Back in the early days of sound movies, Hollywood was in love with musical spectaculars. The problem is that with the earliest ones, the quality of the sound and dancing is pretty awful. This is painfully obvious in "The Dance of Life". I don't entirely blame the films. After all, sound technology was primitive and quality choreography was something you wouldn't see until the early 30s. The Busby Berkeley-style song and dance numbers were very crisp and professional--the stuff in the earlier films just looks rough...very rough.
This film is about two stage performers--Skid (Hal Skelly), a comedian, and Bonny (Nancy Carroll). When the film begins, both are out of work and struggling. Together, they seem to do much better and come to be friends and eventually marry. However, over time, Skid hits the big time and Bonny is left behind--putting a big strain on their relationship. Eventually, she takes up with a millionaire and Skid, unexpectedly, hits the skids. What's next for the duo?
This film is very dated. As I mentioned, the dancing is pretty bad. Additionally, similar material is handled better in other films. Mostly of interest to devoted fans of the real oldies.
By the way, sadly only a few years after doing this film, Hal Skelly was killed when he was a passenger in a car that got hit by a train! So, if you ever wanted to see this vaudevillian, this film is one of the few chances.
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