Dance, Girl, Dance (1940)

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Dance Girl Dance (Poster)

Dorothy Arzner’s masterpiece is a hard-hitting, Code-stretching backstage musical featuring a budding ballerina (Maureen O’Hara) who goes to work in a burlesque show alongside a brassy stripper played by Lucille Ball (in a film-stealing performance).

This is a feminist cult classic not only because of Arzner’s incisive direction but also for the famous, male-gaze defying scene where O’Hara speaks back to an all-male audience.

The film features supple, gritty camerawork by Russell Metty and a support cast including Louis Hayward, Ralph Bellamy, and the indomitable Maria Ouspenskaya.

35mm print courtesy of The British Film Institute Archive.