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Film / Our Dancing Daughters

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Daughters, dancing.

Our Dancing Daughters is a silent film drama made in 1928.

Joan Crawford stars as Diana Medford, a beautiful and popular young woman who appears to be spoiled but is actually a moral upright person. She's best friends with Ann, a gold-digging flapper. Both are in love with Ben Blaine, a millionaire. Ben thinks that Diana is disinterested in him because she flirts with everyone, and marries Ann, who only wants his money. Diana is going to leave at this distressing news. Ben's sister decides to throw Diana a going-away party, which Ann wants to attend with her real love, Freddie. Ben attends behind Ann's back. What will happen when Diana and Ann see each other?

Star-Making Role for Crawford, who had gotten a couple of Love Interest parts with MGM but became one of the biggest actresses at the studio with the success of this film. Followed by Our Modern Maidens and Our Blushing Brides, which weren't sequels (there was no continuity) but dealt with similar themes, all starring Crawford as a young woman in New York finding love and romance.


Tropes used by the film:

  • Alpha Bitch: Good Lord, Ann.
  • Beta Couple: Beatrice and Norman, the girl with the tarnished past and her new husband.
  • Blondes Are Evil: Ann is the only blonde girl in the cast and is a total bitch.
  • Dances and Balls: Multiple fancy balls and dances attended by the New York jet-set that Diana and her friends are part of.
  • Death of the Hypotenuse: Ann conveniently falls down a set of stairs and breaks her neck (not that she didn't deserve it), so that Diana and Ben can be together.
  • Disney Villain Death: Ann tumbles down a flight of stairs and breaks her neck after her Villainous Breakdown.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: A meta example with the lead actress. Young, fresh-faced, beautiful Joan Crawford is quite a contrast to older, brassy, pancake makeup Crawford.
  • Feet-First Introduction: The opening shot. The camera focuses on Diana's feet in front of a mirror as she puts some underwear on—and then dances a jig.
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  • The Flapper: This really could have been called Flapper: The Movie. Diana and her friends are all archetypal examples of the flapper—young, wearing fancy dresses, sporting short haircuts, drinking, dancing, having sex.
  • First Girl Wins: Diana gets Ben in the end.
  • Gaussian Girl: Lots of this with Crawford.
  • Genteel Interbellum Setting: New York in The Roaring '20s.
  • Gold Digger: Ann, who comes from an upper-class but apparently broke family, is being groomed by her mother to marry rich.
  • Good Bad Girl: Diana may flirt with everyone and is a total party girl, but she's virtuous and caring about everyone.
  • Hypocrite: Ann tries to shame Diana when she catches her and Ben sharing a tender moment despite the fact that she's been cheating on Ben with Freddie almost since the start of their marriage.
    • Ben also marries Ann instead of Diana because he doesn't like how Diana flirts with everyone. This despite the fact he's dating two women at the same time who have both made it clear they want to marry him.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Ann is such a bitch to everyone that by the end she was just begging to fall down the stairs and break her neck.
  • Love Triangle: Ann lures a gullible Ben away from Diana.
  • Meal Ticket: Ben represents a chance for Ann and her mother to recover their family's financial status.
  • My Girl Is Not a Slut: Ann plays on this to lure Ben away from Diana (in this film "modern" is a code word for "slutty"). Another character feels ashamed of her free-love past, especially after her husband freaks out when some of her old boyfriends stop over.
  • Only Six Faces: A weird live-action example. All the women have the same fluffy bob and all the men have dark, slicked back hair in the same style. It can be hard to tell everyone apart when they're all in the same scene.
  • Playing Sick: Ann lies about this in order to fool Ben.
  • Quip to Black: A washerwoman who Ann had just been mocking holds up one of her wrists draped in many bracelets. "Them's won't help her now."
  • Rich Idiot With No Day Job: Not a single one of these young twentysomethings seem to need to work, instead being supported by their wealthy families. Justified in the case of Ben who apparently has inherited millions.
  • The Roaring '20s
  • Silence Is Golden: Our Dancing Daughters was released during the brief 1927-29 window where silent films were transitioning to sound. As a consequence, it does not have any dialogue, but it does have a recorded sound track with music and sound effects.
  • Thematic Series: First of three films starring Joan Crawford as a young woman in New York falling in love, followed by Our Modern Maidens and Our Blushing Brides.
  • Twenties Bob: All the women have one.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Ann is cheating on Ben almost as soon as they're done with their honeymoon.

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