It’s fascinating to see Lucille Ball in such an early role. She’s already got a Super Soaker personality, a double-jointed face, and a lanky body that flails with precision. Maureen O’Hara, on the other hand, can feel a bit stiff at times. The juxtaposition of Mousy Maureen with a boisterous and bawdy badass only reinforces the impression. O’Hara’s character is supposed to be reserved, though, and she does come to life a bit towards the end of the film.
The ending felt a bit rushed and unearned, but at ninety minutes, Dance, Girl, Dance is succinct and entertaining. Too many non-Lucille Ball scenes, though! Whether she’s toying with the audience at a burlesque show, or side-eyeing her rivals, she owns all of the scenes.