Splendid early film choreography by Jack Cole for ‘Kismet’ (MGM, 1944) 2

Dance · Film

This YouTube bundling of two lengthy harem numbers choreographed by Jack Cole for KISMET (MGM, 1944) displays the young choreographer’s mature grasp of his craft in staging, and in creating beautifull and unusual framing of dance for the eye of the camera.

The first sequence has rare footage of The Kraft Sisters, in particular Beatrice Kraft, at left, below, a superlative practitioner of Indian dance trained by La Meri whose name is wrongly unknown. Second number, for Dietrich, starts at 02:25.

2 thoughts on “Splendid early film choreography by Jack Cole for ‘Kismet’ (MGM, 1944)

  1. debra levine Dec 20,2023 12:31 pm

    How fantastic. Yes, this was Jack Cole’s first dance/film effort, at MGM. He had a prior, failed foray, at Fox in 1941, but his sensual choreography (for himself) was censored. These two numbers (glommed together in this video) were a big, big deal for him. They put him on track for later “Kismet” work — on Broadway in 1953 and the much-better-known MGM film of 1955. MGM wasn’t terribly interested in the artful choreography Jack Cole offered. The studio was not a good fit for him. I’m so impressed by the tempo. Slow!

  2. Martha Ullman West Dec 20,2023 11:20 am

    Thanks for posting this. And for the acknowledgment of La Meri. I remember seeing this movie in a theater in Provincetown, Massachusetts, when I was a child, a couple of years after it was released and loving the dancing.

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