26 October 2011 | bkoganbing
Two Redheads In Their Salad Days
Dance Girl Dance tells the story of two redheaded dancers in their salad days. One is Lucille Ball who makes it to the top in burlesque. The other is Maureen O'Hara who has the ambitions and the talent, but not the drive to succeed in classical ballet. She acts as a stooge/foil for Lucy's burlesque act and takes the money as well as the audience jibes that come with it.
Both of them pique the interest of Louis Hayward a soon to be divorced playboy from Virginia Field. In addition even though O'Hara chickened out of the audition, ballet company head Ralph Bellamy thinks she has that something which will make her succeed in ballet.
All these lives are tangled up with each other, but the focus is on the rivalry between Lucy and Maureen. It's friendly at times and not so friendly at others. It gets real nasty when the two have a knock down drag out brawl on stage. The customers at the burlesque sure got their money's worth that night, all these two needed was a pit of mud.
In her memoirs Maureen O'Hara had nothing but kind words to say for Lucille Ball whom she got to be great friends with. She also said that by dint of her training as a Goldwyn Girl, Lucy had quite a head start on her in the dance department. O'Hara recalled the shoot as exhausting but she was proud of the finished product. As well she should have been.
Lucy also met her leading man from her next scheduled picture Too Many Girls and fell in love with him. That would be Desi Arnaz and we all know where that romance went.
O'Hara also enjoyed working for Dorothy Arzner and felt that Arzner brought a special dimension to what is a 'woman's picture' since it's about the friendship between two women. In any event Dance Girl Dance is a work anyone associated with it can be proud of.