Posted 17 June 2008 - 02:10 PM
The New York Times has posted its obituary of one of the most glamourous dancing ladies of Hollywood's golden age. http://www.nytimes.c...amp;oref=slogin
Posted 17 June 2008 - 02:20 PM
Posted 17 June 2008 - 02:32 PM
A lot of the dancers in old movie musicals make me cringe a bit. She was always exquisitely beautiful.
Posted 17 June 2008 - 02:59 PM
I just thought she was set to live to 100. What a magnificently beautiful lady she was.
Posted 17 June 2008 - 03:13 PM
Maybe vice versa, never mind, Cyd was just fantastic. What a dancer and what a beauty. I am glad that we saw her and enjoyed her in those days.
Posted 17 June 2008 - 03:28 PM
Posted 17 June 2008 - 03:36 PM
My personal favorites: her “Silk Stockings” solo in the hotel room, the “Dancing in the Dark” duet with Astaire cited by Dale, and “Baby, You Knock Me Out” from “ It’s Always Fair Weather.”
There is also “Party Girl,” a non-musical made in 1958 with another star MGM wanted to dispose of, Robert Taylor (who also had one of those names, he was the former Spangler Arlington Brough). It has a confusing story, poor character development, and is in general your basic mess, but it also has striking cinematography and the dialogue won't hurt you. Charisse’s acting is even more hapless than usual but she is at her sexiest in the musical numbers, which are well worth checking out.
Posted 17 June 2008 - 03:48 PM
I quite like 'Spangler Arlington Brough', which sounds not hick, but rather landed-Southern and strong--much better if more unwieldy than the thoroughly ordinary name he evolved into. I'll now look it up and see what it is, but to me there is no redneck sound to that one . The competition for Tula Ellice Finklea is surely Roberta Sue Ficker, and I'm at a loss to choose between them, although I find all of 'Cyd Charisse' to have been the perfect solution, whereas 'Farrell' has never sounded quite as uncannily inevitable as 'Suzanne.'
Edited to add: Wiki has it as 'Brugh' and it's Nebraska, so probably pronounced 'brew', whereas 'Brough' is 'bro', I've a friend named Brough.
Posted 17 June 2008 - 04:28 PM
Hmm. Now that I think about it, often as not the motive behind such name changes is to make the name more ordinary, not less so. Tula Ellice Finklea and Spangler Arlington Brough certainly stay in the memory banks, and as you note the latter is euphonious in its way. Robert Taylor is indeed a very ordinary name, which is the point – to make his name more like those of other people and less singular.
It is pronounced “brew.” I've seen it spelled both ways, don't know which is right.
The AP obituary linked to by carbro and Gina notes that Charisse was up for the Caron role in An American in Paris, which I hadn’t heard before. Thank God that didn’t work out.
Interesting also that her height is given as five-foot-six - she certainly gave the impression of being even taller.
Posted 17 June 2008 - 06:17 PM
And for those who haven't seen it yet, I'd wholeheartedly recommend the "Girl Hunt" ballet from The Band Wagon for Michael Kidd's visionary choreography for the corps of gansters, in addition to Charisse's spangles and singularly erotic arches.
Undoubtedly she was one of the sexiest women ever to appear on screen, but what I admired most about her was the strength of her dance personality. Gene Kelly in particular, I think, had a bad habit of imposing his own low-centre-of-gravity style on his leading ladies, and some of them really struggled with the unsuitability of it for their bodies. Charisse, though, always managed to adapt to the choreography and make it inimitably her own.
Posted 17 June 2008 - 06:25 PM
IMDB, my favorite source of inaccurate information, lists her as 5' 7 1/2". No matter what her height, she had the most gorgeous legs.
Posted 17 June 2008 - 07:24 PM
Thanks for mentioning these, I'm going to fetch them. I love the Band Wagon, but have never seen that number.
Posted 17 June 2008 - 08:07 PM
Was Nanette Charisse her sister or her sister-in-law? (I imagine in-law, but sometimes others in a family take on a stage name)
... okay... went & dug on the net (like I should have done first... sometimes I forget most answers already exist in cyberspace)... it's Nenette not Nanette... she was a sister-in-law.
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