1028 Dance, Girl, Dance

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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mfunk9786
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1028 Dance, Girl, Dance

#1 Post by mfunk9786 » Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:22 pm

Dance, Girl, Dance

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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.

SPECIAL 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

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swo17
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Re: 1028 Dance, Girl, Dance

#2 Post by swo17 » Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:23 pm

So that's why it was never presented in full on any of those Women Filmmaker compilations!

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domino harvey
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Re: 1028 Dance, Girl, Dance

#3 Post by domino harvey » Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:24 pm

In retrospect, this should have been an obvious acquisition to all of us, but I don’t recall anyone ever guessing it!

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senseabove
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Re: 1028 Dance, Girl, Dance

#4 Post by senseabove » Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:35 pm

That restoration clip is stunning...

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movielocke
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Re: 1028 Dance, Girl, Dance

#5 Post by movielocke » Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:32 pm

I watched this last year on the channel and thought at the time it’d make a good mainline release, but never occurred to me to actually guess it :-p

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The Elegant Dandy Fop
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Re: 1028 Dance, Girl, Dance

#6 Post by The Elegant Dandy Fop » Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:00 pm

I've seen a good dozen Arzners, including a bunch of rare ones on archival prints, and thought most were okay to mediocre (an exception being Working Girl, which is excellent). This is one of the few I haven't seen. How does it compare to her other films? I found her films to often be uncharacteristic especially when compared to Paramount contemporaries like Ernst Lubtisch or Leo McCarey.

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senseabove
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Re: 1028 Dance, Girl, Dance

#7 Post by senseabove » Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:28 pm

I've only seen Christopher Strong (which was enjoyably fine), Merrily We Go to Hell (which I love), and this, and I'd put it a little below Merrily, on the "like and admire" tier. I know I wrote up more thoughts on it for the 40s thread, but they appear to have been lost in drafts... But honestly it's worth watching just to see Lucille Ball trying her hand-and-other-parts at being a West/Dietrich-style sex bomb (and kinda succeeding...).

I look forward to picking it up if only so I can make an at-home double bill with Stage Door.

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britcom68
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Re: 1028 Dance, Girl, Dance

#8 Post by britcom68 » Sat Feb 15, 2020 6:31 am

Of Azner's other films, I too have only seen Merrily. I thought Dance was a strong film in places, most importantly in that of a woman showing a woman's dedication to her art, but I did have issues with O'Hare's character who comes off as a staid prude for too long in this film. What I found great was that under Azner's direction, I felt Ball was the one giving a down-to-earth believable performance, compared to Ball's TV show only a decade later where she had multiple episodes dressing up as a gold-digger and consistently went for over the top. I have never heard anyone else make this comparison, but Ball's portrayal in this film, for me, feels like a forerunner of Jamie Lee Curtis in Trading Places. It will be great to listen to the new commentary to see what changes this film had from to the Breen-Hayes office.

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HinkyDinkyTruesmith
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Re: 1028 Dance, Girl, Dance

#9 Post by HinkyDinkyTruesmith » Sat Feb 15, 2020 12:59 pm

I've seen this, The Bride Wore Red, Christoper Strong, Merrily We Go to Hell, and Craig's Wife. I think Bride Wore Red is her best film, and while I don't think this is as perfect (there's some clunky plot transitions), there's a lot of great stuff here. Definitely amongst her best, and at least worth checking out if you still didn't like her other work.

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GaryC
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Re: 1028 Dance, Girl, Dance

#10 Post by GaryC » Sat Feb 15, 2020 4:16 pm

Just to nitpick Criterion's blurb in the original post,Dorothy Arzner was the only woman to solo-direct films for Hollywood studios in the 1930s to early 1940s but not "the sole woman to work as director" for the studios in that time. Wanda Tuchock, primarily a screenwriter, co-directed Finishing School (1934) for RKO. Jane Loring, primarily an editor, is credited as "associate director" on The Age of Innocence (1934) and Break of Hearts (1935), both also at RKO, though I'm not sure what that meant in her case.

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Lowry_Sam
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Re: 1028 Dance, Girl, Dance

#11 Post by Lowry_Sam » Sat Feb 15, 2020 5:29 pm

I enjoyed this one & Merrily We Go To Hell most of the Arzner films that were on the channel & also thought they would be a nice additions (I was actually expecting a box set for this & the precode Stanwyck) & underated (by their IMDB ratings). I seem to recall a doc on Arzner that was informative & would expect to be included here as this is her first entry into the collection. was that the B. Ruby Rich intro or is this something new?

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dwk
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Re: 1028 Dance, Girl, Dance

#12 Post by dwk » Wed Mar 25, 2020 6:12 pm

Looks like "New selected-scene commentary featuring film historian Cari Beauchamp" has been dropped and this now has a "New interview with filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola."

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