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Dancing Co-Ed

(1939 b 84')

En: 5 Ed: 4

Artie Shaw's orchestra provided the music for this romantic comedy about a young dancer who goes to college to win a rigged contest for a movie role.

Radio studio executive Henry Workman (Thurston Hall) learns that his dancer Toddy Tobin is pregnant. Joe Drews (Roscoe Karns) suggests that Workman hold a contest for college co-eds. Freddy Tobin (Lee Bowman) complains, and Joe gets Patty Marlow (Lana Turner) to go to college. Freddy tap dances with Patty and likes her; Joe has Eve Greeley (Ann Rutherford) take Patty's entrance exam. Professor Lange (Monty Woolley) teaches poetry but is interrupted by journalism students Pug Braddock (Richard Carlson) and Evans promoting the school paper. On radio Freddy announces the contest. Pug suspects the winner is already picked. Patty gets a date with Pug but doesn't respond to his kiss. She offers to help investigate. Pug's father sends telegrams on the girls except for Patty.

Joe arrives and tells Pug there is no plant. Patty writes the story that they found no plant there. Pug and Patty take embarrassing photos for the paper. President Cavendish (Walter Kingsford) was shown drinking and summons their fathers. Patty tells Pug they could hire fathers. She tells her father Sam Marlow (Leon Errol) to play the part for Pug, who tells Cavendish the fathers are actors. Patty says that Sam is her father, but he denies it. Sam gets Cavendish to let Patty and Pug off. Patty has Sam leave in Joe's car, but he is injured in an accident. Off the record Patty tells Pug that the car is Joe's and that she is the plant.

In the contest dance teacher Jenny May (Mary Field) selects Patty as a final contestant. Patty is abducted in a car. Joe delays the contest. Three masked men take Patty to a cabin; but they flee when Lange arrives in the rain without a car. Pug arrives and is persuaded to take Patty wrapped in oil cloth in his open car. Pug's car gets stuck in the rain. Sam and Joe make Eve dance to stall for Patty. Pug gets a lift in a ham truck and delivers Patty to Joe. Patty tap dances, but Workman proclaims Eve the winner and hires Sam, who taught her. Pug tells Patty that they are getting married.

That the dance contest is so quickly suspected of being a set-up by the studio suggests that they do such things for publicity. The story shows that college journalists can investigate and expose the sham.

Copyright © 2001 by Sanderson Beck

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