Showing posts tagged dance

Balanchine Goddess:  TAMARA GEVA in the original Broadway production of On Your Toes (Ray Bolger down left).

Dancer HARRIET HOCTOR, 1930s.

Dancer HARRIET HOCTOR, 1930s.

Anna Pavlova, the epitome of beautiful line and balance, in “The Dragonfly”

Anna Pavlova, the epitome of beautiful line and balance, in “The Dragonfly”

TAMARA TOUMANOVA dancing on the beach (Australia, 1939-40).

Diva and Prima:  actress GRETA GARBO and ballerina MAYA PLISETSKAYA

Broadway Baby Says Goodnight

Grand Old Movies is back, with a new post. We’re taking a hard, cold look at Busby Berkeley’s hardest, coldest, and greatest of his musical routines, “The Lullaby of Broadway,” from Gold Diggers of 1935. It’s a self-contained narrative about a party girl who lives for the Manhattan night life, highlighted by a demonic tap-dance routine that takes place in a Grand-Central-Station-sized nightclub. Nothing ever like it has been seen in movies before or since. Please click here to read our post. And bring along the martinis and tap shoes.

Dancer TILLY LOSCH, early 1930s.

The James Cagney Energy Boost

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Although he became famous in films as a tough guy, James Cagney liked to think of himself as a song-and-dance man, and that’s the tack we take in our newest Grand Old Movies post on his 1933 musical, Footlight Parade. Cagney sings and dances in this film, but even between the music numbers he keeps the momentum going. In one scene he takes a phone call and, although he’s sitting down, he keeps stomping one foot in rhythm to the music; he literally can’t stop moving. His body is an instrument that won’t shut down. Whatever is going on in him, as actor and artist, is grounded in this instrument and finds kinetic expression there. It’s what make Cagney so memorably vivid onscreen. He brought a dancer’s energy to all aspects of his performing, even to his gangster characters, but it particularly comes to the fore in his musical roles. Especially in a pre-Code, Busby-Berkeley-choreographed musical like Footlight Parade, which combines a gritty, Depression-toughened vitality with a tongue-in-cheek naughtiness that even today leaves audiences giddy with delight. They really don’t make ‘em like this anymore.

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Our post is part of the Cagney Blogathon, being hosted by The Movie Projector Blog from April 8-12, 2013. Please click here to read our post and for links to the blogathon page with a list of participating bloggers writing on Cagney’s films.

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Borrah Minevitch Will Play It All For You

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Who is Borrah Minevitch and why should you care? He was (to get to the facts) an actor, mime, and harmonica player, founder of the Harmonica Rascals. The Rascals, a group of all-harmonica-playing musicians, appeared in several films of the 1930s and 1940s. They were more than players; they were also clowns, who performed a brand of roughhouse comedy while swinging out sweet music on their mouth organs. They were terrific. And we can’t get enough of them. Visit our new Grand Old Movies post about them and you may be hooked, too. Please click here to read. 

Fabulous Cyd Charisse