BOLERO (1934)
Black and White, 85 min
Character: Helen Hathaway
Director: Wesley Ruggles
Cast: George Raft, Sally Rand, Frances Drake, William Frawley, Gertrude Michael, Ray Milland, Gloria Shea
Studio: Paramount Pictures

In 1910, coal miner Raoul De Baere dreams of being a professional dancer and uses his brother Mike's financial support in making his dreams a reality. His first performance is at a beer garden in New Jersey, but he soon moves on to Paris and a more elegant club, where Mike acts as his manager. Raoul is constantly frustrated by the amorous advances of his dance partner, Leona, because he does not believe in mixing business with pleasure. He fires her after he auditions Helen Hathaway, who signs with him to perform at the Essex Club in London. Raoul makes Helen promise that she will refuse him if he ever falls in love with her. They are a tremendous success as a dance team, and are not romantically involved. Raoul's ambitions continue to skyrocket and he plans to open his own nightclub. While vacationing in Belgium, Raoul and Helen fall in love despite their promise to each other. On the opening night of his club in Paris, Raoul presents his dance "Bolero," but the club is buzzing with talk of war and their performance is ignored. Seeking success no matter the cost, Raoul works the crowd into rousing support of the war effort by promising to enlist. When Helen realizes Raoul's enlistment is a publicity stunt, she is disillusioned and leaves him. During the war, she marries Lord Coray, while Mike and Raoul fight in the trenches. Raoul sustains an injury to his heart, and is told by a doctor that he must not dance again. After the war, however, Raoul reopens his club. Coray and Helen attend the opening night, and when Raoul's partner stands him up, Helen performs with him. Elated by their success, Raoul intends to continue the performance, but suddenly dies of heart failure.


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