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"Bootmen", "Mad About Mambo", etc.


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#1 BilboBaggins

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Posted 14 March 2003 - 02:15 PM

Not sure if this is the right place to post this, but here goes .... Sky Digital (UK) has been showing all manners of dance (mostly non-ballet) films, most of which are now available as videos. These include:

"Bootmen" ...
Andy Garcia, of "Coyote Ugly" fame (another non-ballet, "dance" story), stars as an Australian steelworker, who is addicted to tap dancing. Dad is opposed to his dancing (info trailer calls this "Billy Elliott meets the Full Monty"), but Andy goes to Sydney to dance in a show, loses temper, loses job in show, comes back to steel mill. Steel mill is to be closed, tap dancers (using steel toed boots, hence the name) do a benefit (in the steel mill -- great props!!) to raise funds for workers' families. Dad loves son, approves of tap dancing ... everyone's happy.

"Mad About Mambo"
West Dublin, North Ireland. Catholic boy, desperate to be a footballer (soccer for Americans), takes up Latin dancing, because his hero footballer, from South America, says Latin rhythm helps his football. Oh, BTW, gorgeous female also involved in dancing as her passion ... female's dad happens to be only Catholic on Board of Directors of football team (how long do you think it took to come up with this plot?)... boy meets girl, boy and girl partner for dance competition, boy messes up, girl hates boy, boy gets inspired ... last scene is boy and girl dancing as the half time entertainment at dad's football match, fulfilling girl's dream to be on a stage and accomplish something without dad's help.

Other recent "dance" films: "Center Stage" (this IS about ballet), "Save the Last Dance" ... and, of course, "Billy Elliott".

Question: what is it about the passion for dance (of any type) and the struggle of dancers to succeed that inspires such intense study by film makers (quality of film aside)?

BB

#2 Alexandra

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Posted 14 March 2003 - 02:48 PM

Good question -- what are some others? Going back a bit further, after the death of musicals, there's "Dirty Dancing," "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" "Saturday Night Fever"

Not to mention "The Turning Point," "White Nights."

I think part of might be that it IS one of the successors to movie musicals. Is this a market need? Or that there are people in Hollywood (or Greater Hollywood) that are geared to this -- the filming of it, editing of it, as much as personal taste -- and continue to make them?

One doesn't sense The Public clamoring for yet another dance movie.

#3 dirac

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Posted 14 March 2003 - 03:31 PM

Don't forget dear old "Flashdance." I think also of a very different kind of movie, Sally Potter's "The Tango Lesson."


I think any form as visually striking as dance is going to attract filmmakers in one way or another. From a commercial point of view, dancing is also a way of showcasing popular music forms for film purposes, as in the manner of "Saturday Night Fever" and "Save the Last Dance." The success of "Chicago," a project which was by no means regarded as a sure thing, may indicate that there is an audience appetite for singing and dancing that isn't being satisfied. (And "8 Mile," too.)


Another factor is the advent of a Star. Nureyev and Baryshnikov were both the inspiration for film projects, although only the latter really succeeded.

#4 Mel Johnson

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Posted 14 March 2003 - 03:34 PM

But they sure have missed their movie musicals! Viz: the success last year of Moulin Rouge, and this year's rage for Chicago. And on the older non-ballet dance movies, what about Footloose and Flashdance?

#5 Ed Waffle

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Posted 14 March 2003 - 04:16 PM

Baz Luhrman uses dance both as itself and as a metaphor. In "Strictly Ballroom" he created a completely self-contained universe of ballroom dance competition in Australia, then broke it open when the male star of the movie (who played the star-to-be of the ballroom competiton) fell in love with a women from outside of that world.

Not sure what she was ethnically, but she and her family definitely were "the other". If it was a European film they would have been gypsies.

Lots of ballroom dancing sequences, plus jazz dance and some ethnic/undefinable (at least by me) dance.

John "Cha Cha" O'Connell was choreographer for "Moulin Rouge", "Romeo + Juliet" and "Strictly Ballroom".

#6 dirac

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Posted 14 March 2003 - 04:57 PM

I forgot about "Strictly Ballroom." That was a good one....

#7 BilboBaggins

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Posted 17 March 2003 - 07:25 AM

Interesting ... I have most of these films in my DVD/video collection!! There's one other, although I don't remember its name ... it was situated in Tokyo, about a Japanese "salaryman" (lots of psychology there), strained relationship with his Japanese wife, who, one night, wanders into a dance studio ... and the film turns into practicing for a competition in ballroom dancing. Exotic, aloof, beautiful partner (I believe she was Japanese, but not certain) -- contrast to obedient, but quiet wife, just as the excitement of dance contrasted to the repetitive life of the salaryman ... filmed with a wonderful eye towards the colors and aesthetics of dance ... very eastern in its cinematography and very western in its approach to relationships ...

But if I try to think of other "sports" or "arts" in film, there is nothing like the richness of this dance collection. I recall one with a male hockey player and a female ice skater (perhaps it's not different, just dance on ice!!) ... love and competition. But football, soccer, basketball, baseball ... the list of films, especially in which both the male and female are involved in the sport/art, is very short. Is it perhaps because in dance, either lead can be the hero or demonstrate the effort involved? Is is because it is the only event in which both can excel and in which both MUST excel for the pair to be successful artistically?

On a related note (dance and musicals) ... right now, the London stage has Grease, Fame, Chicago, The Full Monty (well, that's dance -- sorta!!!), My Fair Lady, Lion King, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang ... the musical is definitely alive and well!!

BB

#8 Paquita

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Posted 17 March 2003 - 08:12 AM

There's also Tango (Spanish) and Assasination Tango (Directed by and starring Robert Duvall. I don't think it's been released yet, but I saw it at the Toronto Film Fest).
Bilbobaggins, I think the one you're thinking of is Shall We Dance. Great movie. I heard somewhere that they are thinking of doing an English remake. I forget who was supposed to star in it...

#9 BilboBaggins

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Posted 17 March 2003 - 08:37 AM

You've jogged my memory (who said hobbits never forget anything!!) -- it was, indeed "Shall We Dance?". I'm not certain that an English re-make would work as well -- so much of this film's tension and resolution depends on the unique aspects of Japanese culture in the husband/wife relationship; the nature of the "salaryman"; the nature of non-sexual relationships between men and women ... it would be very interesting to see how different the film might become!!

BB

#10 Ed Waffle

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Posted 17 March 2003 - 09:54 AM

Originally posted by BilboBaggins
it would be very interesting to see how different the film might become!!

BB


Interesting to say the least. The car chases, explosions, obvious product placement and MTV-type editing necessary to Americanize "Shall We Dance" would make it a very different movie.

#11 BilboBaggins

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Posted 17 March 2003 - 10:17 AM

Interesting ... I understood from Paquita's comment that it would be an English remake -- I thought "UK", not "American". I was trying to picture a Brit version like Billy Elliott or perhaps Australian, a la "Strictly Ballroom" ... an American version would be way different!! :eek:

BB

#12 Paquita

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Posted 18 March 2003 - 06:45 AM

Sorry for the mix up! I meant English-language. I forget which actor was supposed to star in it, but I remember it was an American. It will probably be very different indeed!

#13 BilboBaggins

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Posted 18 March 2003 - 02:18 PM

Interesting information, thanks, Paquita ... I'll look out for it and see what I can find.

Regards,

BB

#14 BilboBaggins

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Posted 18 March 2003 - 02:32 PM

Oh ... are you going to love this ... (from Variety, 13 March 2003)

The remake of "Shall We Dance" ... due for release in 2004, starring Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez (not yet signed, but apparently almost ...); director Peter Chelsom; screenwriter Audrey Wells; studio Miramax. No mention of the choreographer (that tells you how important the dancing will be :D :) ) ... although Gere sang and danced in the film version of Chicago.

I wonder if it will be more like "Pretty Woman" or "The Wedding Planner". Either way, it's unlikely to be very much like "Shall We Dance". ...

Filming due to start in June.

BB

#15 Paquita

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Posted 19 March 2003 - 07:01 AM

Thanks for the info, BB! I thought it was Richard Gere, but I figured I was confusing it with his role in Chicago (or maybe I was subconsciously in denial! I was not really impressed with his singing/dancing in that film).
With a star like Jennifer Lopez, there's no way that it will stay true to the original. It'll be interesting to see how it turns out. I'm also picturing a "Wedding Planner"-type romantic comedy.


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