Dance Fools Dance (1931): Melodrama Starring Joan Crawford and Clark Gable

Harry Beaumont directed this turgid melodrama just before Clark Gable became a major star, when he still played secondary roles and heavies, such as a wicked gangland boss here.

Joan Crawford plays for a change a rich girl named Bonnie, who, along with her brother Rodney Jordan (William Bakewell) is spoiled by their wealthy father (William Holden), who dies when the market crashes.

Bob Townsend (Lester Vail), with whom Bonnie had been having an affair, wants to marry her, but she refuses.  Rodney goes to work for Jake Luva (Clark Gable), a bootlegger, telling his sister that he is going to sell stock.  And Bonnie, through a friend, gets a job on a newspaper.

When Luva stages a gangland killing, the papers are sure he did it, but lack proof.  Scranton (Cliff Edwards), a reporter friend of Bonnie’s, discovers damaging information on Luva.  On a threat of death, Luva forces Rodney to kill Scranton.

To find out who killed Scranton, Bonnie becomes an entertainer to worm her way into Luva’s mob.  She becomes his favorite and finds out the horrid truth about her brother.  Luva discovers the truth about Bonnie and decides to “take her for a ride.”  Rod interferes and they kill each other.  Bonnie escapes and reports the story, exposing the rest of Luva’s gang.  She then finally consents to become Townsend’s wife.


Directed by Harry Beaumont.

Screenplay by Richard Schayer, from an original story by Aurania Rouverol.

Dialogue by Aurania Rouverol.

Photography by Charles Rosher.

Editor: George Hively.

Release date: February 1, 1931.

Running time: 82 minutes.


Joan Crawford

Lester Vail

Cliff Edwards

William Bakewell

William Holden

Clark Gable

Earl Foxe

Purnell B. Pratt

Hale Hamilton

Natalie Moorhead

Joan Marsh

Russell Hopton