CastOlive Borden (Gracie Nolan), Arthur Lake (Tommy Flynn), Margaret Seddon (Mrs. Flynn), Ralph Emerson (Ted Smith), Joseph Cawthorn (Bremmer), Helen Kaiser (Bee) Release dateDecember 14, 1929 (1929-12-14) (Premiere-New York City)
December 27, 1929 (1929-12-27) (US) WriterVina Delmar (story), Jane Murfin (screenplay), J. Walter Ruben (screenplay) GenresRomance Film, Drama film, Musical Similar moviesJaws of Steel, My Dad, Find Your Man, Below the Line, Under the Black Eagle, The Man from Hell's River
Dance hall 1929 talkie olive borden arthur lake natalie joyce
Dance Hall was an American Pre-Code musical film directed by Melville Brown and written by Jane Murfin and J. Walter Ruben, based on the short story of the same name by Vina Delmar. It was RKO's second to last release of the decade, and was a critical and financial flop.
A shipping clerk, Tommy Flynn, engages a young female taxi dancer, Gracie Nolan, and the two gain some success in dance halls, winning several dance contests. As they do, he becomes infatuated with her, but she only has eyes for a pilot, Ted Smith, who wants her as a trophy of his own. Flynn is unsuccessful in his attempts to woo the young Gracie, until the pilot crashes during his attempt at a transcontinental flight. Flynn hides the fact that the pilot is still alive from Gracie, as he attempts to get her to fall in love with him, but when she discovers his subterfuge, she is enraged and rushes off to be with the pilot.
However, when she finds Smith, she uncovers that he has been living with another woman. Devastated, she returns to Tommy, who takes her back. Reunited the two lovers become a successful dancing team.
Arthur Lake as Tommy Flynn
Olive Borden as Gracie Nolan
Joseph Cawthorn as Bremmer
Margaret Seddon as Mrs. Flynn
Ralph Emerson as Ted Smith
Lee Moran as Ernie
Helen Kaiser as Bee
Tom O'Brien as Truck driver
George Irving as Doctor Loring
In February 1929, it was announced that Viña Delmar had been signed by RKO to write the story. By the end of June, RKO had scheduled filming to begin on approximately August 1, 1929. In September, The Film Daily reported that Melville Brown had been signed to a long-term contract by RKO, and that Dance Hall would be his first project with his new studio, and in early October it was learned that J. Walter Ruben would be contributing to the script's dialogue. Also in October, RKO announced that Arthur Lake and Olive Borden were attached to the project, and also that Margaret Seddon, Ralph Emerson, and Tom O'Brien would be joining the cast. The production featured the introduction of two new dances: the "Dumb Drag" and the "Blue Bottom". While originally scheduled for August, filming on the picture did not begin until mid-October. After production began, a fire at Consolidated Film Industries, the laboratory developing the negatives, destroyed two days worth of filming. By November 20, filming had concluded and the picture was being edited.
The film opened on December 15, 1929 at the Globe Theater in New York City, although the American Film Institute has it opening a day earlier.