3 Stars

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Dorothy Arzner, the sole woman to work as a director in the Hollywood studio system of the 1930s and early ’40s, brings a subversive feminist sensibility to this juicily entertaining backstage melodrama. A behind-the-footlights look at friendship, jealousy, and ambition in the ruthless world of show business, Dance, Girl, Dance follows the intertwining fates of two chorus girls: a starry-eyed dancer (Maureen O’Hara) who dreams of making it as a ballerina and the brassy gold digger (a scene-stealing Lucille Ball) who becomes her rival both on the stage and in love. The rare Hollywood film of the era to deal seriously with issues of female artistic struggle and self-actualization, Arzner’s film is a rich, fascinating statement from an auteur decades ahead of her time.

FILM INFO

  • Dorothy Arzner
  • United States
  • 1940
  • 90 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.37:1
  • English
  • Spine #1028SPECIAL FEATURES
    • New, restored 4K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
    • New introduction by critic B. Ruby Rich
    • New selected-scene commentary featuring film historian Cari Beauchamp
    • PLUS: An essay by critic Sheila O’Malley

    New cover by Jody Hewgill

    May 20, 2020

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Ronald Epstein

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Ronald Epstein

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Garysb

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I am a bit surprised that an RKO B movie with Lucille Ball as "Bubbles", a "dancer/stripper", will be getting a Criterion restored in 4K release. Trivia- Desi Arnaz first saw Lucille Ball while she was making this movie. She was in makeup to look beat up after a fight scene . He didn't know how she was cast to play the ingénue in the film he was there to make "Too Many Girls" which is where they actual meet.

If I could choose a RKO Lucille Ball film for the Criterion collection it would be "Five Came Back"
 
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Robert Crawford

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Hell, I never even heard of this movie so it has me intrigued with buying this Criterion release.
 

Robert Crawford

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You've got to brush up on women directors, Robert.:)
There's a lot of things I need to brush up on, but there is only 24 hours in each day.:D
 
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Marc Hampton

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A most intriguing choice. Not even in the top 25 RKO titles I would have predicted from Criterion. I’ve seen it a few times over the years and can barely remember anything but Lucille Ball’s performance and some lively backstage atmosphere.

I’m inspired to take another look and find out why this film caught their attention.
 
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Garysb

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Here is a clip from the movie with Lucille Ball. No spoilers.

 

Robin9

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Well, I'm surprised but pleased. I like this film and I love that moment when Maureen O'Hara gives the audience a piece of her mind. Yeah, I'm looking forward to this.
 

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roxy1927

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Another groaner of a cover. Who's the woman next to Ball?
 

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Not a criticism, but an observation. Is it just me, or is Criterion of late really pulling back on their extra features on deep catalog titles? Dance, Girl Dance, and Leave Her To Heaven are about as bare bones in the way of extras as Criterion can get. And some of their other vintage catalog is borrowing heavily on extras already released on other editions, while adding barely a commentary track, or maybe a brief 'retrospective' by one of their 'in house' critic favs? I long of the days when Criterion jam-packed its discs with goodies, sometimes, even utilizing a second disc, just for bonus content. I don't know, this just seems threadbare at best. And with Warner likely doing the remastering in 4K, I just hoped Criterion would spend a little more on such an important title. Just thoughts.
 

TravisR

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Not a criticism, but an observation. Is it just me, or is Criterion of late really pulling back on their extra features on deep catalog titles? Dance, Girl Dance, and Leave Her To Heaven are about as bare bones in the way of extras as Criterion can get. And some of their other vintage catalog is borrowing heavily on extras already released on other editions, while adding barely a commentary track, or maybe a brief 'retrospective' by one of their 'in house' critic favs? I long of the days when Criterion jam-packed its discs with goodies, sometimes, even utilizing a second disc, just for bonus content. I don't know, this just seems threadbare at best. And with Warner likely doing the remastering in 4K, I just hoped Criterion would spend a little more on such an important title. Just thoughts.
Catalog titles (especially relatively obscure ones) haven't sold in numbers that make it worth it for Criterion to make new extras for years now. I'll take less extras if it means that Criterion still releases 4 or 5 titles a month.
 

Derrick King

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Catalog titles (especially relatively obscure ones) haven't sold in numbers that make it worth it for Criterion to make new extras for years now. I'll take less extras if it means that Criterion still releases 4 or 5 titles a month.
This, but they always had releases that were fairly light on extras. If one looks at the titles in the coming soon section, most appear to be pretty stacked. So I think the real difference is that 8 or 9 years ago this or Leave Her to Heaven would have been $29.99 titles.
 
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Trancas

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Another groaner of a cover. Who's the woman next to Ball?
Hmmmm.......that cover image......this is the best that could be done with 2 beautiful faces?

Ball, Lucille_Criterion.jpg
 
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