17 November 2010 | bkoganbing
Joan Goes To Work
Joan Crawford got to display some of her dancing talents which brought her to films in the first place in Dance Fools Dance. She also was paired for the first time with Clark Gable. Although Gable was sixth down on the billing the impression he made assured that he and Crawford would work together again.
In fact when Dance Fools Dance came out Crawford was already shooting another film, Laughing Sinners with Neil Hamilton and Johnny Mack Brown as her leads. The reviews Gable got made Louis B. Mayer scrap all the footage that had been shot with Brown and Gable was immediately recast in that picture.
Crawford and William Bakewell play a couple of rich kids whose father William Holden loses everything in the Crash of 29 and dies from the shock of it. And I mean he lost everything as the mansion and its furnishings are auctioned off to pay all the debts the estate owes. Both of them have to go to work, Bakewell not all pleased with that prospect.
Joan goes to work for a newspaper, writing sob sister stuff and she proves she has a knack for it. Bakewell on the other hand gets a job with your friendly bootlegger and his boss who is Clark Gable.
At this point the film makes use of the real life incidents of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre and the murder of reporter Jake Lingle in Chicago who covered the gangland beat. Cliff Edwards who plays the reporter does an excellent job, possibly the best acted part next to Gable.
Playing opposite Crawford as her ever faithful boyfriend from the good old rich days is Broadway actor Lester Vail. I looked Vail up on the Broadway Database and he had considerable stage career. He did not do too many films and truth be told he did not register well as a screen presence. No wonder all the talk was about the few scenes Gable and Crawford had together when she went undercover to investigate the murder of her friend and colleague Edwards.
Though it goes over the top in the melodrama toward the end Dance Fools Dance was a significant milestone in the careers of two screen legends.