray Bolger and had music and lyrics by Rogers and Hart. If you think you hear "There's a Small Hotel" in the background throughout this film, you are - it was one of the songs in the musical that is not performed here. Since the star is Vera Zorina, the song omissions are presumably because she wasn't a singer. You'd think Hollywood just never dubbed anyone or just never assigned a song to a different character.

At any rate, if you forget the original show, what's left is actually entertaining, with Albert playing Phil Dolan, Jr., a young hoofer turned composer who writes "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue." The two dance sections, "Princess Zenobia" and "Slaughter" are the highlights of the film, with Slaughter very importantly shown with the original Balanchine choreography.

The other highlight for me was seeing a young Donald O'Connor, who plays the Phil as a young boy in vaudeville - he's delightful.

Some trivia: the head of the ballet company, played here by Alan Hale, Jr., was played on Broadway by Monty Wooley.

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