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on 24 January 2013
In the entire canon of Ealing Studios, "Dance Hall" is unjustly overlooked. This is a great shame and hopefully this excellent new DVD release will go some way towards deservedly building its reputation. I imagine in it's day it was "just another film" and slipped by almost unnoticed given it's lack of big star names.

It's an uncomplicated tale of a group of female friends whose social life revolves around the local Palais de Danse, the story focuses on Eve, well played by Natasha Parry and her troubled relationships with the two men in her life - her true love, Donald Houston, who finds it hard to contain his jealousy of Bonar Colleano, her main dance partner.

All the protagonists are excellent, Diana Dors is at her most flighty and attractive, well supported by Jane Hylton and Petula Clark. The cast is full of familiar faces, if you blink though you'll miss Kay Kendall's five seconds appearance! Harry Fowler, uncredited, appears very briefly at the very end of the film.

The photography is very good, full of excellent camera angles, and in this pristine print it looks magnificent.It's taken a long wait for this film to appear on DVD, one of the few Ealing films not previously available, but it's been worth it. Like all this kind of film it's also now a fantastic piece of social history showing a way of life among working people that has now disappeared completely. It's very interesting to see (and hear) Ted Heath's and Geraldo's orchestras, and there is a very pretty ballad, "You're only dreaming", sung by Hy Hazell, which reflects the dreams and aspirations of the girls whose lives centre around the Palais. Local colour is excellent, as to be expected, there is a wonderful shot of Natasha Parry running through the dark streets as a trolleybus disappears into the night behind her!

I thoroughly enjoyed it and I recommend it without hesitation.
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on 13 February 2013
DANCE HALL is one of several rare and desirable British films yet to be seen at all in any format since initial screenings.

A very welcome release to DVD, particularly as the film elements have been treated so respectfully.

DANCE HALL's existence has been a curiosity for too long and based on the excellent Review above, will be a commendable addition for those wanting to revisit the era it depicts as well as the various interesting cast members.

Many thanks! (For the DVD release and the Review).

Eric GLASBY Australia
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This is good old fashioned social drama before John Osbourne exploded in the skies above Ealing. The story follows a number of young women working in the factories of West London in 1950 (so still national service and some rationing, but no war). Their relaxation is to visit the local Palais de Danse (Chiswick in this case) which has been reimagined to be rather grander than it perhaps was in those days before Jive took over (it has both Giraldo and Ted Heath's orchestras at work). As with all Ealing dramas most of the stars under contract had problems, at the time, with being credible as working class women, or girls as they are always termed in the period, (Diana Dors being an honorable exception) but one can look beyond that to the detail of their houses and workplaces. Bonar Colleano appears as a louche American rotter. The film is notable for considering the life of the women from their point-of-view.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 29 July 2015
Ealing’s 1950 film Dance Hall comes with high credentials indeed, being directed by Charles Crichton (the film being sandwiched between his Train Of Events and The Lavender Hill Mob) and co-written by 'other Ealing legend’ Alexander Mackendrick and, whilst Dance Hall does not quite live up to this billing, its tale of a quartet of post-WW2 factory-line women, aspiring in love and dance, has enough to raise it above the 'run-of-the-mill’. Crichton (and regular Ealing cinematographer Douglas Slocombe) do a great job evoking a nostalgic age – this was a time where 'youth’ yearned for Benny Goodman, dance-floor etiquette maintained 'gentlemanly manners’, kippers might turn a girl’s head and disdain was expressed as 'hooey’ (rather than 'LOL’). And, even though Dance Hall’s central tale of love, jealousy and thwarted ambition is the stuff of many soaps, Crichton’s film does make some pertinent points around marital domestication, transient relationships and parental loyalty and, by the end of the film, has you caring about its characters.

Of course, the other unusual thing about Dance Hall (particularly for its time) is that it is written from 'a woman’s perspective’ and the central quartet of actresses here acquit themselves well – Natasha Parry being particularly good as aspiring (and frequently distraught) dancer, Eve, in love with Donald Houston’s 'dull’ RAF man, Phil, but tempted by Bonar Colleano’s 'flash Yank’, Alec; a young Petula Clark’s Georgie at odds with her parents; Diana Dors typically brassy (and comedic) as the glamorous Carole and Jane Hylton also impressive as the more mature, but emotionally suppressed, 'agony aunt’, Mary. Elsewhere, there is another reliable turn from Ealing stalwart Sydney Tafler, not his typical 'spiv’ here, but rather the more respectable dance hall impresario, Jim Fairfax.

Crichton builds audience engagement nicely throughout, culminating in a brilliant juxtaposition of ebullient jazz band and dancer montages against the more sombre fortunes of Eve and Georgie. The ultimately addictive 'lure of the dance’ is also nicely conveyed in the sequence of Eve (having locked herself out) trying to break into the dance hall. For me, not Ealing at its peak, but a film worth catching nevertheless.
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on 2 March 2013
It is an excellent view of life in the early fifties. Very atmospheric. Great to see the young Petula Clark and Diana Dors acting together
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on 9 July 2013
Wow! If you are a fan of Petula you will love this for the freshness. Innocence, professionalism but yet just plain fun and exuberance she demonstrates.

There are great foreshadowing moments; 'just one look', inflections, smiles and physical 'nervous-erratic little movements' we've come to love and that are 'Petula'!
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on 14 February 2014
I had not seen this film before. After watching it, I think its fair to say that Bonar Colleano is the real star of the film. Diana Dors is in it ,looking young and innocent also Petula Clark. Its quite a picture of the social times in London.
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on 15 April 2014
Tried to get this for years as viewed it when a teenager. I enjoyed it then as stayed in my memory. I was not disappointed this time. With today's big budget and CGI films of today it is refreshing to see a film such as this.
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on 30 April 2013
Well worth having in your collection as a documentary of the attitudes between the sexes in 1950's England. Captures the subtle changes taking place as the big band era is about to lose out to rock and roll.
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on 9 September 2014
This is an alright film starring a rather enthusiastic Donald Houston. It is a drama set around a dance hall as the title suggests and really one cannot say more than that.
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