Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Dance, Fools, Dance (1931)
Bonnie Jordan (Crawford) and her brother Rodney (William Bakewell) are the offspring of a fabulously wealthy industrialist. They have been indulged for the whole of their young lives, lives that have been a constant search for pleasure, revolving around yachts, parties and bootleg liquor. Then comes the Wall Street Crash. It’s such a shock that their father promptly drops dead of a heart attack. His fortune had been completely wiped out and Bonnie and Rodney are now penniless.
He soon finds out that he will be required to do rather more than this, and that working for a gangster can be rather unpleasant. Especially when he finds himself in the middle of a major gangland killing.
She gets a job as a dancer at one of Luva’s night-clubs and soon catches the eye of the mobster. The facts she uncovers will come as a devastating blow to her.
Clark Gable was still playing stereotyped gangster roles at this stage of his career but his star quality is already evident. The supporting players are generally solid. There are a few definite pre-code moments, such as Bonnie suggesting to her boyfriend a kind of trial marriage.
Dance, Fools, Dance is very much a melodrama but it has some very dark moments and on the whole it’s a fairly effective gangster flick with the addition of Crawford’s feisty girl reporter making it part of the newspaper movie genre as well.
This is one of the best of Crawford’s early movies. It’s been issued in the Warner Archive DVD-R series, and it’s a pretty good print. Definitely worth a purchase.