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 ...

Bravo, Angie Dickinson!

Film
When Howard Hawks’ 1959 action romp, Rio Bravo, was released, it wasn’t really taken seriously. But the film is now regarded as an American classic. John Wayne led the cast, but the director also cast veterans Walter Brennan and Ward Bond, singer Dean Martin, pop singer Ricky Nelson, and Angie Dickinson in a vivid, star-making turn. ...

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 ...

Hollywood New Year’s babies to convene @ The Barn

Film
Cora Sue Collins, with Freddie Bartholomew, Mickey Rooney and Jackie Cooper in the 1930s. A bunch of New Year’s babies will start our Super-Dooper Double-Double-Digit calendar year (hey! remember 1919?) at the Hollywood Heritage Museum with a very cool program, the latest “Evening at the Barn.” It’s Cora Sue Collins Hollywood Reunion Party! hosted by ...

Written woman-to-woman: Hedda to Hepburn

Film · Ideas & Opinion
Citing her “gaity,” “gallantry,” and, oddly enough, her “gentlemanly way of expressing” herself, this fan mail from columnist Hedda Hopper to actress Katharine Hepburn is part of a treasure trove, a just-published compendium of personal communiques from-and-to the film industry … Letters from Hollywood: Inside the Private World of Classic American Moviemaking. Basically, Hopper, consciously ...

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 ...

Torturing Rock Hudson

Film · Ideas & Opinion
Ed. note: Can a writer and her editors truly be so clueless? Or was this ‘hetero-normative’ article, excerpted below, part of the Hollywood cabal to cover up Hudson’s gayness? Whatever was the case, writer Jane Wilkie by-lined the following interview with Rock Hudson in ‘Modern Screen’ magazine, December 1954.  Excerpted here. BY JANE WILKIE ■ ...

Hardest hit on ‘White Christmas’ movie set? The dancers. 7

Dance · Film
The lyric may be “iconic,” but it’s also “ironic.” Robert Alton’s sumptuous dance duet, “The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing,” a classy, flowing number for Vera-Ellen and Danny Kaye, in White Christmas (1954) reveals the choreographer’s signature moves. Alton [Easter Parade, There’s No Business Like Show Business, White Christmas] could move bodies around a ...