I'm currently reading Deep, Serious Books (Walter Benn Michaels, Kathryn Sutherland), not to mention
executing writing about Anne Boleyn. [Just how long have you been working on that article? Shouldn't you set a better example for your graduate students--like the ones who know this blog's address?--Ed.] What better way to relax than to indulge one of my secret vices--namely, breaking out the DVDs and watching people dance? [Actually, that vice would be even more secret if you refrained from writing about it on your blog. Really, dear.--Ed.] Previous installments here, here, and here.
- Follow the Fleet (1936): "Let Yourself Go," "Let's Face the Music and Dance." Fred Astaire! Ginger Rogers! What else is there to say? (OK, it's not my famous Astaire-Rogers flick, but any Astaire-Rogers is better than no Astaire-Rogers, right?)
- House of Flying Daggers (2004): "The Echo Game." Granted, the editing has wandered in from MTV, but it's still a nifty idea--and quite a spectacle.
- Kiss Me Kate (1953): All of the dance numbers are terrific, but I'm partial to "Tom, Dick, or Harry" and "From This Moment On," courtesy of Ann Miller, Tommy Rall, Bobby Van, and a very young Bob Fosse. Carol Haney (the unluckiest dancer in the history of musical theater?) and Jeanne Coyne (Gene Kelly's second wife) also put in appearances.
- The Pajama Game (1957): Granted, I don't much like the rest of the film, but "Steam Heat" (with Haney, Peter Gennaro, and Buzz Miller) is Bob Fosse in a nutshell.
- Swing Time (1936): "Pick Yourself Up" may be my favorite Astaire-Rogers number.
- The Toast of New Orleans (1950): Eugene Loring's choreography for "The Tina-Lina" probably qualifies as "cute" rather than "good," and it doesn't help that a teenaged Rita Moreno struggles a little too visibly to keep up with her partner, James Mitchell--but the number is still peppy, at least.