The Dancing Cavalier is a 1928 movie musical from Monumental Pictures, directed by Roscoe Dexter, and starring Don Lockwood in his first "talkie", and Lina Lamont in a Star-Derailing Role.
Lockwood plays a singing and dancing hoofer, who rises to fame on Broadway. While reading A Tale of Two Cities backstage one night, a hit on the head from a sandbag knocks him into a dream set during The French Revolution. There, he becomes the swashbuckling Pierre de Batille, and enters a forbidden romance with noblewoman Yvonne (Lamont, dubbed over by a retroactively-credited Kathy Selden).
This movie contains examples of:
- All Love Is Unrequited: "Broadway Melody" involves the guy not getting the Dancer, who wasn't interested in him in the first place.
- Arranged Marriage: Yvonne has one with the Baron de Landsfield, but would rather marry Pierre.
- The Cast Showoff: Don Lockwood demonstrated his singing and dancing talents for the first time on the big screen.
- Damsel in Distress: Yvonne becomes this when she is kidnapped by Rouge Noir of the Purple Terror.
- Dastardly Whiplash: Rouge Noir."Pierre is miles away, you wench!"
- Disney Death: Pierre has one after Yvonne finds him unconscious and injured.
- Dream Ballet: Once Don's character strikes it rich in the "Broadway Melody" sequence, he bumps into a dancer from a speakeasy a second time. In his imaginings, the dancer turns into a long-haired ingenue who flies into his arms; a far cry from the reality, which is a floozy.
- Dream Sequence: The bulk of the movie comprises an extended dream sequence by Don's character, a stagehand who gets pasted by a falling sandbag and dreams himself in 17th century France.
- Executive Meddling: Monumental Pictures has already begun filming the project as a silent movie, with the Working Title The Dueling Caviler, by the time Warner Bros.' success with The Jazz Singer prompted Monumental head R.F. Simpson to green light his own string of talking pictures. Consequently, Roscoe and the cast had to reshoot everything they already filmed.
- The Family for the Whole Family: Don's character's love interest for the opening is the flirtatious moll of a mute, coin-flipping mobster with a scarred face, a la Al Capone. His goons flip coins, too. Later, when the hoofer tries his luck with the dancer again, she answers him with a coin flip. Drat.
- Follow the Leader: One of several musicals Monumental Pictures released to cash-in on The Jazz Singer.
- Forgotten Framing Device: The Dancing Cavalier begins with a modern guy getting bumped on the head and dreaming he's in 17th century France, and ends with him still in 17th century France.
- Gold Digger: The Dancer loses interest in Don's character when her beau dangles a diamond necklace in front of her. The mobster's bored expression suggests this is becoming routine for him.
- Leg Focus: In the "Broadway Ballet" extravaganza, the Dancer's entrance is marked by her slowly handing Don his hat back after he drops it... using one of her very long, very beautiful legs to do it.
- Love at First Sight: Pierre and Yvonne experience this.
- Love Theme: "Would You?" for Pierre and Yvonne.
- Nerd Glasses: Don's character in the "Broadway Melody" sequence.
- Off with His Head!: Predictably for the time period, Yvonne warns Pierre that word of their meetings in the court could result in him getting sentenced to the guillotine, but he still risks it.
- Pimped-Out Dress: The noblewomen's gowns fit the mold of 18th century dresses, being covered with frills and flowers (which isn't that far off from the real dresses of that time, except they were even more decorated).
- Same Language Dub: Kathy Selden for Lina Lamont. Due to Executive Meddling on Lamont's part, Selden's name didn't appear in the credits when the movie premiered.
- Second-Face Smoke: In the "Broadway Ballet" sequence, done to Don's character by the Dancer.
- Smoking Is Glamorous: The Dancer.
- The Voiceless: The Dancer makes virtually no sound at all in both her two appearances.
- What Could Have Been: Monumental's first attempt to reshoot The Dueling Cavalier with audio didn't contain any musical numbers, and retained Lamont's naturally squeaky voice. At the test screening, the cheesy dialogue, hammy acting, and poor audio mixing received so much ridicule, that Monumental ended up filming yet another version of the movie.