Party Girl (1958)

Cyd Charisse plays the titular character, a chorus line dancer named Vicki Gaye working at mob-owned nightclub the Golden Rooster. Set in the 30s, this film noir simultaneously celebrates the Gangster genre and ignores the Depression almost entirely, grafting a very 50s style onto a traditional, strait-laced story arc of redemption. The choreography for Charisse’s dance numbers, for example, is undeniably modernist– resembling something along the lines of Merce Cunningham. While these performances are certainly spectacle they lack the wholesome kicks-and-dimples aesthetic of The Gold Diggers of 1933 and instead come across as burlesque-flavored dance art. Shooting in dazzling Technicolor, director Nicholas Ray bathes Vicki in hot pinks and reds, though offstage her palate dims a bit to coral. Lee J. Cobb is loutish, borderline psycho Rico Angelo– whose name is a nod to that other, iconic Rico of Little Caesar fame. And if Robert Taylor’s rigid performance as mob lawyer Thomas Farrell gets a little tiresome there’s an abundance of other attractions here.