Little Known Movies: Dance, Girl, Dance 1940 |A True Feminist Movie|

10:18 AM

Hola readers!

Hola readers!

I read Maureen O'hara's book and found that Dance, Girl, Dance was (apparently) a big feminist movie in the 1940s. Having scant knowledge of a feminist in that time (and being a fan of black and white movies made in the 1940s), I decided to take try my hand at watching a movie by the first woman director in Hollywood. 

Judy  (Maureen O'hara) has one dream: To do what she loves and become a professional ballet dancer. However, her only means to support herself is dancing in a troupe at clubs, where smarts is what keeps you alive. With barely any money to keep off the streets, fellow dancer Bubbles (Lucille Ball) offers Judy to be the opening act of her strip tease (a kind of 'tame' entertainment to mock before the 'real fun'). 
Mortified, Judy feels she has no other choice but to accept, even though doing so humiliates her as she's mocked on stage for her 'polite dancing.'
But then, when a married play boy comes knocking offering her riches and a life out, what will she choose - morals or love? 

I'll admit, this is probably the most risky movie I've ever reviewed on her - much less watched! Some of you are probably wondering why I chose such a movie to watch on a Friday night. But first off, this movie was made in the late 30s and screened in 1940s. If it had been made in today's time where a strip tease would probably mean nudity and a playboy some unsavoring scenes, I would have had to pass it off. However, this movie is old and the dancing by Bubble's, while grant it, at times a bit suggestive, nothing even near to what you'd see in an NFL commercial. I don't think film could go above a PG rating. 
So in saying that, I watched (and hoped) to see something inspiring about a girl standing up for what is right. 
Dance, Girl, Dance was directed by the first woman director in Hollywood and this film was highly acclaimed by the feminist movement at that time. The story centers around the clubs of the 1930s and 40s, and women living by their wits - giving us an inside look at their lives and the fact that they're normal girls, with hopes and dreams too. It's a story about standing up for justice and the choices a young girl has to make when the wrong kind of love comes knocking.
The movie isn't a romance, it isn't a musical, and it's not exactly a comedy (though at times certainly comedic). And the highlights of the film, are decidedly the end. Judy delivers a beautiful speech, shining on the importance and value of marriage (and not choosing divorce), the sadness and disgrace of being seen as only as good as your body, and about speaking truth. 
Both Maureen and Lucille, deliver their parts wonderfully, the tension between them perfect and at times funny. I know that many thing Bubble's stole the show with her wise-cracks, but personally Judy as a sweet, down to earth girl, caught my eye. 

Maybe this is a more risky movie to watch, probably not one every Christian would jump at the chance to see, but the message, subtle as it may be, is one that Hollywood today often forgets. 
The end may be a little fairy tale (perhaps a little too wrapped-up for some), and Judy certainly isn't the fiery, don't-need-a-man girl that are in so many books and movies now. But she's soft-spoken, gentle, kind, with an innocent personality I found endearing. I loved rooting for her to have her dreams come true and seeing the clubs through her eyes - a girl who didn't want to dance to satisfy anyone but herself. 
And personally, I found all these aspects very refreshing from so much junkie movies made now. THIS is a true feminist movie: One that the secular world nowadays should still take note of. 

Rating: The film isn't rated (to my knowledge), but the content couldn't go beyond PG. There's no language or nudity but the subject matter itself would cause for a moment of pause of many.  

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5 of your thoughts

  1. This is actually a very interesting film. I can't really endorse the idea that it's a feminist film in any proper sense of the term(Dorothy Arzner was not so much a feminist as ...uh something else entirely). Still, the scene in which Judy addresses the audience is nicely handled, despite the fact that it's a curiously inappropriate act of moralism. Judy should know all too well where she is and what the audience came to see. She made her choice i.e. She bought HER ticket before they bought their's.

    Was there ever a more beautiful actress than Maureen O'Hara? In her later years she forgot her youth and became very religious, self-righteous and conservative. She forgot the "Chinese Theater incident", the brief marriages and the many scandals that were covered up by a still powerful studio system. You can say she changed and wanted to hide a poor example for young people behind a sanitized biography. I think it might have been better to have told the truth and made her early days into a cautionary tale.

    1. Hmmm that makes a lot of sense - I like what you said about Maureen O'Hara and that makes sense (about her bio). It would have been better if she'd learned from her mistakes and actually made her book something of a lesson to us younger people.
      Enjoyed reading your thoughts on this Ray!

      And yes, what you said about the movie is true too.

      You always make me reconsider what I say, even if I don't always agree, so thank you for that.

  2. This is really interesting. The thing that caught my eye honestly was a feminist movie in the 1940s. Haha. You're so good at reviews!

    1. Haha, I thought the title of the post might catch some eyes. ;) And thank you, darling . Made my day. *Hugs*

  3. This actually sounds like it would be a good watch. Nice review!


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