I don’t know what it was, but I had an overwhelming sense of deja vu watching Dance, Girl, Dance; I don’t know if the plot is one I’ve seen before, perhaps in a Busby Berkeley musical or some other sort, or the presence of Lucille Ball as a rival dancer, which seemed oddly familiar. Perhaps I’d tried to watch this one before, and never got into it enough to finish it; whatever the reason, I couldn’t help but feel I’d seen a film just like this. Regardless, if I have seen parts of it before or not, I’m not sure why I would particularly remember this one; I don’t know if I’d be mean enough to call it forgettable, but I don’t really see what’s so extraordinary about it compared to most of the other flicks of the time.
Maureen O’Hara and Lucille Ball star as a couple of would-be dancing stars in the same troupe; both like sisters to one another, yet still competitive for that breakout role they know will come. Well, come it does, and Ball’s character Bubbles lands it with her provocative and enticing nature, contrary to O’Hara’s pure and innocent dancing style. From there, we follow them both, as they go from venue to venue, and career to career, especially O’Hara, who ends up as the “stooge” dancer to Ball’s headlining act. They even fight for the affection of the same man, here played by Louis Hayward, who is well represented as a love interest for O’Hara, even if the wannabe triangle with Ball doesn’t work as well as the film wants it to. Ball was really the scene-stealer here, though O’Hara and Heywood play their parts well enough; there was just more material, and crowd pleasing material at that, that Ball was given. Other than that, though, there really isn’t a whole lot to say about this one; competently done, and a good solid product, but nothing too “oh my gosh” surprising and impressive.
A Question of Silence would’ve done well to watch this film, about how to be pro-women without being insufferably feminist about it. This is a good, strong piece, even though everything about it just shouts “common denominator”. Fun fact: the editor of this one was Robert Wise, whom you might recognize as the future director of West Side Story and The Sound of Music, both films he would win Best Director Oscars for; he would go on after this one to edit Citizen Kane, making his pedigree that much more impressive. While I wouldn’t say not to watch this one, neither will I say that you should run out and rent it either. It’s middle-of-the-pack, which is just fine (considering it could be worse), but not up to my standards of list films, unfortunately.
Arbitrary Rating: 7/10