Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday Holiday Dance Party

In keeping with the holiday theme announced last week, please enjoy the clip below. After watching it, you may wonder what the hell it has to do with the holidays. It actually has nothing to do with the holidays, but as it appears in the film White Christmas, I feel justified in presenting it.

I really don't know why I enjoy that movie so much; it's hugely bloated with production numbers which have absolutely nothing to do with the slender plot of the film. I am not a big fan of Bing Crosby or Danny Kaye, and the piece is a good half hour too long. But Rosemary Clooney is beautifully cast, and one of my favorite character actresses of the period, Mary Wickes, contributes another scene-stealing performance. But best of all, the movie's music is from the Irving Berlin songbook, which makes the many extraneous musical numbers enjoyable.

It's also fun, when watching the big production numbers, to pick out young George Chakiris in the dancing chorus. This film was shot only a few years before he rocketed to stardom (and the Oscar) in West Side Story, and only a few years more before his star waned. I understand he's now a jewelry maker. Ah, the dancer's life. The chosen clip below does not feature our future / former star, however, but a young hoofer named John Brascia.

At any rate, this short clip is indicative of most of the numbers in White Christmas: it has nothing to do with the plot, or with Christmas. But it is another opportunity to show off dancer Vera-Ellen's disconcertingly long, slender legs, and another opportunity to see some first-class tap-dancing.

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