Our Dancing Daughters
Lobby card
Directed byHarry Beaumont
Written byTitles
Marian Ainslee
Ruth Cummings
Story byJosephine Lovett (& scenario)
Produced byHunt Stromberg
StarringJoan Crawford
John Mack Brown
CinematographyGeorge Barnes
Edited byWilliam Hamilton
Music byWilliam Axt
Production
company
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
September 1, 1928 (1928-09-01TUS)
Running time
85 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguagesSilent film
English intertitles
Budget$178,000[1]
Box office$1,099,000[1]

Our Dancing Daughters is a 1928 American silent drama film starring Joan Crawford and John Mack Brown about the "loosening of youth morals" that took place during the 1920s. The film was directed by Harry Beaumont and produced by Hunt Stromberg. This was the film that made Joan Crawford a major star, a position she held for the following half century.

While the film has no audible dialog, it was released with a synchronized soundtrack and sound effects.

Plot

"Dangerous Diana" Medford (Crawford) is outwardly flamboyant and popular but inwardly virtuous and idealistic, patronizing her parents by telling them not to stay out late. Her friend Ann chases boys for their money and is as amoral as her mother.

Diana and Ann are both attracted to Ben Blaine (Brown). He takes Diana's flirtatious behavior with other boys as a sign of lack of interest in him and marries Ann, who has lied about her virtues. Bea, a mutual friend of Diana and Ann, also meets and marries a wealthy suitor named Norman who loves her but is haunted by her past.

Diana becomes distraught for a while about the marriages of her friends with questionable pasts. She decides to go away and Bea throws a raucous bon voyage party at the yacht club (complete with sculpted ice ocean liner centerpiece), which Ben declined to attend and made Ann decline as well. The same evening Ann hopes to meet up with her lover, Freddie, telling her husband she is going to see her sick mom. When her mom calls and Ben realizes Ann has lied to him yet again, they get into an argument and Ann storms out to meet Freddie.

Now alone, Ben decides to stop by the party where he and Diana realize their love for each other. Meanwhile, a drunken Ann follows Freddie into the party only to find Ben and Diana alone together in a quiet room. She causes an uproar, after which both Diana and Ben leave the party declaring their love but ultimately saying goodbye to one another.

Norman arrives at the dwindling party to find Bea trying to help the inebriated Ann home. On her way out, Ann mocks a trio of cleaning women and reflects on her and her mother's gold-digging strategy. Distracted by this, she stumbles and falls down a flight of stairs to her death. Headlines tell of Diana's return home after two years away, upon which she and Ben are happily reunited.

Cast

Reception

Bland Johnson in the New York Mirror commented, "Joan Crawford...does the greatest work of her career."[2] The film was also nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Screenplay (Josephine Lovett) and Best Cinematography (George Barnes).[3]

Box office

According to MGM records the film earned $757,000 in the US and Canada and $342,000 elsewhere resulting in a profit of $304,000.[1]

Cultural impact

It was due in part to her role as the ferociously free Charleston-dancing, Prohibition-era-booze-swilling, stage-diving "Dangerous" Diana Medford that F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote of Joan Crawford:[4]

Joan Crawford is doubtless the best example of the flapper, the girl you see in smart night clubs, gowned to the apex of sophistication, toying iced glasses with a remote, faintly bitter expression, dancing deliciously, laughing a great deal, with wide, hurt eyes. Young things with a talent for living.

DVD release

This was released in 2010 on DVD.[5]

References

  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. ^ Quirk, Lawrence J.. The Films of Joan Crawford. The Citadel Press, 1968.
  3. ^ "The 2nd Academy Awards (1930) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
  4. ^ Fitzgerald, quoted in Thomas, p. vii
  5. ^ "Silent Era: Home Video: Our Dancing Daughters". Retrieved September 20, 2014.