Errol Flynn could dance, insists Julie Newmar

Dance · Film
Julie on set in gold head-to-toe makeup applied by makeup man Antole Robbins, Flynn observing at rear c. 1952 Beyond his many physical gifts that made him the most derring-do of screen actors to famously do his own stuntwork, the long-legged Aussie-born movie star, Erroll Flynn (1909-1959) could also dance. Who knew? It was a ...

Hollywood 1952: Jack Cole’s ethnic dance includes voodoo & waltz

Dance · Film
In the summer and fall of 1951, the dance maker Jack Cole undertook two major new choreographies, one each at the two leading film studios of the era. He staged and danced the lead role in a voodoo ceremonial-rite for Lydia Bailey, at Twentieth Century Fox, and choreographed a sumptuous ‘grand valse’ for The Merry Widow ...

More on Alton’s ‘Choreography’ from WHITE CHRISTMAS (1954) 2

Dance · Film
Above, an interesting shot of Vera-Ellen‘s “cute” entry into the Danny Kaye-starring “Choreography” number from WHITE CHRISTMAS (1954). You don’t see the dancer’s full descent in the final film. You just see her legs. Nor in the black-and-white photo is it possible to imagine the fuchsia color Vera-Ellen is wearing — a color made possible ...

‘Instead of dance, it’s choreography,’ gripes choreographer Robert Alton 1

Dance · Film
danny kaye, ‘choreography’ number from white christmas (1954) Danny Kaye, in the screenshot above, performs a send-up of Jack Cole‘s Hindu-Jazz in Robert Alton‘s “Choreography” number in WHITE CHRISTMAS (1954). The number is primarily a spoof on Martha Graham, and I imagine Kaye inserting this little fillip just for fun. Kaye worked extensively with Jack ...

Martha Graham, Rita Hayworth share bill in 1923 2

Dance · Theater
Astonishing discovery by artsmeme‘s Hollywood dance detective … [More Hollywood dance detective stories here!] Every student of dance history knows that Martha Graham danced in the Greenwich Village Follies of 1923, produced by John Murray Anderson, first in Sheridan Square in the Village and then on Broadway. Correct? Yes, correct. Graham, above, appeared in the ...

Toni Basil ‘does the Pony, does the James Brown’ on CBS

Dance · Film
We loved seeing Toni Basil, 76, doing the pony and the James Brown on CBS Sunday morning on Oscar Day 2020.

Merle Oberon’s terpsichorean trepidation 4

Dance · Film
For those who recently watched THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL (1934) on Turner Classic Movies, a special Jack Cole connection has come to mind from 86 years ago. (Making Jack Cole connections is the name of our game.) Our story involves the film’s glamorous stars, Leslie Howard and Merle Oberon. The duo, co-stars of “Pimpernel” (I just ...

Fred & Ginger (& Mark) do ‘The Continental’ 1

Dance · Film
mark sandrich, fred astaire do the continental, but not cheek to cheekphoto: MARC WANAMAKER/BISON ARCHIVES The wonderful shot of director Mark Sandrich and Fred Astaire palling around at RKO Studios comes courtesy of artsmeme friend Marc Wanamaker. Thank you, Marc! The director and dancer are collaborating on a crazy-long, Art Deco-drenched, epic dance sequence for ...

Clippings tour: ‘Dirty Dancing,’ original version 1

Dance · Film
42nd Street (1933) choreography by Busby Berkeley This month’s edition of “Dirty Dancing: The Original” dates to the 1930s. If you think the McCarthy era saw the birth of the Hollywood black list you got that wrong. A work ‘lock-out’ took place during the Depression when chorus girls did not (ahem) ‘put out’ — and ...

Gwen Verdon to critic: Don’t overlook my choreographer

Dance
Gwen Verdon, a woman with values, in a handwritten note from September 1958, mildly protests to Los Angeles Times film critic John L. Scott about a crazy oversight in his review of the film Damn Yankees. [Pause the slide show for easier reading.] Scott was sufficiently impressed by Verdon’s message that he saved the letter ...