That's the rhythm of the day!

This is really a fun clip for all of you today - it is a grand scene from the film, Dancing Lady, and the title of the song is Rhythm of the Day (1933).

So many things to say about this clip! Let's start w/ a little background info on the film itself.

Synopsis from
Janie, is a former dancer in a burlesque theater. During a show, one man from the public takes off part of Janie's costume, leaving her almost topless. In that precise moment the police come and take away all the dancers to court, with charges of attempting against moral. The judge won't believe Janie's explanation about the matter, and sends her to jail. Tod Newton, a rich man who was in the theater, bails Jane out of jail. He feels attracted to Janie's beauty and after hearing her story about longing to become a famous dancer, he feels disposed to help her. A prestigious Broadway director, Patch Gallagher is trying to set up a musical play, but he's having some monetary difficulties. Tod will get an audition for Janie, despite Patch's resistance. But the director accepts the girl, who's a quite talented dancer. Nevertheless, Patch begins to feel attracted to Janie, who is working hard in the rehearsals, behaving well and is kindly with the director. But Tod is planning to propose to Janie, despite the fact that matrimony is now out of her future plans.

The film stars Joan Crawford & Clark Gable, with misc. other appearances by famous broadway dancers. Let's talk a little about Joan Crawford now (from Wikipedia):

Joan Crawford (March 23, 1905 – May 10, 1977) was an American actress of film, television and theatre. Starting as a dancer in traveling theatrical companies before debuting on Broadway, Crawford was signed to a motion picture contract by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1925. Initially frustrated by the size and quality of her parts, Crawford began a campaign of self-publicity and became nationally known as a flapper by the end of the 1920s. In the 1930s, Crawford's fame rivaled MGM colleagues Norma Shearer and Greta Garbo. Crawford often played hardworking young women who find romance and financial success. These "rags-to-riches" stories were well-received by Depression-era audiences and were popular with women. Crawford became one of Hollywood's most prominent movie stars and one of the highest paid women in the United States, but her films began losing money and by the end of the 1930s she was labeled "box office poison".

After an absence of nearly two years from the screen, Crawford staged a comeback by starring in Mildred Pierce (1945), for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. In 1955, she became involved with the Pepsi-Cola Company, through her marriage to company president Alfred Steele. After his death in 1959, Crawford was elected to fill his vacancy on the board of directors but was forcibly retired in 1973. She continued acting in film and television regularly through the 1960s, when her performances became fewer; after the release of the British horror film Trog in 1970, Crawford retired from the screen. Following a public appearance in 1974, after which unflattering photographs were published, Crawford withdrew from public life and became more and more reclusive until her death in 1977.

*Hot Trivia*
This was Fred Astaire's first film, and Joan Crawford was Fred Astaire's very first on-screen dance partner. Astaire's dancing career actually began with his sister, Adele, in vaudeville and on Broadway.

Oh, and in regards to Joan, The Motion Picture Herald placed Crawford on its list of the top-ten moneymaking stars from 1932, the first year of the poll, through 1936 and Life magazine proclaimed her "First Queen of the Movies" in 1937 (Joan Crawford: A Biography by Bob Thomas, 1978).

So now some thoughts on the clip itself...
One thing you will notice in this film right away are the crazy costumes. After everyone time travels to 1933 (yes, you read that correctly - they time travel to the future), the first set of chorus girls we see are wearing (what would most easily be compared to) a kind of bellhop outfit... only the skirts are about 5 inches too short. It's pretty comical that the girls' asses are literally hanging out of the back of the skirts - they are THAT short.

A little later in the clip we see a group of old ladies with canes walk into the beauty salon to get makeovers, and *POOF*, they magically come out not only wearing dresses that appear to be constructed of reynolds-wrap, but they ALSO magically appear to have aged backwards 50 years as well! (gosh, there really is a lot of time-changing in this clip)

My favorite part of this clip by far though, are the "special effects" of this film. At the beginning of this clip, we see a group of actors that appear to be partaking in a garden party from the days of Marie Antoinette. They then magically time-travel through a large doorway into the 1930's, and this itself is a pretty fun effect. One can only imagine how awe-inspiring it must have been to a 1933 audience! Horse-drawn carriages pass through the doorway only to magically turn into chauffeur driven expensive cars.

The next special effect scene (that is quite spectacular) is near the end of the clip, at just around 5:00. Chorus girls are positioned (lying down) on a giant wheel that is the base of a giant merry-go-round, with an illusion that creates a kind of kaleidoscope between the blondes and the brunettes. As this effect occurs, other girls ride the horses around them on the carousel. (hard to picture I know, that's why you just gotta watch it!)
This scene in particular really makes me think of Busby Berkeley, and I actually looked to make sure that he wasn't part of the direction of the film. He wasn't, but you can clearly see in the effects of grandeur how one would draw the comparison to a crazy vision that Busby would have.

This film really is a true joy to watch, so without further ado, I would like to present you with Rhythm of the Day (1933):

1 comment:

  1. Amazing clip, Robin! What a great thing to watch while drinking my morning coffee! Please keep posting!

    Oh man, I tell you, someday when I have a successful practice I'm going to take all the money I'll save by not having kids and put it towards the Sister Kate Warehouse of Costumes, Props and Sets - looks like now we need carousel horses and a factory's worth of cellophane.