Dancing Lady (1933)

90 mins | Musical | 24 November 1933

Director:

Robert Z. Leonard

Cinematographer:

Oliver T. Marsh

Editor:

Margaret Booth

Production Designer:

Merrill Pye

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

James Warner Bellah's novel was serialized in the Saturday Evening Post (30 Apr--4 Jun 1932). The DV review lists a preview running time of 100 min. On the main title card, Ted Healy, Moe Howard, Jerry Howard and Larry Fine are billed as "Ted Healy and his Stooges." On the "Supporting Players" card Moe Howard, Jerry Howard and Larry Fine are individually named, however. The film was originally to have starred Robert Montgomery in the part of Tod Newton. According to contemporary news items, when Montgomery became unavailable because he had not yet completed Another Language (see entry), Franchot Tone took over the role. Other actors who were considered or announced for roles in the picture, but who did not appear were Estelle Taylor, Alice Brady and The Boswell Sisters. Frank Morgan was listed in some production articles on the film, however, his role was cut from the released picture. Other actors mentioned in production charts or news items whose appearances in the released film have not been confirmed are T. Roy Barnes, Jay Whidden, Shirley Chambers and Blossom Seeley.
       Soon after the production began in early Jun 1933, Clark Gable became ill. News items in HR and FD variously reported that Gable had a toxic leg condition, was ordered by his doctor to have several weeks of rest due to overwork, and finally was going to be replaced in the picture after undergoing an appendectomy. During Gable's illness, William Gargan was first mentioned as a replacement in the role of Patch Gallagher, then Lee Tracy. Broadway columnist Walter Winchell reportedly ... More Less

James Warner Bellah's novel was serialized in the Saturday Evening Post (30 Apr--4 Jun 1932). The DV review lists a preview running time of 100 min. On the main title card, Ted Healy, Moe Howard, Jerry Howard and Larry Fine are billed as "Ted Healy and his Stooges." On the "Supporting Players" card Moe Howard, Jerry Howard and Larry Fine are individually named, however. The film was originally to have starred Robert Montgomery in the part of Tod Newton. According to contemporary news items, when Montgomery became unavailable because he had not yet completed Another Language (see entry), Franchot Tone took over the role. Other actors who were considered or announced for roles in the picture, but who did not appear were Estelle Taylor, Alice Brady and The Boswell Sisters. Frank Morgan was listed in some production articles on the film, however, his role was cut from the released picture. Other actors mentioned in production charts or news items whose appearances in the released film have not been confirmed are T. Roy Barnes, Jay Whidden, Shirley Chambers and Blossom Seeley.
       Soon after the production began in early Jun 1933, Clark Gable became ill. News items in HR and FD variously reported that Gable had a toxic leg condition, was ordered by his doctor to have several weeks of rest due to overwork, and finally was going to be replaced in the picture after undergoing an appendectomy. During Gable's illness, William Gargan was first mentioned as a replacement in the role of Patch Gallagher, then Lee Tracy. Broadway columnist Walter Winchell reportedly offered M-G-M a $100,000 flat fee if he could play the role. Although on 1 Aug HR announced that Gable was definitely out of the picture, on 8 Aug a news item announced that Gable would definitely be retained in the picture and that M-G-M would hold up production until he was completely recovered. Gable returned to the set on 29 Aug. Some modern sources have indicated M-G-M executives were very annoyed over Gable's lengthy illness during filming because they felt that Gable was not as ill as he claimed. As a punishment, Gable purportedly was loaned to Columbia to film It Happened One Night, the only picture for which he earned an Academy Award. Some biographical sources on Gable have indicated that Gable was loaned to Columbia for refusing to do another "tough guy" role rather than as punishment for delaying completion of Dancing Lady . Reviews singled out the "That's the Rhythm of the Day" number for the excellence of the special effects work done by Slavko Vorkapich. In the number, as cast members of the musical play within the film move across the stage, their costumes, hairstyles and demeanor change from old-fashioned to modern.
       Reviews and news items additionally note the following information: this was Jean Howard's first film; the song "Everything I Have Is Yours," which became one of the most popular songs of the year, was a "big hit" in the East even before the film was completed; and writer humorist Robert Benchley returned to his position as the drama critic for The New Yorker after completing his role in the picture. This was Benchley's first feature for M-G-M. He made several features for the studio during the 1930s and 1940s and also wrote and starred in a number of humourous short films. Dancing Lady marked the motion picture debut of Broadway star Fred Astaire. It was also his last M-G-M film until The Broadway Melody of 1940 (see above). According to contemporary news items, as well as memos and letters written by David O. Selznick that have been reproduced in a modern source, Selznick had convinced RKO, his former studio, to sign Astaire to a contract, but that studio was uncertain how best to feature the dancer. Selznick moved to M-G-M in early 1933 to take over many of production chief Irving Thalberg's duties while Thalberg was recuperating from a serious heart attack. When Dancing Lady was being cast, it was Selznick who decided to borrow Astaire from RKO for the picture. Selznick memos, as well as biographical sources on Crawford note that this became one of the most popular pictures of her career and revived her waning popularity with audiences after the box office failures of Rain and Today We Live (see entries). Several modern sources have additionally called the picture "the yardstick" against which all other Crawford pictures were measured by M-G-M. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
9 Nov 33
p. 3.
Film Daily
6 Jun 33
p. 6.
Film Daily
10 Jun 33
p. 17.
Film Daily
19 Jun 33
p. 4.
Film Daily
14 Jul 33
p. 33.
Film Daily
2 Aug 33
p. 6.
Film Daily
2 Dec 33
p. 3.
HF
24 Jun 33
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jun 33
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Jun 33
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jun 33
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jun 33
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jun 33
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jun 33
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jun 33
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jul 33
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jul 33
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jul 33
p. 58.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jul 33
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Aug 33
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Aug 33
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Aug 33
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Aug 33
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Aug 33
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Sep 33
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Sep 33
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Oct 33
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Nov 33
p. 3.
International Photographer
1 Aug 33
p. 39.
Motion Picture Daily
11 Nov 33
p. 14.
Motion Picture Herald
5 Aug 33
p. 36.
Motion Picture Herald
25 Nov 33
p. 36.
New York Times
1 Dec 33
p. 23.
Variety
5 Dec 33
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Mus ensembles dir
Mus ensembles dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Asst cam op
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Int dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Orch conducted by
SOUND
Rec dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
DANCE
Dance instructor
PRODUCTION MISC
Chief elec
Still photog
STAND INS
Singing voice double for Joan Crawford in "That's
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Dancing Lady by James Warner Bellah (New York, 1932).
SONGS
"Let's Go Bavarian," "Heigh Ho!" and "Everything I Have Is Yours," music by Burton Lane, lyrics by Harold Adamson
"That's the Rhythm of the Day," music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart
"My Dancing Lady," music by Jimmy McHugh, lyrics by Dorothy Fields.
DETAILS
Release Date:
24 November 1933
Production Date:
late June--early October 1933
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Copyright Date:
27 November 1933
Copyright Number:
LP4402
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
90
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

Millionaire Tod Newton takes his friends on a slumming trip to a burlesque show and finds himself attracted to Janie Barlow, one of the strippers. When the place is raided, Tod bails the broke Janie out, but she accepts the money only as a loan. That same night, Tod also send her fifty dollars to buy herself a dress "without a zipper." She decides to move uptown and try out for a new show directed by Patch Gallagher, but when she can't get past the doorman, and even following Patch everywhere won't help, Tod again comes to her rescue by secretly arranging to back the show on condition that Patch hire Janie for the chorus. Patch doesn't want anything to do with a rich man's girl friend, but when he sees how well Janie dances, he places her in the front row. Soon Tod proposes and Janie accepts, but only if the show fails. Meanwhile, Patch has realized that neither his show nor his star, Vivian Warner, is right, so he gives Janie the lead of the new version. Although Patch and Janie are attracted to each other, Janie decides to go away with Tod when he secretly withdraws his backing and rehearsals stop. While they are away, Patch uses his own money for the show. When Janie returns and discovers Tod's deception, she begs Patch to take her back. On opening night, Janie is a big hit in her numbers with Fred Astaire and Nelson Eddy, and Tod realizes that Broadway, not Park Avenue should be Janie's address. Patch and Janie also realize that they are more than star and ... +


Millionaire Tod Newton takes his friends on a slumming trip to a burlesque show and finds himself attracted to Janie Barlow, one of the strippers. When the place is raided, Tod bails the broke Janie out, but she accepts the money only as a loan. That same night, Tod also send her fifty dollars to buy herself a dress "without a zipper." She decides to move uptown and try out for a new show directed by Patch Gallagher, but when she can't get past the doorman, and even following Patch everywhere won't help, Tod again comes to her rescue by secretly arranging to back the show on condition that Patch hire Janie for the chorus. Patch doesn't want anything to do with a rich man's girl friend, but when he sees how well Janie dances, he places her in the front row. Soon Tod proposes and Janie accepts, but only if the show fails. Meanwhile, Patch has realized that neither his show nor his star, Vivian Warner, is right, so he gives Janie the lead of the new version. Although Patch and Janie are attracted to each other, Janie decides to go away with Tod when he secretly withdraws his backing and rehearsals stop. While they are away, Patch uses his own money for the show. When Janie returns and discovers Tod's deception, she begs Patch to take her back. On opening night, Janie is a big hit in her numbers with Fred Astaire and Nelson Eddy, and Tod realizes that Broadway, not Park Avenue should be Janie's address. Patch and Janie also realize that they are more than star and director. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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