|TEN CENTS A DANCE (director: Lionel Barrymore; screenwriters: Jo Swerling/Dorothy Howell; cinematographers: Ernie Haller/Gilbert Warrenton; editor: Arthur Huffsmith; music: Bakaleinikoff; cast: Barbara Stanwyck (Barbara O'Neill), Ricardo Cortez (Bradley Carlton), Sally Blane (Molly), Monroe Owsley (Eddie Miller), Blanche Friderici (Mrs. Blanchard), Phyllis Crane (Eunice), Olive Tell (Mrs. Carlton), Victor Potel (Smith, a sailor), Al Hill (Jones, a sailor), Jack Byron (Leo), Pat Harmon (Casey), David Newell (Ralph Sheridan), Martha Sleeper (Nancy Sheridan); Runtime: 75; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Harry Cohn/Frank Fouce; Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (Columbia); 1931)|
|"Barbara's worth the price of
admission, even if the theater ticket price
is more than ten cents."
by Dennis Schwartz
Oscar-winning actor Lionel Barrymore ("The
Rogue Song"/"Madame X"/"The Unholy Night") helms a
below average melodrama about the travails of a
virtuous taxi dancer. It's a pre-code film, therefore
it's racy. It's poorly written by Jo
Swerling and Dorothy Howell. What is
valued here is the dynamic performance by
Barbara Stanwyck. She is just dandy
as the feisty innocent working-girl with a big-heart.
Barbara can almost make even this rubbish seem
O'Neill (Barbara Stanwyck) works
as a dance hostess at the Palais de Dance,"
a raunchy dance hall in New York City, where men
must buy a ten cent ticket to dance with a hostess.
The lonely wealthy businessman Bradley Carlton (Ricardo
Cortez) goes to the dance hall and is taken
with Barbara and gives her a $100 tip for just
talking with him. But Barbara rebuffs his romantic
desires and mistakenly marries the ne'er-do-well
Eddie Miller (Monroe Owsley), a
destitute resident in her boarding house she gave
her tip money to pay the rent. Though Barbara
remains loyal to her cowardly husband, in their
short marriage, he betrays her trust by embezzling
$5,000 from Carlton. He got the job as bookkeeper
thanks to Barbara.
superficial film fails to tell us much about the
life of a taxi dancer that's even remotely real,
Barbara's romances are all unconvincing and it lacks
the imagination to rise above its low-level
characterizations. But Barbara's worth the price of
admission, even if the theater ticket price is more
than ten cents.
REVIEWED ON 1/15/2016 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ