Dance Hall (1950 film)

Dance Hall is a 1950 British film directed by Charles Crichton. The film was an unusual departure for Ealing Studios at the time, as it tells the story about four women and their romantic encounters from a female perspective.[2][3]

Dance Hall
Original UK quad format poster
Directed byCharles Crichton
Produced byMichael Balcon
E.V.H. Emmett
Screenplay byE.V.H. Emmett
Diana Morgan
Alexander Mackendrick
StarringDonald Houston
Bonar Colleano
Petula Clark
Natasha Parry
Jane Hylton
Diana Dors
Music byJoyce Cochrane
Reg Owen
Jack Parnell
CinematographyDouglas Slocombe
Edited bySeth Holt
Distributed byGFD (UK)
Release date
  • 8 June 1950 (1950-06-08) (UK)[1]
Running time
80 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom


The story line centres on four young female factory workers who escape the monotony of their jobs by spending their evenings at the Chiswick Palais, the local dance hall, and having problems with their boyfriends or hoping to find some.[4]

Main cast


Filming took place in November 1949.[5] Peter Finch was offered a supporting role but did not appear in the final film.[6] It was only Donald Houston's second film.[7]


The bands of Geraldo and Ted Heath provide most of the music in the dance hall.


Most critics thought the leads were too glamorous for the working-class ladies they represented, but agreed that Clark, slowly emerging from the children's roles that had served as the basis of her early film career, and Parry, in her screen debut, had captured the spirit of young, post-war women clinging to the glamour and excitement of the dance hall.[8]

The film premiered on 8 June 1950 at the Odeon Marble Arch in London,[1] and the reviewer in The Times wrote that "the trouble with the film is that the characters do not match the authenticity of the background, and the working girls, who are the heroines, are too clearly girls who work in the studio and nowhere else", and concluded that the film "is not without its interest, but it does not quite live up to the high standards set by the Ealing Studios."[9]

Unusually for an Ealing production at that time, the film tells the story about the four women and their romantic encounters from a female perspective, presumably the input of screenwriter Diana Morgan. Today, the film is mainly interesting as "an historical piece full of incidental detail: visual reminders of London bomb sites and trolleybuses, and references to 'Mac Fisheries', 'Music While You Work', football results and rationing."[2]


  1. The Times, 8 June 1950, page 3: Picture Theatres – Odeon, Marble Arch Linked 2015-06-01
  2. BFI Screenonline, Roger Philip Mellor: Dance Hall (1950) Linked 2015-06-01
  3. DANCE HALL Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 17, Iss. 193, (Jan 1, 1950): 99.
  4. Capsule write-up ("Grim drama but well done") for Dance Hall's July 1957 TV broadcast in U.S. (on WSUN, channel 38 in Florida, licensed to city of St. Petersburg)
  5. "Mary Armitage's FILM CLOSE-UPS". The Mail (Adelaide). 39, (1, 955). South Australia. 19 November 1949. p. 4 (SUPPLEMENT). Retrieved 21 May 2019 via National Library of Australia.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  6. "Selznick-Korda Deal Is On Barter System". The Newcastle Sun (9894). New South Wales, Australia. 17 September 1949. p. 10. Retrieved 21 May 2019 via National Library of Australia.
  7. ""Success" Was "Writing on the Wall" for Ex-Coalminer". Illawarra Daily Mercury. New South Wales, Australia. 4 January 1951. p. 10. Retrieved 21 May 2019 via National Library of Australia.
  8. George Perry: Forever Ealing: a celebration of the great British film studio (Pavilion/Michael Joseph, 1981) ISBN 9780907516064
  9. The Times, 12 June 1950, page 6: New films in London Linked 2015-06-01
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