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DANCING IN THE DARK


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I have always been curious about this film since it uses the wonderful Dietz & Schwartz score from THE BAND WAGON. Having never seen DANCING IN THE DARK, I decided to take a look when FMC ran the 1949 film. William Powell is effective as usual as an ego-driven, obnoxious, washed up movie star who redeems himself by promoting the career of an up and coming actress by having her star in a film called BAND WAGON. The only problem with this is the up and coming star is played by the triple threat Betsy Drake, who can't sing, can't dance and can't act. Not only is Ms. Drake's singing dubbed, but incredibly the studio uses a double for her dancing. What was FOX thinking when they cast Ms. Drake in this part! She is an OK light comedienne, but that's it. I think Ms. Drake's claim to fame is that she was one of the wives of Cary Grant who somewhat helped her in her short Hollywood career. This film is a curiosity item only for the musical score and how it is used in this film. We all know how effective this score was four years later for the actual filming of THE BAND WAGON at MGM.

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Your comments about Dancing in the Dark are very in tune with what I think of the picture. I taped that film awhile back on FMC because I'm such a huge fan of William Powell but Betsy Drake always left me a little cold. I agree that without Grant's influence, Drake would probably not have attained the roles she did. Dancing in the Dark does, however, feature a terrific turn by Jean Hersholt as himself, kindy as ever, a usual polished performance from Adolphe Menjou, and Powell is great when he's shirking the landlady. Too bad, it might have been better.

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