Dangerous Curves (1929 film)

Dangerous Curves is a 1929 American Pre-Code film starring Clara Bow and Richard Arlen. It was released by Paramount Pictures and was the first Hollywood film for Kay Francis.[1]

Dangerous Curves
Theatrical release poster
Directed byLothar Mendes
Written byFlorence Ryerson
Donald Davis
Viola Brothers Shore
Story byLester Cohen
StarringClara Bow
Richard Arlen
Kay Francis
CinematographyHarry Fischbeck
Edited byEda Warren
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • July 13, 1929 (1929-07-13)
Running time
75 minutes
CountryUnited States


Pat Delaney is working in a circus as one of the female bareback riders. She is in love with Larry Lee, an arrogant trapeze artist and the circus' biggest act. He does not seem to notice her, though, as he is used to being adored by tons of women. He is in a relationship with Zara, a manipulative vamp.

Larry's boss warns him about Zara, explaining that he has been incurring a lot of debts since he began dating her and that his act is no longer as powerful as in the past. One day, Pat and Larry get acquainted and she intimates that she has feelings about him and that they should do an act together. Although he makes clear that his heart belongs to someone else, he convinces the circus manager to give Pat a try on the wire.

Later that day, Pat catches Zara having a date with another man, Tony. When she tells Larry about the affair, he madly confronts Zara and threatens to beat up Tony. He is interrupted by the notion that he has to perform, but he is unable to concentrate and falls off the tight-rope. He is taken to the hospital and soon recovers, but then goes missing from the circus. He refuses to come back and spends his time getting drunk instead. When he finds out that Zara and Tony have left the circus and are now struggling to get work, he sympathizes with them. Upon finding out that he is not planning on returning to the circus, Pat is determined to convince him to do otherwise. Together they form an act, but it soon becomes clear that Larry has lost his talent.

Pat has trouble breaking through his distant behavior, but she convinces him to teach her how to walk a tight-rope. During this progress, he finds his talent again and urges Zara to come back to work on the greatest tight-rope act in history. When Pat finds out, she feels used and confronts Larry with an outburst before leaving in tears. The circus manager tries to comfort her and offers her her own wire act. Meanwhile, Larry is left behind by Zara, who turns out to have married Tony. On the night of her premiere, a drunken Larry tells Pat about his failure. As she tries to comfort him, she misses her premiere and is fired. Larry has collapsed in the meanwhile and Pat decides to pose as him on stage. When Larry awakens, he shows his gratitude and kisses her.




  1. Kear, Lynn, and John Rossman. Kay Francis: A Passionate Life and Career. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2006.
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