Movie Monday – The Unfinished Dance

Since one of my undeniable pleasures on days off is watching movies, I think it may be best to ease into the work week with a dance movie recap.  And so, today I share with you Firebird’s 1st “Dance Movie Monday!”
To start things off, I want to share a dance movie that I very recently discovered called The Unfinished Dance.  Released in 1947 (two years after Meet Me In St. Louis) and starring Margaret O’Brien, Cyd Charisse, Karin Booth and Danny Thomas, this MGM film takes a backstage look into the backstabbing world of ballet… I cannot believe that I never heard of this movie till now!  This is like Black Swan before Black Swan, and far more disturbing, creepy, honest and entertaining (because for heaven’s sake it’s Margaret O’Brien!)   
In this film, O’Brien plays a slightly maniacal little girl named Meg who is completely obsessed with ballet.  “If I don’t dance I’ll die,” she exclaims dramatically (in that O’Brien voice) early on in the film.  She also has a strangely intense infatuation with the principal dancer of her school’s company, Ariane Bouchet, played by Cyd Charisse.  So when a guest prima ballerina, Mademoiselle Darina (Karin Booth) shows up to open the new season in the lead of Swan Lake (or course) Meg takes some pretty extreme action. (Without giving anything away, let me say this: She makes Natalie Portman look like an amateur when it comes to ballet crazy!) 
The Verdict:  I feel like this is one of those ridiculous dance films that every dancer should see simply because it’s such a melodramatic representation of a ballet school when you’re young (including girl-fights in the dressing room.)  But consider yourself warned – It’s definitely a dramatization.  
The dancing is also pretty atrocious, (from everyone)  but I suppose somewhat charming in its way… It’s also interesting in the way it shows how so many young girls were given pointe shoes at far too young an age when they are  lacking the proper strength and training.  There is one scene in particular where a tiny girl tries to make her way through a variation on pointe with pirouettes and more… While the adult cast watches with smiles that seem to say “oh how cute,”  in my opinion it was simply cringe-worthy to watch!  The kid was seconds away from breaking her ankle! 
What is good in this movie is Margaret O’Brien’s acting.  As always, she is so convincing and in this particular role she is actually flat out disturbing.  I’m actually rather surprised that MGM allowed her to play such a dark character, but she does so beautifully – blending the perfect amount of intensity with charisma.  By the end, I found myself rooting for her.  What we get in The Unfinished Dance is an intense melodrama into a very fantastical perception of ballet, complete with plenty of Russian side characters, beautiful costumes, and conniving little girls (as well as grown up girls) who commit no sin, but to love ballet too much!  

Watch it here!

Have a Dance Movie you want to suggest?  Be sure to contact me with your suggestions!

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Talking Pictures, Talking Pictures!

Ok, the big moment you’ve been waiting for is finally here!  I bring you the big Singin’ in the Rain Giveaway of 2012! 
I am so proud to have the opportunity to partner with Warner Brothers distribution to offer this stellar giveaway…TWO Lilac and Lace readers have the chance to win their very own copy of the new 60th Anniversary Singin’ in the Rain Special Collectors Edition set which includes everything you see here…
Pretty snazzy huh?  Ready to win?  Here’s what you need to do – 
  -You must  be a follower of this blog either on GFC, Bloglovin or subscribe to the feed.  And you must leave a comment on this post about what you love most about the movies
For extra entries:
 – Follow me on Twitter or Facebook
 – Tweet this:  “Enter to win a special copy of the new Collectors Edition of #Singin’InTheRain on #Lilac&Lace @sugrplums26
 – Post about this giveaway on Facebook
Be sure to leave a separate comment for each of these items and each will count as another chance to win! I will choose the winners on Friday Evening! 

Best of Luck to You!  

"Dignity…Always Dignity"

One thing about Singin’ in the Rain that you may not realize: It is busting with hilarious lines that have become regular phrases in my life and amongst my family.  There are some real classics in there…All part of the comedic genius that was Betty Comden and Adolph Green.  There was a time in my life when I dreamed of being able to write like them…Uh, actually, that time is still now!  They are awesome and, in my humble opinion, they wrote some of the best films of the 20th century!  
So now here’s a bit of Singin’ in the Rain Typography fun for you.  Click the images to enlarge and print!  All designed by me, with the cloud and raindrop image from The Ink Nest.  

You can also download the high resolution pdf’s here.

Check back later for the big giveaway!

Gotta Dance!

My friend Olivia once told me that she disliked Singin’ in the Rain because of the whole “broadway melody” sequence at the end and I can understand how people who may not like watching dance could get bored with this part of the film.  But I adore this whole sequence!  And I love Cyd Charisse too…She is so stunning!

Here’s a little clip from that part of the film.  I love how it’s essentially a ballet integrated into the story and it basically comes out of no where.  The first part of this video is one of my favorite Gene Kelly dance moments…His choreography is just so classic Kelly and you can tell that his movements are just completely natural and organic – He is clearly enjoying every moment!

I’m Dancin’ and Singin’ in The Rain…

Today my favorite film, Singin’ in the Rain, is released on Blu-Ray  And a special 60th Anniversary Collectors Edition is also being released. This alone is grounds for celebration in my book!

I wanted to do something special on the blog today in honor of the release.  Because, while I know that there are dozens of reasons why I chose to train to become a dancer, nothing inspired that dream more than this film.  And I realize that may sound cheesy, but what can I say?  It’s true.  I remember watching it when I was as young as 3 years old and just being blown away by Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor.  Everything they did looked like so much fun, and that was it for me – I was hooked.  I was going to be a dancer and dance in the rain. 

But even if you aren’t a dancer, or aren’t into musicals, Singin’ in the Rain is still a wonderful film that I’m sure you’d enjoy.  From the witty humor, to the Hollywood history, to the fabulous 1920’s costumes, to the catchy tunes and sweet love story – This movie is simply perfect.  Obviously I am biased, but I really do think it’s one of those films that you can’t help but enjoy.  
And of course, there is the quintessential Hollywood movie musical number – “Singin’ in the Rain.”  There is so much dance folklore around that scene, like how Gene Kelly had a fever that day of filming and was sick as a dog.  It’s one of those repeated tales dancers tell each other as a way to encourage ourselves to push through the pain and perform.  It’s just such a simple piece, but so brilliant and so well composed – And it really does inspire you to dance!  Well…It inspires me to anyway…But it also just makes me feel happy.  It reinvigorates me and fills me with a joy for life.  Take a look… 

What a Glorious Feeling! 

Now, I hope some of you watched that and I hope it made you happy!  In honor of this epic movie I’m going to be hosting a special giveaway later today and I’ll be sharing more fun Singin’ in the Rain clips, music and more!  So stay tuned!