Our Dancing Daughters (1928)

86 mins | Drama | October 1928

Director:

Harry Beaumont

Cinematographer:

George Barnes

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

Although the film has no dialogue, as noted in the NYT review, it contains “musical accompaniment, several love songs, stentorian cheering and, at the end, a chorus of shrieks.” Modern sources report that portions of the film were shot in Carmel, CA. According to modern sources, the Art Deco style abundant in the film was inspired by art director Cedric Gibbons’ attendance at the 1925 Exposition des Arts Decoratifs in Paris. A novelization of the film, written by Winifred Van Duzer, was published in 1928. The story by screenwriter and former stage actress Josephine Lovett previously had been published in Hearst newspapers as a serial, according to modern sources.
       Modern sources add Alona Marlowe, Eddie Quillan, Bert Moorhouse, Lydia Knott, Robert Livingston, Geraldine Dvorak, Fred MacKaye, and Gordon Westcott to the cast. According to the Var review, the film was censored and edited for its opening in Philadelphia. The sequences that were cut included a scene in which Joan Crawford as “Diana Medford” slips off her skirt and dances in her "step-ins," and a “heavy love scene along the shore line.”
       Our Dancing Daughters was the first of three M-G-M films released between 1928 and 1930 that starred Crawford, included many of the same cast members and depicted similarly themed stories about three young women. The other two films were the 1929 picture, Our Modern Maidens , and the 1930 film, Our Blushing Brides (see entries above and below). Although Crawford had been making feature films since 1925, Our Dancing Daughters is considered by film historians to be the movie in ... More Less

Although the film has no dialogue, as noted in the NYT review, it contains “musical accompaniment, several love songs, stentorian cheering and, at the end, a chorus of shrieks.” Modern sources report that portions of the film were shot in Carmel, CA. According to modern sources, the Art Deco style abundant in the film was inspired by art director Cedric Gibbons’ attendance at the 1925 Exposition des Arts Decoratifs in Paris. A novelization of the film, written by Winifred Van Duzer, was published in 1928. The story by screenwriter and former stage actress Josephine Lovett previously had been published in Hearst newspapers as a serial, according to modern sources.
       Modern sources add Alona Marlowe, Eddie Quillan, Bert Moorhouse, Lydia Knott, Robert Livingston, Geraldine Dvorak, Fred MacKaye, and Gordon Westcott to the cast. According to the Var review, the film was censored and edited for its opening in Philadelphia. The sequences that were cut included a scene in which Joan Crawford as “Diana Medford” slips off her skirt and dances in her "step-ins," and a “heavy love scene along the shore line.”
       Our Dancing Daughters was the first of three M-G-M films released between 1928 and 1930 that starred Crawford, included many of the same cast members and depicted similarly themed stories about three young women. The other two films were the 1929 picture, Our Modern Maidens , and the 1930 film, Our Blushing Brides (see entries above and below). Although Crawford had been making feature films since 1925, Our Dancing Daughters is considered by film historians to be the movie in which her screen persona as a vivacious but principled romantic lead was refined. Some film scholars also have pointed to Our Dancing Daughters as the best film depiction of the era of the flapper. Although the Academy Awards ceremony, which was in its second year in 1929, did not have official nominations, according to AMPAS historical records, George Barnes and Josephine Lovett, who served as photographer and screenwriter, respectively, were considered for Academy Awards by many of the judges. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Exhibitors Herald World and Moving Picture World
22 Sep 1928
p. 50.
Film Daily
14 Oct 1928
p. 4.
New York Times
8 Oct 1928
p. 14.
Photoplay
1 Aug 1928
p. 56.
The Film Spectator
9 Jun 1928
p. 19.
The Film Spectator
23 Jun 1928
pp. 9-10.
Variety
10 Oct 1928
p. 22.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Cosmopolitan Production
A Milestone Film release
Cosmopolitan Productions
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
WRITERS
Story and scen
Titles
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Settings
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
Ward
SOURCES
SONGS
"I Loved You Then As I Love You Now," words and music by Ballard MacDonald, William Axt and David Mendoza
"Broken Hearted," composer undetermined.
DETAILS
Release Date:
October 1928
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 7 October 1928
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distributing Corp.
Copyright Date:
1 September 1928
Copyright Number:
LP25605
Physical Properties:
Silent
Sd eff and mus score by Movietone
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
86
Length(in feet):
7,652
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

Diana Medford is a vivacious young socialite, whose basic integrity is hidden by a reputation for dancing, parties and popularity with men. Her more reserved friend, Beatrice, carries the guilt of a past indiscretion that makes her feel unworthy of her boyfriend Norman’s proposal of marriage. Another friend is Ann, who is dating Bea’s brother Freddie, even though her mother continually pressures her to find a wealthier man to marry. Groomed by her mercenary mother, Ann tries to mask her calculating character with a false veneer of innocence and purity. During a private party at a yacht club, as the carefree Diana dances for her friends, her uninhibited performance piques the interest of Ben Blaine, who observes her from an adjoining dining room. Later, one of Diana’s admirers recognizes Ben, who is a former college quarterback, and, inviting him into the party, introduces him to Diana. Ben and Diana are instantly attracted to each other, although Ann, upon hearing that Ben is the son of a millionaire, tries to lure him away. Early in the morning, when Diana returns home, she describes Ben as “divine” to her mother and says he is different—more serious—than her other admirers. Meanwhile, Ann’s mother looks up Ben in Bradstreets and orders Ann to pursue him. The following weekend, when the group has an outing in a park, Diana manages to get Ben alone and they ride horses to a secluded beach. Although strongly attracted to Diana, Ben has misgivings about her because of her reputation for wildness. They kiss passionately, but Diana breaks it off before the lovemaking gets out ... +


Diana Medford is a vivacious young socialite, whose basic integrity is hidden by a reputation for dancing, parties and popularity with men. Her more reserved friend, Beatrice, carries the guilt of a past indiscretion that makes her feel unworthy of her boyfriend Norman’s proposal of marriage. Another friend is Ann, who is dating Bea’s brother Freddie, even though her mother continually pressures her to find a wealthier man to marry. Groomed by her mercenary mother, Ann tries to mask her calculating character with a false veneer of innocence and purity. During a private party at a yacht club, as the carefree Diana dances for her friends, her uninhibited performance piques the interest of Ben Blaine, who observes her from an adjoining dining room. Later, one of Diana’s admirers recognizes Ben, who is a former college quarterback, and, inviting him into the party, introduces him to Diana. Ben and Diana are instantly attracted to each other, although Ann, upon hearing that Ben is the son of a millionaire, tries to lure him away. Early in the morning, when Diana returns home, she describes Ben as “divine” to her mother and says he is different—more serious—than her other admirers. Meanwhile, Ann’s mother looks up Ben in Bradstreets and orders Ann to pursue him. The following weekend, when the group has an outing in a park, Diana manages to get Ben alone and they ride horses to a secluded beach. Although strongly attracted to Diana, Ben has misgivings about her because of her reputation for wildness. They kiss passionately, but Diana breaks it off before the lovemaking gets out of control. Later, as Diana and Bea dress for a party, Diana tells her that she loves Ben and confides that she expects him to propose to her. That evening, Ann pretends to have a headache, then manipulates Ben into taking her to the same beach. There, she tells Ben that she dreams of a husband and children and subtly disparages Diana’s “modern” behavior. When Ben and Ann join the others later, Ann’s mother asks publicly if they have an “announcement” to make, which prompts Ben, misled by Ann’s pretenses of hominess and Diana’s carefree reputation, to allow himself to be swept away into an engagement. Later that night Ann comes to Bea and Diana’s room to brag. When Ben and Ann marry, the heartbroken, bewildered Diana asks her parents why men prefer a deceitful woman to one who is honest, and bitterly concludes that men want flattery, trickery and lies. Although Ann’s letters to Diana describe a romantic honeymoon, her notes to Freddie express boredom. When the newlyweds return, Ann, secretly disdainful of Ben, continues her involvement with Freddie, all the while spending Ben's money on jewels and clothes. Meanwhile, Norman convinces Bea that he loves her, despite her past, and they marry. Later, however, his suppressed doubts begin to surface and he admits that he wishes that she were “only his.” Presuming Bea’s former lover is one of the men in their group, Norman increasingly isolates her from their activities, and the lonely Bea begs Diana to visit. While Diana is visiting, several of their male friends drop by, despite Bea’s attempt to dissuade them, and when Norman finds them there, he becomes resentful and suspicious. Unable to forget Ben, Diana decides to spend a year abroad. On the night of a bon voyage party Bea is giving for Diana, Ben, who has no plans to attend, discovers Ann’s infidelity and deception. Confronted, Ann throws a tantrum and goes out with Freddie, with whom she gets drunk. Alone, Ben decides to go to the party, but after greeting Diana, he is unable to enjoy himself and eventually wanders up the stairs to a quiet lounge. There he unexpectedly finds Diana, who has also sought solitude, and admits to her that he made a mistake. Meanwhile, against Freddie’s wishes, Ann insists on attending the party with him and finds Ben and Diana together. She tries to involve them in a scandal by publicly accusing them of infidelity, but when Diana retains her dignity and stands up to Ann, the crowd loses interest. Later, outside, as Diana waits for her car, she and Ben acknowledge that they love each other, even though they can never be together. As the last party goers leave, Norman looks for Bea and finds her upstairs with the drunken Ann, who plans revenge on Ben and Diana. Bea asks Norman’s help in getting Ann home, but Ann stubbornly stops at the top of the staircase to taunt the cleaning women on the floor below. As she rants that, instead of cleaning floors, they should have their pretty daughters marry rich men, she slips and stumbles down the stairs to her death. Two years later, as reported by the society columns, Diana returns home, where Ben is waiting for her. +

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.