Dance, Girl, Dance (1940)
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.