In 1933, Franchot costarred with Joan Crawford and Clark Gable in Dancing Lady. This was the second film that featured both Franchot and Joan, who would later marry in 1935. Joan Crawford plays Janie Barlow, a broke, but determined dancer stuck in a seedy burlesque show. Franchot is Tod, a wealthy young man who happens across Janie on a night of "slummin' it" with his rich friends. When Janie is booked for indecent exposure, Tod bails her out and uses his connections to get her an audition with the famous musical director Patch Gallagher (Clark Gable).
Janie begins to fall for Tod and sparks fly! Dancing Lady is an incredibly sexy film. Joan and Franchot are gorgeous together. Their chemistry is off the charts. Although it is clear that Franchot's character is supposed to be the stuffed shirt and Clark's character will probably win Joan, the scenes between Franchot and Joan do not play that way. Tod watches Janie with desire evident in his eyes. When he kisses her, he grabs her face and pushes her head back for a deeper embrace. They kiss passionately underwater in one scene.
While Janie spends all of her free time with Tod, she spends her working hours falling for Patch. Here's the interesting thing about this film. In most romantic triangles, there's always one partner who is clearly better with the main character. In this film, I was rooting for both Franchot and Clark's characters to win Janie scene-by-scene. Joan's scenes with Franchot were totally sexy. Joan's scenes with Clark were totally sexy.
Tod is so eager to have Janie all to himself that he does something extreme to make sure it happens. Patch is onto Tod's scheme and lets Janie in on the truth. Dancing Lady is a brilliant early 30s film. It gives us a glimpse into the attraction between Franchot and future wife Joan (and of course, Joan's attraction to Clark.) It also reminds us what a skilled dancer Joan was. This is my favorite period of Joan's beauty and style. She's all luminous eyes, soft hair, and determination. Dancing Lady is a must-see film for any classic movie fan!
Dancing Lady is available to purchase on DVD on