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Dance Hall (1950)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Daytime cleaners work on the Palais dance floor. A band tunes up, fading into the main musical theme.

Carole, Georgie, Eve and Mary are factory workers. At home, Carole shares a room with her sister and talks of the Palais. Georgie waltzes round her living room and hopes to perform in a competition with her young dance partner Peter.

Evenings are spent at Chiswick Palais, where Eve dances with her boyfriend Phil. The Palais lothario, fast-talking American Alec, grabs Eve to dance with him. Phil doesn't like the Palais (or Alec); he wants to leave at nine, but Eve wants to stay on.

The following day, Phil visits the Palais to see Eve having dance lessons with Alec. Phil is an engineer whose works involves travelling, and Eve and Alec continue to enjoy regular practice while Phil is away. Eve is just another conquest for Alec, but she politely declines his attempt at seduction. Returning home, she finds that has missed a visit from Phil.

Phil has time to take Mary on his motorcycle to Box Hill, and they are clearly attracted to one another.

During the first heats of the dance championship, a jealous Phil watches Eve and Alec from the balcony. In the bar, Phil smashes his glass.

Phil meets Eve after her factory shift, and over coffee she tells him she is finished with Alec. Eve and Phil marry, watched by Mary and Mrs Wilson. For a time, Eve stays away from the Palais, but is persuaded by the girls to go out more. Secretly, Eve longs for the glamour and escape offered by the Palais. Alec chats up the newly married Eve during a romantic ballad. Phil phones from an airfield to say he won't be able to return home that evening. After Phil later returns to an empty flat, he and Eve row.

At the Palais, Carole, in search of a physical relationship, is grabbed by Mike (a strong, silent type). Georgie and Peter are selected for the finals of the dance competition. Georgie visits the manager's office to try on a glamorous dress (loaned by the dance committee) for the competition. She returns home to find a plainer dance dress that her parents have bought for her with their hard-earned cash.

Alec offers Eve some off-ration kippers which she cooks for Phil's tea. At the Palais bar, Phil overhears Alec joking about the kippers to another girlfriend, and attempts to start a fight, for which he is evicted from the Palais.

Georgie leaves home wearing her parent's gift, but changes into the 'heavenly' Palais dress for the competition. Unknown to Georgie, however, her parents sneak in at the back of crowd to watch. Mrs Wilson sees that her gift was not considered good enough. Her sad gesture says more than words ever could. Georgie and Peter don't win the trophy, but Georgie spots Mr and Mrs Wilson leaving, and is greatly upset with feelings of guilt. Georgie and Peter become engaged.

Phil and Eve row again, and he asks for a divorce.

New Years Eve at the Palais. Mary comforts Eve, and then talks to Phil in an attempt to reconcile him with Eve. Phil declares his attraction for Mary, and she tells him that she has these feelings for him as well. She also tells him that he has behaved foolishly, and that he should make it up with his wife, who really loves him.

After Alec tells Eve he wants to marry her, she climbs to Palais roof during the festivities, and a speeding train passes below. Meanwhile, Phil and Alec fight in the car park, and Alec denies that Eve was ever unfaithful with him. A desperate Eve, locked outside on the roof, tries to climb in through a window, falls after standing on box, and is drenched by a loose water pipe. As the midnight bells ring, Phil opens the door from inside, and reconciled, he and Eve embrace as the revels continue on the dance floor.