Connoisseur’s choice: Saturday January 23 @ MoMA

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1:00 pm. In
troduced by Barrie Chase, Les Girls. 1957. USA. Directed by George Cukor. Screenplay by John Patrick. Music by Cole Porter. Dances by Jack Cole, Gene Kelly. With Kelly, Mitzi Gaynor, Kay Kendall, Taina Elg. 114 min.

Backed by an MGM budget, Cole contributes dances of Cukor-esque sophistication. The multifarious “Les Girls” number accommodates Kelly’s shtick in a straw hat, white girls (among them Barrie Chase) playing African Watusis, and the classy non-dancer Kay Kendall in a Jack Cole striptease. Cole’s genius is on view in “Ladies in Waiting,” a number that unites Cole Porter lyrics, Orry-Kelly costumes, and Robert Surtees cinematography to mirror the movie’s Rashomon structure. Kelly inserted the Brando spoof number during postproduction despite Cole’s single-card choreography credit.

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4:00 pm. All That Jack

In a lecture illustrated with photos and film clips, dance critic Debra Levine traces the course of Jack Cole’s career, from Denishawn to American nightclubs to Hollywood, and the evolution of the style that came to be known as “modern jazz dance.”

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7:00 pm.
The I Don’t Care Girl. 1953. USA. Directed by Lloyd Bacon. Screenplay by Walter Bullock. Dances by Seymour Felix, Jack Cole. With Mitzi Gaynor, David Wayne, Oscar Levant, Bob Graham, Gwen Verdon, George Jessel. 78 min.

After a disastrous preview, Fox chief Darryl Zanuck gave Cole carte blanche to create three new numbers—”I Don’t Care,” “The Johnson Rag,” and “Beale Street Blues”—for this biopic about the scandalous vaudeville star Eva Tanguay, and the results represent some of the greatest choreography ever filmed in Hollywood, ably fronted by the vivacious Mitzi Gaynor.

All That Jack (Cole) | The Museum of Modern Art | Jan 20 – Feb 4, 2016

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