Salome, Where She Danced

Salome, Where She Danced is a 1945 American Technicolor Western drama film directed by Charles Lamont and starring Yvonne De Carlo, Rod Cameron and Walter Slezak. The film follows the adventures of a dancer in nineteenth-century Europe and the United States. It is loosely based on the story of Lola Montez. Choreography by Lester Horton.

Salome, Where She Danced
Directed byCharles Lamont
Produced byAlexander Golitzen (associate producer)
Walter Wanger (producer)
Written byLaurence Stallings
Based onshort story by Michael J. Phillips
StarringYvonne de Carlo
Music byEdward Ward
CinematographyW. Howard Greene
Hal Mohr
Edited byRussell F. Schoengarth
Walter Wanger Productions
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • April 17, 1945 (1945-04-17) (United States)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2,598,964[1]

Plot summary

The film opens in Virginia in 1865, shortly after General Lee's surrender at Battle of Appomattox Court House. A war correspondent Jim Steed exchanges comments with Count Von Bohlen, an arrogant Prussian army officer serving as a military attaché during the American Civil War. A year later Steed is in Vienna shortly before the outbreak of the Austro-Prussian War of 1866. There he encounters a famous dancer, Anna Marie, whom he persuades to spy for him on Von Bohlen, now a member of the Prussian General staff, who has become infatuated with her. However the secret plans which they manage to pass on to the Austrians are unable to prevent the decisive Prussian victory.

Escaping Vienna just ahead of the conquering Prussian army, they journey to the United States where they plan to organize a successful career for her in show-business. Stopping in a small western town to stage a show, they choose the exotic Salome for her debut, but it is robbed at gunpoint by local desparados,. After Salome is able to recover their money from the bandits, the town elders decide by popular acclaim to rename the settlement "Salome Where She Danced". The bandit leader, Cleve Blunt, an ex-Confederate soldier develops a romantic interest in Anna Marie and accompanies her on the journey westward.

After moving on to San Francisco, they persuade a wealthy Russian Colonel to back her career. Just as she is set to make a success, the arrival of Count Von Bohlen seeking revenge leads to a final confrontation.



The project had originally been connected to John Ford in 1941, but it was acquired by the producer Walter Wanger. He envisaged it as "an Arabian nights story in a western setting".

The film was based on a short story inspired by the Arizona legend about the town Drinkmens Wells which came to be known as Salome, Where She Danced. The story was about a Mexican dance hall performer called Salome who danced to hold the attention of a group of outlaws and give the law-abiding members of the town enough time to assemble and arm in protection of their homes. The script expanded the story to incorporate characters such as Robert E. Lee and Bismark.[2]


Yvonne de Carlo had been under contract to Paramount Pictures and had been short listed for important roles in The Story of Dr Wassell and Rainbow Island without actually being given them. She was cast in September 1944.[3] Wanger later said he discovered her by looking at a camera test of another actor in which de Carlo also appeared.[4] Another source says 21 Royal Canadian Air Force bombardier students who loved her as a pinup star campaigned to get her the role.[5] De Carlo later said this was done at her behest; she took several pictures of herself in a revealing costume and got two childhood friends from Vancouver, Reginald Reid and Kenneth Ross McKenzie, who had become pilots, to arrange their friends to lobby on her behalf.[6]

The crew at Universal was set to shoot a wardrobe test for Ava Gardner on a sound stage at Universal. Gardner did not show, and Art Director Alexander Golitzen ran to Producer Walter Wanger's office asking, "Walter, what the hell is happening?" Wanger replied, "MGM just called, They wouldn't let her go." Yvonne De Carlo was in waiting room with her agent and Golitzen said, "Why don't we test her." Golitzen grabber De Carlo and raced her to the wardrobe department and that was it. Golitzen would also receive an associate production credit for the film.[7]


Filming took 64 days at a budget of almost $1.2 million.[2]


On its release the film received amongst the worst critical reception of any of Wanger's films.[8]

Nonetheless, the film made a profit of $149,387 and launched Yvonne de Carlo as a star.[1]

See also


  1. Bernstein, Matthew (2000). Walter Wagner: Hollywood Independent. University of Minnesota Press. p. 442. ISBN 978-0-8166-3548-1. Retrieved 2014-09-02.
  2. THE HOLLYWOOD DIGEST: DANCING WITH 'SALOME' By FRED STANLEY HOLLYWOOD.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 17 Dec 1944: X3.
  3. Guild Player Deemed Fit Valentino Double: David Bruce Wins Acting Opportunity in Wanger's Film Drama, 'Salome' Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 19 Sep 1944: A8.
  4. HOLLYWOOD MEMORANDA: NOTED IN HOLLYWOOD By FEED STANLEY HOLLYWOOD.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 24 Sep 1944: X1.
  5. From PINUP to STAR! Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 12 Nov 1944: D5.
  6. THE UNVEILING OF YVONNE (SALOME) DE CARLO: Herewith Some Early Film Entries in the Easter Week Sweepstakes By THOMAS M. PRYOR. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 25 Mar 1945: X3.
  7. "An Oral History with Alexander Golitzen" by Barbara Hall, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Beverly Hills, California 1992. (Page 71-73)
  8. Bernstein 2000, p. 190.
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