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That'S Dancing!

That'S Dancing!(1985)

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teaser That'S Dancing! (1985)

Jack Haley Jr., who was without peer in assembling musical film clips into entertaining anthologies, narrowed the focus of the That's Entertainment! series for That's Dancing! (1985) by concentrating on classic choreography in films. But Haley also broadened the range of this entry, including numbers not only from MGM musicals but from many other sources including such studios as RKO, Warner Bros., 20th Century-Fox, Universal and United Artists. That's Dancing! traces screen dancing from its origins soon after the invention of the movie camera through the Golden Age of screen musicals and into the era of the wide screen and music videos. This ambitious anthology ranges from the silent film The Dumb Girl of Portici (1916), starring Anna Pavlova, to Michael Jacksonmusic video Beat It.

Gene Kelly, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Ray Bolger, Liza Minnelli and Sammy Davis Jr. introduce and narrate the various segments of That's Dancing!. Subjects include the "great stylists" of film dancing, such as Kelly, Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell; ballet in the movies, with excerpts from such films as The Red Shoes (1948); Busby Berkeley's wildly inventive choreography during his heyday at Warner Bros.; adaptations of Broadway musicals including Silk Stockings (1957) and Sweet Charity (1969); and the vintage years of the MGM musical. Among the clips are two that had never before had public screenings: Ray Bolger's Scarecrow dance to "If I Only Had a Brain," cut from The Wizard of Oz (1939), and a duet between Gene Kelly and an animated figure cut from Invitation to the Dance (1956).

Other highlights include Astaire and Rogers dancing to "Night and Day" from The Gay Divorcee (1934) and "Pick Yourself Up" from Swing Time (1936); James Cagney strutting through "Give My Regards to Broadway" from Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942); Kelly and Donald O'Connor in their "Moses Supposes" number from Singin' in the Rain (1952); Ann Miller tap-dancing up a storm in Kiss Me Kate (1953); and separate segments from the ballet Le Corsaire as danced by Baryshnikov and Rudolph Nureyev.

Producers: Jack Haley Jr., David Niven Jr., Gene Kelly (Executive Producer), Michael J. Sheridan (Associate Producer), Bud Friedgen (associate)
Writer/Director: Jack Haley Jr.
Cinematography (new footage): Paul Lohmann, Andrew Laszlo
Original Music (new footage): Henry Mancini
Costume Design (new footage): Ron Talsky
Editing: Michael J. Sheridan
Principal Cast: Mikhail Baryshnikov, Ray Bolger, Sammy Davis Jr., Gene Kelly, Liza Minnelli; clips feature Fred Astaire, James Cagney, Cyd Charisse, Ruby Keeler, Shirley MacLaine, Ann Miller, the Nicholas Brothers, Donald O'Connor, Eleanor Powell, Ginger Rogers, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, Shirley Temple.
BW & C-105m.

by Roger Fristoe

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