The Dance of Life (August 16, 1929)
Released August 16, 1929: (running time 1 hour and 52 minutes) A burlesque dancer marries the slapstick comic who loves whiskey and women as much as he loves her.
Produced by Adolph Zukor and Jesse L. Lasky
Directed by John Cromwell and A. Edward Sutherland
Written by Benjamin Glazer, Arthur Hopkins, Julian Johnson and George Manker Watters
The Actors: Hal Skelly (Ralph 'Skid' Johnson), Nancy Carroll (Bonny Lee King), Dorothy Revier (Silvia Marco), Ralph Theodore (Harvey Howell, cattle king), Charles D. Brown (Lefty Miller, burlesque show producer), Al St. John (Bozo), May Boley (Gussie, Bozo's wife), Oscar Levant (Jerry), Gladys DuBois (Miss Sherman), James Quinn (Jimmy, Lefty's assistant), Jim Farley (Champ Melvin), George Irving (the minister), Gordona Bennet (Amazon chorus girl), Miss La Reno (Amazon chorus girl), Cora Beach Shumway (Amazon chorus girl), Charlotte Ogden (Amazon chorus girl), Kay Deslys (Amazon chorus girl), Magda Blom (Amazon chorus girl), Thelma McNeil (gilded girl), John Cromwell (doorkeeper), A. Edward Sutherland (theater attendant), Marjorie Kane (Ziegfeld girl singing the 'flippity flop')
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You Wouldn't Kid Me? . . . I Would if I Could, Mister, I Would if I Could!
Pretend that you are a young woman with no family, no money, no job, . . . alone in the world, searching for a future, any future, maybe a future as a dancer on the Burlesque stage. Any girl can dance, and they pay good money for pretty dancing girls, right?
As our adventure opens we meet, Bonny King, played by Nancy Carroll, one of the most popular female actors of the first years of motion pictures. Most of her movies were produced by major motion picture companies that did not go out of business and skillfully re-registered their copyrights, so very few of her performances have entered public domain.
Young Bonny King needs a job, but when she tries out for a dancing part in a traveling burlesque show, she is turned down, and she sits in the train station without a job, without much money, and without any prospects for a future. Fortunately, a young slapstick comedian with the Burlesque show takes a liking to Bonny, and soon they are in love and performing together on the Burlesque circuit.
This leads to that, and soon their tumultuous marriage is interrupted when her husband gets a job in New York City in a Ziegfeld Follies show, and Bonny continues to travel from town to town on the Burlesque circuit. Husband Skid Johnson is suddenly rich and famous, with young girls of New York offering him anything he desires, while Bonny continues to work from town to town across America, holding on to her love for her scoundrel of a husband.
We are in the pre-code era of motion pictures, and the rules about relationships on the big screen have not been written yet. The lives of two in love can be told in an honest, if not happy, manner. Anything can happen to this couple, just like in real life, . . . No kidding, I wouldn't kid you. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
Hal Skelly and Nancy Carroll
Charles D. Brown
Hal Skelly and Charles D. Brown
Marjorie 'Babe' Kane
May Boley and Al St. John
Nancy Carroll and Dorothy Revier
Nancy Carroll and Hal Skelly