carbro

Cyd Charisse

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Truly one of the most beautiful dancers. Loved her in Silk Stockings and The Band Wagon. Her pas de deux with Astaire in the park is breathtaking.

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I'm so sad to hear this, she is truly one of my biggest inspirations. I think the number in Singing in the Rain, with the green dress, is probably the sexiest thing I've ever seen in my life.

A lot of the dancers in old movie musicals make me cringe a bit. She was always exquisitely beautiful.

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Oh yes, exactly as Dale and Aurora and the others say, except I'm being unreasonable and haven't accepted that she'd died at all. She stayed younger-looking and kept her dancer's body longer than anybody (at least when last I saw her in photos or new clips). I thought she was wonderful in all the movies, including 'Black Tights' too, with Zizi Jeanmaire and Moira Shearer. Agree with Aurora about the sexiness in green in 'Singin' in the Rain' and Dale about the Dancing in the Dark and Silk Stockings. She was also featured early in the film of Ziegfeld Follies, but 'This Heart of Mine' would have been better still if it had been Fred and Cyd instead of Fred and Lucille.

I just thought she was set to live to 100. What a magnificently beautiful lady she was.

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She was an idol of many of my friends in the theater school -OK, she was my idol too. Any of you folks seen her in that unfortunately seldom played film on old movie channels. I refer to a movie from the fifties. Remember that Mel and I had an argument about her dress, Mel said it was black, I said it was green.

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.

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Yes, just remembered the name of the movie, it was "Sombrero". She was to die for then...

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The samples of her classical dancing that made it to the big screen did not impress. The excerpt in “The Band Wagon” is particularly unfortunate; she’s not awful, but the dancing is terribly wooden with no sense of phrasing. Her acting is better left unmentioned, but she was a gorgeous woman and a fine dancer, although I do recall reading that her numbers had to be shot in very short segments because she couldn’t sustain her energy level. In addition, she rose above having the given name of Tula Ellice Finklea, an impressive feat. She takes an important part of American movie musical history with her.

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.

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Robert Taylor (who also had one of those names, he was the former Spangler Arlington Brough

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.

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She remained beautiful well into her old age. Wikipedia has a photo of the 2006 Oval Office ceremony when Pres. Bush conferred on her the National Medal of Arts.

Check the boulder on her right hand. The lady must have kept fit to lug that thing around!

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Yes, her figure is lovely, although it looks as if she had too much work done on her face.

--much better if more unwieldy than the thoroughly ordinary name he evolved into
.

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.

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Watching her in "Baby, You Knock Me Out" from It's Always Fair Weather, flying at hyper-speed over boxing ring ropes while wearing stiletto heals, is really one of the most thrilling and mind-boggling displays of virtuosity I've ever seen on film. Equally spectacular is the "Red Blues" number from Silk Stockings. It's awe-inspiring to watch how she keeps going and going, whatever her stamina may have been like in reality. I'd also single out her "Desert Song" number from Deep in My Heart as the quintessence of Charisse-as-sex-goddess, and the "Two-Faced Woman" number that was cut from The Bandwagon (because with a number like that, the movie's original Faust musical wouldn't have flopped), but which is included on the film's DVD. I wouldn't hesitate for a second in describing her as one of Hollywood's greatest dancers, even if her ballet numbers left something to be desired.

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.

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Interesting also that her height is given as five-foot-six - she certainly gave the impression of being even taller.

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.

RIP, Cyd.

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I'd also single out her "Desert Song" number from Deep in My Heart as the quintessence of Charisse-as-sex-goddess, and the "Two-Faced Woman" number that was cut from The Bandwagon (because with a number like that, the movie's original Faust musical wouldn't have flopped), but which is included on the film's DVD.

Thanks for mentioning these, I'm going to fetch them. I love the Band Wagon, but have never seen that number.

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And I thought 5'6" was tall for a dancer of her time...

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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I'm so sad to hear this, she is truly one of my biggest inspirations. I think the number in Singing in the Rain, with the green dress, is probably the sexiest thing I've ever seen in my life.

It is indeed very sad. Back in Cuba when i was a kid, there used to be a weekly TV show which presented old american movies. Among the opening images on the show, the most vivid one that i have is that of Charisse and Gene Kelly in the "Broadway Melody Ballet" sequence from "Singin' in the Rain". I found her soooooo glamorous!...and still do.

http://content.answers.com/main/content/wp...in_the_rain.jpg

RIP, Miss Charisse. :dunno:

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I love the Red Blues number from Silk Stockings, too. It shows off her verve, technique and timing.

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Equally spectacular is the "Red Blues" number from Silk Stockings. It's awe-inspiring to watch how she keeps going and going, whatever her stamina may have been like in reality.

What I've heard is that Mamoulian had to keep scheduling "Red Blues" to shoot on mornings because Charisse would start losing the energy to perform at that clip by afternoon.

RIP to a great dancer and one of the last links to the Golden Age at MGM. She always seemed very gracious in sharing her memories of working at that time, especially her memories of working with Astaire and Kelly.

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Reading Cyd Charisse's obituary, I couldn't help but chuckle when I read that, as a member of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, she went by the name 'Felia Sidorova'. It reminded me of Doris Humphrey's tart observation (on seeing one or the other of the Ballet Russe companies) that, "I greatly admired all those Russians from Brooklyn!"

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Today, that Felia Sidorova thing sounds a bit ridiculous to say the least, but back in those days it was like that. Just think of Alicia Markova! Must have been low self esteem or something, unless you had a Russian name you couldnt dance. Apart from the aforementioned Markova, there were masses of dancers Russianising (is that correct?) their names.

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Turner Classic Movies is showing three of her movies tonight - The Band Wagon, Singin' in the Rain, and Silk Stockings. Rather obvious selections, but perhaps they'll follow up with more.

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and the "Two-Faced Woman" number that was cut from The Bandwagon (because with a number like that, the movie's original Faust musical wouldn't have flopped), but which is included on the film's DVD. I wouldn't hesitate for a second in describing her as one of Hollywood's greatest dancers, even if her ballet numbers left something to be desired.

I couldn't find this on the DVD I got hold of. There is a long 'watching the Bandwagon' special feature with Liza Minelli and Michael Feinstein in which they discuss 'Two-Faced Woman' and why it was cut (singing and dancing at the same time as Michael Kidd had made the number, replaced by something else they mentioned and thought much better). Cyd didn't think it was a good number, according to Minelli, who says she went to the set every day after school. I wasn't quite up to listening to this chitchat all the way through, but hardcore show-biz fans will like it, and Liza is very cute sometimes, very funny.

So what happened, volcanohunter? Does this sound like a different DVD? I don't know if there are different features on some editions of DVD from those on others. Her 'La Femme Rouge' number was not quite as smart-looking as I'd remembered it, and she looks more beautiful in other parts of the film.

Edited to add: 'Dancing in the Dark' definitely holds up though, even with that peculiar spell-breaking bit of jingle-jangle as they segue from hansom-cab into somebody's stagehand-slangy talk about 'the fa-nal-ee'. Prefer this number to anything he did with Ginger Rogers, who is not glamorous even though the numbers sometimes seem romantic anyway--emphasis on the 'breathless' not to my taste, much prefer Cyd's flawless statuesque body and confident technique; she seems more independent of Astaire, not swept away, so it is like a more formal conversation and therefore looks much more elegant.

Further edited: I had no idea there was a 2nd disc till I was putting it away, usually associate those with 'Parsifal', etc,. so there was 'Two-Faced Woman' on Disc 2. Cyd's dubbing is by Pat Michaels aka India Adams, and the discussion earlier between Liza and Feinstein was about how 'terrible' Cyd thought the number was. Feinstein said Cyd didn't even want it put on the DVD as an extra, that it was 'not her at her best.' Liza said she couldn't believe that was Cyd singing, and that that's why they had cut the number. It truly does not sound right, although it's very good singing. It reminds one a bit of one of the B'way Haitians in the cast album of 'House of Flowers' and sometimes even has little flecks of Pearl Bailey in it even--much too earthy, although I would think Ms. Michaels/Adams must have been successful elsewhere. I liked the number for the dancing though myself, thought she looked good in it.

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It reminds one a bit of one of the B'way Haitians in the cast album of 'House of Flowers'

In That's Entertainment III Debbie Reynolds narrates a split-screen comparison between the unused Charisse number and a number from Torch Song which recycled the song. In it Joan Crawford wears "tropical makeup." :clapping:

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In That's Entertainment III Debbie Reynolds narrates a split-screen comparison between the unused Charisse number and a number from Torch Song which recycled the song. In it Joan Crawford wears "tropical makeup." :clapping:

Oh well, volcanohunter, you're becoming my tutor, as there's no way I'm going to miss this...will report back in a week or two. :clapping: although I'm never going to like anything Ms. Crawford does as much as Lena Horne being all tropical in 'Love' in 'Ziegfeld Follies. "Lena said they told her 'Lena, go out the-ah...and smol-duh...

That's something Lena and Cyd both had--they could smol-duh :

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Must have been low self esteem or something, unless you had a Russian name you couldnt dance.

I don't think it was low self esteem or any personal issue, just performers conforming to what they believed were the expectations of the public.

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