A masterpiece of dance on film: Jack Cole’s “Happy Ending”

Dance · Film
The dance sequence below, choreographed by the great Jack Cole (he dances in it as well) closes Twentieth Century Fox’s “On the Riviera” (1951). Every element of  “Happy Ending” rings true. Not a single step is wrong or jarring; on the contrary, all is balanced and golden and smart and right. It’s ure evidence of ...

Wherefore art thou, o Hollywood choreographer? 2

Dance · Film
[mouse over images for captions] Say you are a film producer, and you have a project that gets a green-light. There’s a dance sequence in the script and you need to hire a choreographer. Using the prime professional database of the film and television industry, IMDB Pro, you will be hard pressed to find one. ...

Jack Cole rocks Rita Hayworth’s world in “Tonight and Every Night” (1945) 1

Dance · Film
The ditty she sings is inane (remember, it was the War!) and the costume is not her greatest. But Rita Hayworth does her thing prettily enough. Life changes when a monster-dancer joins her on stage — Jack Cole. Choreographers: Pay attention @ 1:43.  That is how to make an entrance — sliding in on your ...

Marie Bryant put a bun in Betty Grable’s oven 5

Dance · Film
The silken jazz dancer, Marie Bryant (1919-1978), seen here jiving with the great Harold Nicholas, was, for a time, rehearsal assistant to Jack Cole. That’s interesting. Cole’s performance group was all white. It wouldn’t be otherwise. But he clearly relied on Bryant for special tasks. Asked what she did for Jack Cole, Bryant replied,  “I ...

John Singer Sargent dresses Rita Hayworth for “Put the Blame on Mame” 2

Dance · Fashion · Film
“The designer Jean Louis, supposedly inspired by John Singer Sargent‘s famous portrait of the décolleté Madame X, created for Miss Hayworth a fetishistic black satin strapless gown, with elbow-length gloves, and the dance director Jack Cole devised the strip-tease routine in which she flung those gloves to her audience. The director, Vidor, expected the filming ...

Jack Cole invites you to a ball 4

Dance · Film
From MGM’s “The Merry Widow” (1952) Jack Cole’s beautifully calibrated waltz sequence pours forth. Minutes and minutes of on-screen dancing. Audiences apparently used to like this; I guess they don’t anymore.  Enjoy! Cole’s gigs at MGM were fewer then at Columbia or Fox (at MGM: Kismet twice: 1944, 1955, Les Girls 1957, Designing Woman 1957). ...

Preparing our Letters of Transit for TCM Classic Cruise 1

Film
The moment arrives soon for the first-ever … er, the first annual Turner Classic Movies TCM Classic Cruise. We fly to Miami on Wednesday and set sail this Thursday for a fun long weekend of floating film geekdom!  Destinations: Key West and Cozumel. Getting our letters of transit in order is a huge challenge — ...

Stitching Marilyn Monroe together . . .

Dance · Film
From “Let’s Make Love” (1960), a somewhat entertaining movie, if a bit of a mess. Bing Crosby and Gene Kelly put in good cameos, and Yves Montand, who is wonderful, escapes the Monroe challenge unscathed. In the photo below, tucked behind La Marilyn, the ubiquitous Jack Cole, on alert. Director George Cukor used the choreographer ...

Jack Cole danced in Pittsburgh 1

Dance · Music · Theater
Rummaging around the Internet, I found this priceless image of a program dating from the Nixon Theatre in my home town of Pittsburgh. [click image for detail] The Nixon Theatre was the top game in town — the place where circa 1971 I saw naked hippies writhe on stage in “Hair.” Not surprisingly, the hard-working ...

Headlining at the Rainbow Room: Jack Cole and his Dancers

Dance
Cafe Life in New York Jack Cole and His Dancers Featured in the Rainbow Room’s New Show (by)  Malcolm Johnson The New York Sun, Saturday, May 18, 1942: The Rainbow Room’s new show, introduced this week, is a gay diversion highlighted by the colorful performance of Jack Cole and his Dancers. In fact there is ...