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Lucille Ball Shined In A ’40s Cult Classic Before ‘I Love Lucy’

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Lucille Ball started her career in Hollywood as a model in 1929 before gaining prominence as a Broadway actress with the stage name Dianne. During her six-decade career, the actress earned several awards and was nominated for 13 Primetime Emmy Awards, winning five times.

Though many of her fans recognized her the most for her role of Lucy Ricardo in I Love Lucy, the talented actress made a mark during her appearance in the ’40s cult classic Dance, Girl, Dance. In the movie, Lucille played Bubbles/Tiger Lily, a young, cynical blonde chorine.

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More on ‘Dance, Girl, Dance’

DANCE, GIRL, DANCE, Lucille Ball, 1940

The ’40s classic tells the story of two promising dancers, Maureen O’Hara’s character, Judy; and Lucille’s Bubbles, who are in a bitter feud. Judy is talented but always anxious and has low confidence, while Bubbles, on the other hand, has high self-esteem and is street-smart. Judy ventured into ballet while Bubbles delved into the world of burlesque performance.

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RELATED: The Remarkable Life Of Lucille Ball: Advocate, Rebel, Mother, Hero

The duo crossed paths, and their destinies seem intertwined as Bubbles always outsmarts Judy and steals her career opportunities and men in her life. She dominates Judy and turns her into a puppet by offering her a job as her stooge in her burlesque show.

DANCE, GIRL, DANCE, Lucille Ball, 1940

Lucy took center stage in the movie

Dance, Girl, Dance underscores the feminine power tussle — how women influence each other and how their quest to achieve their dreams can either make or break their relationships. This is evident in how Lucille’s Bubbles, who is meant to be the antagonist, takes the spotlight off Judy in the film.

DANCE, GIRL, DANCE, from left: Lucille Ball, Maureen O’Hara, Mary Carlisle, 1940

Bubbles is exploitative and doesn’t care what happens to Judy, so long as she can achieve her dream. However, Lucille subtly plays the character, and her brilliant role delivery makes Bubbles look like she is competitive and is only out to fulfill her dreams.

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