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Cyd Charisse1921-2008


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#16 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 09:00 PM

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.answe...in_the_rain.jpg
RIP, Miss Charisse. :dunno:

#17 Dale

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 06:13 AM

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

#18 sidwich

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 09:01 AM

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.

#19 miliosr

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 12:07 PM

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!"

#20 Pamela Moberg

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 03:33 PM

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.

#21 dirac

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 10:49 AM

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.

#22 papeetepatrick

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 03:31 PM

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.

#23 volcanohunter

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 05:29 PM

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:

#24 papeetepatrick

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 05:46 PM

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 :

#25 dirac

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 09:01 AM

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.

#26 missvjc420

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 12:32 PM

Many non Russian dancers were asked to modify or change their names when joining a "Russian" troupe by the Directors.

#27 papeetepatrick

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 06:06 PM

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." :)


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. :huh: 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 :


I saw this just now, and India Adams sounds good for neither, although the chorus sound does work better in Torch Song (may be the outfits). They actually do then seem like the girls in 'House of Flowers', especially in the opening song 'Waitin'. Was interesting to see this grotesque Joan Crawford moment. The only thing to make me as much of a Joan Crawford 'completist' as I need to be for the duration is clips of 'The Secret Storm', which are supposed to be on You Tube but I can't find them. Truly a strange creature. Thanks for putting me onto this, Volcano, I hadn't seen this one, and Cyd's hosting of the Gene Kelly section shows her as a very handsome and elegant woman of about 72, I guess--strangely, she looks a little like Nancy Reagan here, and I had never seen the 'Heather on the Hill' piece but once. Debbie Reynolds is also really charming and beautiful in the section she hosts.


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