Ten Cents A Dance

Watch Ten Cents A Dance

  • Passed
  • 1931
  • 1 hr 16 min
  • 6.5  (828)

Ten Cents a Dance is a pre-Code drama romance film from 1931 directed by Lionel Barrymore, and starring Barbara Stanwyck, Ricardo Cortez and Monroe Owsley. This movie, based on the Broadway show of the same name, revolves around the love story of two young people and Stanwyck's character, Barbara O'Neill, a taxi dancer in a seedy nightclub that caters to men of all sorts.

The story is set in a world that is rapidly changing. The Great Depression is gripping America, and people are turning to any means they can find to earn a living. For Barbara, it means dancing for ten cents a ballroom dance. Life is hard, and times are tough for the young dancer. She lives in a modest apartment with her employer, who runs the nightclub where she works. Barbara is in love with Eddie Miller (Owsley), a piano player who is struggling to make ends meet. Their relationship is strained by the fact that she is the breadwinner, and they both have different aspirations in life.

Barbara's life takes a turn when she meets Bradley Carlton (Cortez), a wealthy playboy who is immediately smitten with her. He is intrigued by her beauty and her dancing skills, which are far beyond those of her colleagues. She, in turn, is attracted by his charm and wealth. Carlton takes her out of the nightclub, treating her to a life of luxury that she could hardly have imagined. They attend high society events, and he introduces her to his friends. Barbara is smitten with the life that Carlton has shown her, and she begins to dream of a better life for herself. But there is one catch- Carlton is engaged to someone else.

As the plot unfolds, we see how far Barbara is willing to go to achieve the life she desires. She uses Carlton's money to buy herself a chic wardrobe and personalities that will make her appear more worthy of his attention. As she is slowly losing herself in his high society world, Eddie makes a reappearance, and she must decide who she really wants to be with— Bradley or Eddie? Her self-realization comes alongside the understanding that she loves Eddie by the time Bradley's fiancé is revealed as someone who is close to the nightclub scene.

This movie is a reflection of the social and cultural climate of the time it was made. It portrays the contrast between the wealthy elite and the working-class masses. The movie is also a demonstration of the cultural changes that were happening in this period. In hindsight, the audience may find the stereotypes of women and dancehall girls problematic, but through their repression, it could be noted that their liberation and agency become integral to the film's progression. It is a story of a woman's struggle to find her place in society while learning that money does not guarantee happiness.

Ten Cents a Dance showcases Barbara Stanwyck's talent at playing a character with depth and nuance. The rest of the cast also does an excellent job, with Ricardo Cortez skillfully playing the wealthy playboy with ulterior motives, and Monroe Owsley's role as the pianist in love with a taxi dancer adds depth to the story.

Overall, Ten Cents A Dance is a captivating film that reflects the period’s culture and social changes. Through its portrayal of the lives of taxi dancers and high society, it presents an opportunity to reflect on how far we have come as a society and yet how some stereotypes and issues continue to plague us. The movie has aged well and still holds up as an accessible and enjoyable watch even today.

Ten Cents A Dance is a 1931 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 16 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.5.

Ten Cents A Dance
Where to Watch Ten Cents A Dance
Ten Cents A Dance is available to watch, stream, download and on demand at FuboTV. Some platforms allow you to rent Ten Cents A Dance for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 16 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.5  (828)