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Dance Hall
Dance Hall“Forget Strictly Come Dancing
  Ealing Studios’ enjoyable drama Dance
  Hall
features an exciting ballroom
  championship final and looks at the
  uncertain lives of a group of young,
  working-class girls in the 1950s who
  every Saturday love to let down
  their hair at the local Chiswick Palais
..
.”

THE STORY OF A GROUP OF FACTORY GIRLS in 1950, when the war was over but not forgotten and young people were determined to get out and have fun, Dance Hall follows the youngsters as they chill out on Saturday nights at the Chiswick Palais and fall in and out of love.


Georgie (the lovely Petula Clark: Goodbye Mr Chips; Finian's Rainbow), quiet and pretty, has only one ambition in mind: to win the Palais' dance competition with partner Peter (Dougals Barr: Hue And Cry); but she risks upsetting her parents when Palais manager Jimmy Fairfax (Sydney Tafler) arranges for her to borrow the perfect dress for the finals.

Flirty and sexy Carole (the delectable Diana Dors) has two disastrous relationships behind her and professes to have given up on men; until she meets the next one.

Glide back in time
to the carefree days of
the early Fifties with
Dance Hall, where
romance and heartache
are just a step away
while both the dancing
and the compulsive
storyline keeps you
watching...”
Attractive and sweet-natured, Mary (Jane Hylton) is in love with Phil (Donald Houston: The Longest Day; Room At The Top), who only has eyes for beautiful girlfriend Eve (Natasha Parry: Romeo & Juliet; Oh, What A Lovely War!).

Eve is as ambitious as Georgie when it comes to the dancing competition and also has her eye on winning with her dancing partner, the predatory Alec (Bonar Colleano), to whom she is attracted.

Unfortunately for Phil, he is no dancer; which means he is forced to watch Eve and Alec on the dance floor. But when he realises that Alec is moving in on Eve romantically, he challenges his love rival.

Eve has unwisely allowed Alec to get too close to her and it is something she will deeply regret. Not only does he let her down badly but she has disappointed Phil, who loves her too much to let anything stand in his way and marries her.

Eve and Phil are blissfully happy; but one night Phil is working late and Eve decides to go to the Palais with her friends, where Phil comes to find her. A deliberately careless remark from Alec causes a deep rift between Eve and Phil; and as two of her friends grow closer to their boyfriends, who both propose, her marriage begins to fall apart and seems destined for the divorce courts.

From the director of The Lavender Hill Mob and The Titfield Thunderbolt, Dance Hall is a romantic melodrama centred round the life and loves of four working-class women who spend their Saturday nights at the Chiswick Palais dancing to the music of Ted Heath's Big Band.

Worth a look for period value and splendid dancing, including a star turn from dancers Chiquita and Juan, Dance Hall is a welcome release on DVD. A wonderful finale to the film is the uplifting New Year celebration with all the trimmings that ensures Dance Hall goes out with a bang.

Glide back in time to the carefree days of the early Fifties with Dance Hall, where romance and heartache are just a step away while both the dancing and the compulsive storyline keeps you watching.

With credible characters and a superb cast, Dance Hall has many familiar faces, including Harry Fowler in an early appearance as an amorous youth, singer Alma Cogan as a dancer and, playing themselves, Geraldo and His Orchestra, Ted Heath and his Music and singer Hy Hazel.

The film also features: Gladys Henson as Mrs Wilson; Dandy Nichols as Mrs Crabtree; Doris Hare as Blonde; Fred Johnson as Mr Wilson; and Kay Kendall as Doreen.

The artistes were coached in Ballroom Dancing by Phyllis Hayler; Original Screenplay by E V H Emmett (an Associate Producer), Diana Morgan and (Written By) Alexander Mackendrick (Ladykillers; The Man In The White Suit; Whisky Galore!); Director of Photography is Douglas Slocombe; Editor is Seth Holt; Music Director is Ernest Irving; Sorry You're Only Dreaming, sung by Hy Hazel, is composed by Joyce Cochrane and Lyrics are by Hy Hazell; Produced by Michael Balcon; and Directed by Charles Crichton.

* The first-ever release of this lost gem from Ealing Studios and now digitally remastered, Dance Hall makes its UK DVD Premiere, courtesy of StudioCanal, on 21 January 2013.

DVD Total Running Time: Approx: 80 Minutes | Black & White | Catalogue Number: OPTD2398 | RRP: 15.99.

Extras Making Of Featurette | Remembering Dance Hall | Behind The Scenes | Restoration Comparison | Stills Gallery | Trailer.

"Glide back in time to the carefree days of the early Fifties with Dance Hall, where romance and heartache are just a step away while both the dancing and the compulsive storyline keeps you watching"
Maggie Woods, MotorBar