Jack Cole’s magic for Mitzi Gaynor on view in rare screening of “The I Don’t Care Girl” by UCLA Film & Television Archive August 4. Gaynor to appear in-person. 7

I am very pleased to announce my participation in a truly wonderful celebration of dance on film at the Billy Wilder Theater In Westwood on Saturday August 4, 2012. It’s sponsored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive.

On that night, as a community, we will view the rare and out-of-circulation Twentieth Century Fox movie musical “The I Don’t Care Girl” (1953) starring the then 20-year-old starlet Mitzi Gaynor. It’s a miracle that UCLA has a print of this Fox bio-pic about the vaudeville hottie, Eva Tanguay.

Mitzi will be at the Hammer for post-screening discussion. Also participating will be Larry Billman, Founder of the Academy of Dance on Film, and myself. Shannon Kelley, Director of Public Programs for the Archive will moderate the evening.

Writes Shannon:

Among the unsung heroes of Hollywood history, choreographers are often overlooked by aficionados of both dance and film. Jack Cole, an innovator of jazz dancing (and one-time dance instructor at UCLA), presents a fascinating case. Neglected in most discussions of dance on film, Cole introduced radically modern ideas and forms to a sphere often treated as merely decorative, choreographing for both bodies and cameras. He infused the dance profiles of such screen personalities as Betty Grable, Mitzi Gaynor and Marilyn Monroe with unprecedented high style and graphic beauty. Tonight’s screening and discussion represent an appreciation of Cole’s contributions to dance on film, and a consideration of the screen choreographer’s craft.

“The I Don’t Care Girl” is a cult classic not for the film itself but for three superlative dance sequences embedded within it: “I Don’t Care,” “Beale Street” and “The Johnson Rag.” The evening also matters because Jack Cole was a UCLA dance instructor at the time of his death in 1974. Please join us for this tremendous, way-fun event.

The UCLA event will precede my TCM guest-host appearance, “Choreography by Jack Cole,” a four-film Jack Cole homage that will air on Turner Classic Movies on September 10, 2012. Let’s call it a great warm-up!

“The I Don’t Care Girl” screening & Jack Cole discussion | UCLA Film & Television Archive | Saturday August 4 | tickets


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7 thoughts on “Jack Cole’s magic for Mitzi Gaynor on view in rare screening of “The I Don’t Care Girl” by UCLA Film & Television Archive August 4. Gaynor to appear in-person.

  1. Philip Mershon Aug 4,2012 9:14 am

    Going tonight. Hope we get to meet at long last!

  2. Leah Neumaier Aug 1,2012 9:41 am

    Dear Mitzi:

    Glad to have the opportunity to reach out to you to share that I have been told many times through out my life that I resemble you. Ironically, I did play the part of Nelli in South Pacific as a teen. Now 57 years old with short hair I am hearing this comment more and more. I must admit that I am very proud to be compaired to such a fine actress and person.

    Your Fan,
    Leah Neumaier

  3. Mary Lorson Jul 17,2012 11:00 am

    As the author of “FreakBaby and the Kill Thought,” which I hope will be the next bio-pic of Eva Tanguay, I was astounded that “The I Don’t Care Girl” was so far from factual in its telling of Tanguay’s life story. But I agree that Cole created a stunning visual representation of Tanguay’s uniqueness through dance. Tanguay’s signature dance style was largely un-documented on film, though writers who witnessed her movements fell over themselves to describe its unique qualities; we can only imagine what it was that made Eva Tanguay’s dancing so shocking and stimulating to audiences, but Jack Cole’s renderings are wonderfully exciting.

  4. Mary Birdsong Jul 17,2012 7:48 am

    I am definitely going to this. And whoever is organizing this event may want to consider two young whippersnappers as smart, sexy additions to the evening- one literary, and one musical. 
    1) Andy Erdman, author of the soon to be released book “Queen Of Vaudeville: the Story of Eva Tanguay” (http://queenofvaudeville.com) about the historical figure on which Ms. Gaynor’s role in “The I Don’t Care Girl” is based. and… 
    2) Mary Lorson (singer/songwriter & former lead singer of the rock band Madder Rose), who has written a whole MUSICAL about Eva Tanguay. I recently caught her on her so tour in LA and she performed  the signature song from the movie “The I Don’t
    Care Girl” as part of her set at the Hotel Cafe in Hollywood. It was unbelievably good. You can hear a version of it here: http://marylorson.com/sections/3_projects

  5. gloria Jul 5,2012 9:49 am

    the dance numbers in the i don’t care girl, were among the best ever made, the film tho was hodge pot and severely cut by daryl zanuck, as he wanted a quick release,if only they would the find the full uncut version, the film would make much better sense. and to see the other great dance routines that were cut, and executed by the most talented lady in hollywood,altho the great Mitzi was wasted in hollywood, and should have been in so much more in hollywood, she went on to be the no.1 box office star in Las Vegas and on television, and has become an icon

  6. Lew Thomas Jun 20,2012 1:05 am

    This is a fabulous movie to show how Jack combined modern dance with jazz some from social dance, some from Broadway show bus-y-ness, to suit the mood and message of his soloist – a singing dancer, backed by male and female support groups. Cole was adept at using SPACE captured by the camera…he was able to push perspective further than any choreographer of his day, without 3-D glasses.

    Look forward to this event….

    Lew Thomas

    P.S. Jack Cole was a “Guest Lecturer” in UCLA’s Dance Department, at that time, the only autonomous D.D. in a College of Fine Arts in the U.S. He made an enormous impression on the grad students in the Dance Center program supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. He was more than an “Instructor,” he was a colleague of distinction.

  7. Larry Billman Jun 17,2012 3:10 pm

    I first saw “The ‘I Don’t Care’ Girl” in a movie theater when I was kid. I was already a big fan of Mitzi Gaynor’s but the abstractness and total disregrard for period, character and plot in Cole’s numbers confused and challenged me. I only knew I liked those numbers better than the rest of the film. And I liked Mitzi more because of them. “I Don’t Care” may be the first music video and influenced so many dance-and-film-makers. I am greatly looking forward to the UCLA evening, especially to hear Miss Gaynor’s recollections.

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