We Were Dancing (film)

We Were Dancing is a 1942 MGM romantic comedy film directed by Robert Z. Leonard, written by Claudine West, Hans Rameau and George Froeschel, and starring Norma Shearer and Melvyn Douglas.[2][3] It is based loosely on Noël Coward's 1935 play of the same name, together with ideas from Ways and Means, another play in Coward's Tonight at 8.30 play cycle, and Coward's Private Lives.

We Were Dancing
Directed byRobert Z. Leonard
Produced byRobert Z. Leonard
Orville O. Dull
Screenplay byClaudine West
Hans Rameau
George Froeschel
Based onWe Were Dancing
1935 play
by Noël Coward
StarringNorma Shearer
Melvyn Douglas
Music byNoël Coward
Bronislau Kaper
CinematographyRobert Planck
Edited byGeorge Boemler
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • April 30, 1942 (1942-04-30)
(New York)
Running time
95 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1,079,000[1]


Vicki Wilomirska (Norma Shearer), an impoverished Polish princess, falls madly in love while dancing with the charming but penniless Austrian baron Nicki Prax (Melvyn Douglas). She ends her engagement to wealthy lawyer Hubert Tyler (Lee Bowman). They marry secretly, but are exposed by one of Nicki's ex-girlfriends, decorator Linda Wayne (Gail Patrick). The two support themselves by being professional house guests in the homes of American nouveau riche, who are impressed by Old World aristocracy. Eventually Nicki decides to do the unthinkable and get a job. Linda pursues Nicki, and Vicki, brokenhearted, sues for divorce. Hubert represents Vicki in the case, and despite Nicki's tender declaration of his love, the teary judge grants the divorce.

When Nicki returns from South America, Linda asks him to see her. At her office, he learns that Vicki and Hubert are engaged. He persuades Linda to help him get a job with her competitor, who is decorating the new house that Hubert is building for his fiancee. He begins by behaving professionally, but eventually confesses that he loves only Vicki. She tells him that he is too late. At the fancy betrothal party for Hubert and Vicki, Nicki comes to say goodbye. They dance to the same waltz that had ignited their passion when they first met, and the magic returns. They elope once more.



According to MGM records the film made $581,000 in the US and Canada and $498,000 elsewhere, making the studio a loss of $409,000.[1]


  1. The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. Day, Barry. "We Were Dancing (1942)", Coward on Film: The Cinema of Noël Coward, Scarecrow Press (2005), pp. 36–37 ISBN 0810853582
  3. Landazuri, Margarita. We Were Dancing, TCM.com, accessed 16 September 2014
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