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Dancing Lady
theatrical poster
Directed byRobert Z. Leonard
Written byAllen Rivkin
P.J. Wolfson
Robert Benchley
Zelda Sears
Based onDancing Lady
1932 novel
by James Warner Bellah
Produced byJohn W. Considine Jr.
StarringJoan Crawford
Clark Gable
CinematographyOliver T. Marsh
Edited byMargaret Booth
Music byLouis Silvers
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • November 24, 1933 (1933-11-24)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2.4 million[1]

Dancing Lady is a 1933 American pre-Code musical film starring Joan Crawford and Clark Gable, and featuring Franchot Tone, Fred Astaire, Robert Benchley, and Ted Healy and His Stooges (Curly, Moe and Larry, who later became The Three Stooges). The picture was directed by Robert Z. Leonard, produced by John W. Considine Jr., and was based on the novel of the same name by James Warner Bellah, published the previous year. The movie had a hit song in "Everything I Have Is Yours" by Burton Lane and Harold Adamson.

The film features the screen debut of dancer Fred Astaire, who appears as himself, as well as the first credited film appearance of Nelson Eddy, and an early feature film appearance of the Three StoogesMoe Howard, Curly Howard, and Larry Fine – in support of the leader of their act at the time, Ted Healy, whose role in the film is considerably larger than theirs. The Algonquin Round Table humorist Robert Benchley plays a supporting role.

In the original film, Larry Fine completes a jigsaw puzzle only to discover to his disgust that it's a picture of Adolf Hitler. This was ordered removed by the Production Code censors before the film was released to theaters, because they claimed it was an insult to a foreign head of state. The scene was restored to the TV release but not to the video release.

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Franchot Tone and Joan Crawford in Dancing Lady

Janie Barlow, a young dancer initially relegated to performing striptease in a burlesque show, encounters a significant turn of events when she is arrested for indecent exposure. However, her predicament takes a fortuitous turn as she is bailed out by Tod Newton, a wealthy socialite who was captivated by her while attending the theater with his elite circle.

Motivated by his attraction to Janie, Tod intervenes in her career aspirations, leveraging his financial influence to secure her a role in a Broadway musical under the direction of Patch Gallagher. Initially hesitant due to artistic considerations, Patch ultimately relents upon witnessing Janie's exceptional dancing abilities.

As Janie's talent propels her from a chorus role to a leading part, replacing Vivian Warner, Tod's romantic ambitions become conflicted. Fearing the loss of Janie's affection should she achieve stardom, Tod orchestrates the closure of the show, leaving Janie unemployed. However, upon discovering Tod's manipulative actions, Janie severs ties with him and aligns herself with Patch, her newfound romantic interest and benefactor.

Together with Patch's financial support and Janie's talent, they resurrect the show, which garners immense success. This narrative of perseverance, betrayal, and ultimate triumph underscores the transformative journey of Janie from an aspiring dancer to a celebrated star of the stage.[2]



Dancing Lady was a box office hit upon its release and drew mostly positive reviews from critics. Mordaunt Hall in The New York Times wrote, "It is for the most part quite a lively affair.... The dancing of Fred Astaire and Miss Crawford is most graceful and charming. The photographic effects of their scenes are an impressive achievement....Miss Crawford takes her role with no little seriousness."[3]

Box office
According to MGM records the film earned $1,490,000 in the US and Canada and $916,000 elsewhere, resulting in a profit of $744,000.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles, California: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. ^ Green, Stanley (1999) Hollywood Musicals Year by Year (2nd ed.), pub. Hal Leonard Corporation ISBN 0-634-00765-3 page 26
  3. ^ Hall, Mordaunt. "Joan Crawford, Clark Gable and Franchot Tone in the Capitol's New Pictorial Offering" The New York Times (December 1, 1933)

External links

This page was last edited on 27 March 2024, at 02:12
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