Joan Crawford’s Winter Garden chorine days stand her in good stead in Dancing Lady, to demonstrate her versatility as a song-and-dance artist. A formula backstage plot [from a novel by James Warner Bellah] misses nothing, not even the Cinderella rise to stage prominence, the Park Avenue playboy (Franchot Tone) who casually mentions running his yacht down to Tahiti and Cuba, and the taciturn stage producer (Clark Gable) who finally succumbs to the charms of the alumna of the burleycue emporium who hits the limelight in a raid on the theatre.
The travail of pre-opening rehearsals, the financial ramifications, the backstage choristers’ opinions of the ‘Duchess’ (Crawford), because of Tone’s obvious romantic interest, the angeling and finally the staging of the big numbers are of generally familiar pattern.
The dance numbers here are all well done by Sammy Lee and Eddie Prinz. Crawford works with Fred Astaire in ‘Let’s Go, Bavarian’, both doing their terp stuff with commendable expertness, as a ‘magic carpet’ idea transplants them into a Tyrolean locale amidst a flock of frolicking Bavarians.
Art Jarrett and Nelson Eddy, from radio and the varieties, figure, like Astaire, in lending authenticity to some of the musical stuff. Ditto Bob Benchley, who behaves like a Broadway columnist would.