This week we are celebrating dance movies on the Kaleidescape Store by holding a Collector’s Promotion on the “Let’s Dance!” collection. Here’s a look at three favorites.
It would be impossible to have a dance collection and not talk about Busby Berkeley. In fact, five of his works made it into this collection! Berkeley is one of the most influential choreographers both in the theater and film worlds. Known for his opulence and kaleidoscopic use of geometric patterns, he made the camera as much a part of the dance as any of the showgirls.
When a producer and several out-of-work showgirls meet a composer ready to finance a new show, they think it must be too good to be true. It turns out the mystery man is actually the son of a millionaire, forbidden by his estate to associate with the “gold diggers” of the theater world.
Dubbed “the show of a thousand wonders,” Busby’s art deco-like choreography and opulent props wowed audiences. The film was even selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
This film is the first installment in “The Red Curtain Trilogy,” director Baz Luhrmann’s trilogy of theater-motif films. (The follow-ups, which are much more widely known in the US, were Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge!) It was a huge success when released in Australia and it swept the field at the 1992 AFI awards, gaining 13 nominations and winning in 8 major categories. It also earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Picture, Musical or Comedy.
A male dancer wants to win the Pan-Pacific Grand Prix Dancing Championship, but his reputation for not being “strictly ballroom” prevents him from keeping a dance partner for very long. When a frumpy dance student steps up to the challenge, he is skeptical until she challenges him to integrate paso doble steps into his already unconventional routine.
Luhrmann embraces the competitive dance world with complete respect while mocking it at the same time. The cheerful comedic air of this romantic film is refreshing and excellently directed. Earlier this year Baz Luhrmann and costume designer wife Catherine Martin took to the streets of Sydney before the launch of Strictly Ballroom: The Musical with over 1,200 dancers, claiming a world record for the number of couples dancing the Samba in one place.
If you are a TRUE lover of theater and dance, the That’s Entertainment trilogy is a must-have. Each volume features excerpts from MGM’s trove of musicals with icons like Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, Bing Crosby, Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Carmen Miranda, Ricardo Montalban, Ginger Rogers and dozens more.
“Over the years, under the leadership of Louis B. Mayer and others, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer has produced a series of musical films whose success and artistic merit remain unsurpassed in motion picture history. There were literally thousands of people …. artists, craftsmen and technicians …. who poured their talents into the creation of the great MGM musicals. This film is dedicated to them.” – Opening titles of That’s Entertainment!
Copyright © 1933 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. © 2013 Miramax, LLC.