Lyrics by Lorenz
Music by Richard Rodgers
Produced by David O. Selznick for
Directed by Robert Z. Leonard
Starring: Joan Crawford, Clark Gable,
introducing Fred Astaire
Screenplay by Allen Rivkin, Zelda Sears and P. J. Wolfson, from James
W. Bellah's novel.
Janie (Joan Crawford) is a hoofer with a heart of gold who prefers dancing
to romancing. She tells Tod, her playboy admirer (Franchot Tone), that she
will marry him only if she fails on stage. Her show is promptly cancelled,
its backer bribed by the playboy. Of course, Patch, the hard-boiled dance
director (Clark Gable), puts up his own dough to save the show. In trying
to make a lady out of Janie, Tod tells her "Don't say 'them things'" and
"Don't buy shoes with ribbons on them." Janie opts for ribbons and Patch
at the fade out.
The theme that Nelson had somehow sold out and prostituted his art was beginning.
A review in the Philadelphia Inquirer noted: "Nelson Eddy, Philadelphia
baritone, who made good in opera and concert, and turned a willing ear to
Hollywood's siren song, is to be seen and heard in one musical number as
a typical revue singer."
Glossy backstage romance is best remembered for Astaire's film debut
(he plays himself), dancing opposite a less-than-inspired Crawford. Show-biz
story, three-cornered romance are strictly standard, but cast and MGM
gloss add points. Funniest moments belong to the Three Stooges. Look fast
for a young Eve Arden.
Leonard Maltin Review: 2.5 stars out of 4
Speaking of teams, Dancing Lady was the fourth of seven films costarring
Clark Gable and Joan Crawford. Gable was not yet a super-star. That would
come with his next film when he was lent to Columbia for It Happened One
Night. Here he still takes second billing (as he would continue to do)
to MGM stalwart Crawford. After her early silent flapper image, Crawford
had gone dramatic; Dancing Lady represented a change of pace for her.
MGM was still trying to do backstage musicals, hoping to capture some
of the glory (and box office receipts) from Warner Bros. Both Nelson and
Fred Astaire (in his film debut) have musical numbers, but are more or