22 December 2008

I've got the Red Blues

Recent trends in movies I've been watching: Communism, Russia, Dancing, Singing.

The films: Shall We Dance? (1937), Cradle Will Rock (1999), and Silk Stockings (1957). Two of these films are set in the 1930s, two star Fred Astaire, all feature bad foreign accents perpetrated by actors who should know better (Susan Sarandon, I'm looking at you).

I'm not going to get into Shall We Dance or Cradle Will Rock, because mostly I want to talk about Cyd Charisse, but I feel obligated to share the following information:

* Cradle Will Rock is a legitimately good film. Go see it.
* Shall We Dance is only arguably a good film, although it does contain some excellent dance sequences.
* However, it does include a plot line involving a creepy full-sized doll version of Ginger Rogers, and a woman who speaks with this accent.
* Additionally, you know that cliche line about Ginger Rogers and how she does everything Fred does but backwards and in heels? I hate that line. Firstly, because Ginger was a HUAC supporter. Secondly, because people who say that have never seen a Fred and Ginger joint--if they had, they'd know that in the burst-off-the-screen-awesome numbers, Fred and Ginger dance side by side and in unison, not partner. That said, the line should be revised for the scene in this film where Ginger does everything Fred does backwards, in heels, with rollerskates strapped over her heels.

Anyway, Cyd Charisse.

She died this summer, and that's extremely sad. If you have never seen Silk Stockings you should go and rent it tonight and watch it. Some of it will make you tear your hair out (the repetition of the line "The urge to merge with the splurge" might, or perhaps the excellently problematic "a woman to a man is just a woman/but a man to a woman is her life."), but other parts are fantastic. Peter Lorre dancing with a chair? Check. Cole Porter soundtrack of insanity? Check. Janis Paige? Check, check, and check.

In terms of politics, this movie is kind of a train wreck--it gets pretty much everything wrong. But then, then there is this:

and this:

and this:

R.I.P. Cyd, you are more awesome than possible.

1 comment:

  1. Winifred - can I call you Freddie?

    Freddie, YOU are more awesome than possible. This makes me smile, a lot.