It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 500. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.
This week’s musical:
Go Into Your Dance (1935) – Musical #559
Archie Mayo, Michael Curtiz (uncredited)
Ruby Keeler, Al Jolson, Glenda Farrell, Barton MacLane, Patsy Kelly, Helen Morgan, Akim Tamiroff, Joyce Compton, Ward Bond (uncredited), Theresa Harris (uncredited),
Themselves: Al Dubin, Harry Warren
Famous Broadway performer Al Howard (Jolson) has been blackballed on Broadway after walking out on a successful show. His sister Molly (Farrell) enlists the help of dancer Dorothy Wayne (Keeler) to convince Al to create a duo. After creating an act, a gangster (MacLane) backs a show that will star Howard.
Awards and Nominations:
-Bobby Connolly was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Dance Direction for “Latin from Manhattan”.
-The only film where husband and wife Ruby Keeler and Al Jolson appear together
-Songwriters Al Dubin and Harry Warren appear as themselves in the film
-Reissued in 1946 after the biopic “The Jolson Story” premiered. They added an additional prologue and new credits. This is the cut that TCM airs.
-Costumes designed by Orry-Kelly
-“A Good Old Fashioned Cocktail (With a Good Old Fashioned Gal)” performed by Ruby Keeler
-“About a Quarter to Nine” performed by Al Jolson
-“The Little Things You Used to Do” performed by Helen Morgan
Writing the plot to “Go Into Your Dance” was a bit of a task because this is a scattered story line. At first you think this is going to be a film about a difficult to work with performer who finally gets his break with the help of a girl. And then gangsters are thrown in randomly.
It’s not necessarily a bad film, but it’s a let down after Keeler’s other films and exhibits the beginning of the decline of her career.
Ruby Keeler goes from a high of wonderful Busby Berkeley musicals such as “42nd Street,” “Dames,” or “Footlight Parade” to “Go Into Your Dance.” The vibe you get while watching it is that Ruby Keeler had to settle for this film and take a backseat to husband Al Jolson. And that’s not necessarily false. According to the Turner Classic Movie intro, Jolson was jealous of Keeler’s recent success at Warner Brother’s so this film was to help revive his career, as well as appease him.
Jolson is really my issue with this film. For me, a little bit of Al Jolson goes a long way. It’s fairly well-known fact that Jolson had an inflated ego, which I feel comes across on-screen. Keeler later said she didn’t want to be involved in “The Jolson Story” (1946), because she didn’t want her children to grow up and know she was involved with that man. Knowing that, it’s interesting to see them on-screen together.
As many of you know, Jolson is also well-known for his black face routines, which he does in one or two numbers in this film. We don’t condone this off-putting theatrical makeup, however, it was not a stranger to any pre-1960 musical.
“Go Into Your Dance” also lacked was memorable songs, which is surprising since the music was written by popular songwriters, Harry Warren and Al Dubin.
And for a title that has the word “dance” in it, we don’t get to see Miss Keeler tap dance as much as I would like.
I wanted to enjoy “Go Into Your Dance” but it was lacking in many areas. Maybe it wasn’t as fun because this was 1935 film (post-code), while Keeler’s Berkeley musicals were pre-codes. The fabulous Glenda Farrell even has a role in the film, and even she couldn’t save it.
This film does have historical value, since it’s the only time husband and wife Al Jolson and Ruby Keeler starred in a film together (married Sept. 1928-Dec. 1939), but unfortunately, that fact doesn’t make it memorable or overly entertaining.