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A Few Words About A few words about…™ Dance, Girl, Dance – in Blu-ray (1 Viewer)

Robert Harris

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The name Dorothy Arzner may not be at the fore of many younger cinephile's minds, but it should be.

A career going back to the silent era, as an editor on Too Much Johnson (1919). The film was re-made in 1938 any another filmmaker. The first woman director in the DGA, and then there's that minor point of making one's way in a man's world.

She was the first woman to direct a sound production, and created the concept of the boom microphone.

She made that way from editor, to writer, and finally to director in 1927 on Fashions for Women. Along the way she worked on Old Ironsides (available on Blu-ray from Kino), The Covered Wagon (ditto) and The Red Kimoma.

In all, between 1927 and 1943, she directed over fifteen features, including Christopher Strong with Katharine Hepburn.

Dance, Girl, Dance (1940) is an RKO production with an interesting talent pool, both behind and in front of the camera.

Produced by Erich Pommer, whose career goes back to 1907 in Berlin. He was producer on a few German productions that may be of interest, inclusive of Destiny (1921), Dr. Mabuse (1922), The Last Laugh (1924), The Nibelungen (1924), The Pleasure Garden (1925), in which he gave a young British director a shot at the big time, Variety, Faust, Metropolis, Spies, and The Blue Angel.

In the late '30s, he formed an entity with Charles Laughton, Mayflower Pictures, where he once again gave that British director another shot - he shortly thereafter made it to Hollywood, and did an interesting film in 1940.

The connections here are of interest, as one of the Mayflower productions, Jamaica Inn (available from Cohen) starred Mr. Laughton, and a young red-headed actress from Ireland. She also made it across the Atlantic, and moved into RKO along with Mr. Pommer, where she appeared in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) and A Bill of Divorcement (1940), before making her third film in The Colonies - Dance, Girl, Dance, in 1940.

Did I mention that the cinematographer on the film was Russell Metty (Spartacus, Touch of Evil), and the editor was Robert Wise?

Starring alongside that Irish red-head, who was 19 at the time, was a another actress, best known for her later work in television, who was ten years older, and had spent her first five or six years in the trenches at Goldwyn, as a Goldwyn Girl, mostly in uncredited roles. Here she shines as the wonderful Bubbles.

What makes Dance, Girl, Dance all the more interesting is viewing the 80 year-old production, knowing that the director was a woman.

But no one cares about all that.

What does it look like?

Generally, Terrific! With an audio track to match. Mostly derived from the original negative, with occasional dupes, and some material from a fine grain, it's a treasure that for many will be a new experience.

Beautifully resolved, great gray scale and shadow detail, and perfect grain. It's gorgeous Blu-ray from Criterion, courtesy of their deal with Warner Bros.


Image – 4.75

Audio – 4.75

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from DVD - Essential!

Highly Recommended

RAH
 

Robin9

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Thank you for the review. I've always enjoyed this film and, being a fan of Maureen O'Hara, I've long wanted a really good presentation of Dance, Girl, Dance in my collection.
 

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