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Eleanor Powell and tap


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33 replies to this topic

#31 pherank

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 11:33 AM

I think it would have been much easier to do in a series of short takes, rather than one long one, but the didn't make that decision. The "behind the scenes" view reminded me of a complex military campaign.


Not such a crazy idea, given that this is the WWII era: American know-how at work!
But I think the filming actually occured before the attack on Pearl Harbor - though war was in the air, and well underway in Europe and Asia.

#32 sidwich

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 12:06 PM

I'm not sure if this has been linked to before, but this sequence from That's Entertainment III is "fascinating" not only for the tremendous dancing, but also for the camera and stage choreography (you will see what I mean). A split-screen view of Eleanore Powell in Fascinating Rhythm:

http://www.dailymoti...ehind-the_music


In old interviews, some of the old MGM actors have reminisced about how when an Eleanor Powell production number was being filmed, it was the event on the lot. Anyone who could come out to see it being filmed would, and it's easy to see why.

And even though she didn't "fit in" so well with the Hollywood "glamour girl" archetype, I think Eleanor Powell is the Hollywood female musical star I'd most want to have over for dinner and drinks. She and Esther Williams, I think.

#33 sandik

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 12:46 PM


I think it would have been much easier to do in a series of short takes, rather than one long one, but the didn't make that decision. The "behind the scenes" view reminded me of a complex military campaign.


Not such a crazy idea, given that this is the WWII era: American know-how at work!
But I think the filming actually occured before the attack on Pearl Harbor - though war was in the air, and well underway in Europe and Asia.


A tangential note -- I remember reading an article about the various jobs that Hollywood artists were enlisted to do during WWII. Aside from the more obvious, morale-raising projects, scenic artists were asked to design camoflauge, camera operators worked on optics for weapons sites, and some of them worked on diversionary projects, including making an entire "Potemkin Village" military installation, including inflatable tanks, to distract attention from the actual preparations for D-Day.

#34 dirac

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 03:55 AM

Powell's a nice hearty girl. She seems most comfortable when she's outfitted in tails or cadet gear. It's hard for women to tap and retain a feminine style (Ginger Rogers was no virtuoso but she could do it). She was likable but not overly appealing as a star personality. She could tap dance and she was fortunate to come along when, at least for a time, that was enough, and she was a star, not just a leading lady. Her solos can be dazzling - the drum number in Rosalie is worth the price of admission. And of course, there's the low camp factor, some of it in dubious taste, like production numbers involving tanks. I wonder if some of those people on the lot were turning out in order to roll their eyes.....

As for dinner and drinks, it would have to be Garland on a good night, not that I would bar the door to Esther or Ellie. A very clever woman, a fine wit, and one of the century's extraordinary talents.

Thanks for reviving this thread, pherank.


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