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Dangerous Curves (1929)

A young bareback rider in a circus is in love with a trapeze artist, but he has two problems: he drinks too much and he's fallen under the spell of a "vamp" who's nothing but trouble for him.


Lothar Mendes


Lester Cohen (story), Donald Davis (screenplay) | 3 more credits »


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Complete credited cast:
Clara Bow ... Pat Delaney
Richard Arlen ... Larry Lee
Kay Francis ... Zara Flynn
David Newell ... Tony Barretti
Anders Randolf ... Colonel P.P. Brack
May Boley May Boley ... Ma Spinelli
T. Roy Barnes ... Po Spinelli
Joyce Compton ... Jennie Silver
Charles D. Brown Charles D. Brown ... Spider
Stuart Erwin ... Rotarian
Jack Luden ... Rotarian
Oscar Smith Oscar Smith ... Black Train Porter


A young bareback rider in a circus is in love with a trapeze artist, but he has two problems: he drinks too much and he's fallen under the spell of a "vamp" who's nothing but trouble for him.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

circus | See All (1) »


see- CLARA BOW'S "DANGEROUS CURVES" and HEAR her talk! (Print Ad- St. Lawrence Plaindealer, ((Canton, NY)) 15 October 1929)









Release Date:

13 July 1929 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Curvas Perigosas See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (MovieTone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


One of the earliest of over 700 Paramount productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by MCA ever since. See more »


diner counter clerk: What'll you have?
Larry Lee: Nothing for me.
Pat Delaney: Two fried eggs turned over on toast, some wheat cakes, some donuts, and a big pot of coffee with milk.
diner counter clerk: [to the kitchen] Adam and Eve on a raft, face down; chest protectors, sinkers - a pair.
kitchen hand: Comin' up!
Pat Delaney: And if I think of anything else, I'll sing out.
See more »


Referenced in 78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene (2017) See more »

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User Reviews

Not a high point for Clara
6 January 2015 | by ofumalowSee all my reviews

I haven't seen all of Clara Bow's talkies, but this is easily the worst I've seen. Of course some of the clumsiness is simply because it's a very early talkie—but the primary problems are with the script and acting, not with the direction or technology. The dialogue is moronic, to the point where you wonder if the characters are really intended to be moronic—or did they think audiences were so simple they required simpleminded figures on screen to relate to? OK, the characters are circus people, but Clara in particular talks like what we might today call "white trash."

That makes her dully sincere character irritating—no wonder Richard Arlen's hero doesn't reciprocate her obvious romantic interest until a convenient last-minute turnabout—and helps rob her of the spark Bow usually had. Admittedly, she probably wasn't yet fully comfortable with sound acting, and her voice was always a blunt instrument. But really, you'd have no idea why she was popular then or a cult figure now if you only saw her here. She's unappealing, sometimes downright amateurish.

The other performers are at least professional, including Francis as Clara's elegant rival (so elegant it's ridiculous—it's as if she were employed by some separate, old-money Upper West Side circus while Clara works for one in the Bronx). David Newell, whose acting career strangely dried up soon afterward (though he stayed in the industry, mostly doing makeup), cuts a handsome figure as the fourth side of the conflicted love quartet.

Anyway, this is watchable as a curio. But it's exactly the kind of movie that makes people who think they "don't like old movies" believe that films made this long ago aren't just antiquated, but kind of remedial in other ways, too. Maybe Paramount just didn't have enough competent screenwriters to go around at this early point in the talkie revolution. Whatever the reason, "Dangerous Curves" (a title that, by the way, makes no sense whatsoever, since Bow plays one of her least sexualized roles and the circus performers are tightrope walkers) is pretty simpleminded even for a programmer of the era—and this in a year when Clara Bow was the #1 attraction in the nation, so by any rights her vehicles should have been top-shelf. She complained they gave her just any old script, and this is a movie that proves her right.

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