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volcanohunter

On Your Toes (1939)

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Thanks, volcanohunter. I hope you will forgive me when I note that "On Your Toes" might better be described as a Hal Wallis picture (made at Warner Bros. with Jack Warner as head of production; unlikely that Enright made any major decisions on this movie, for better or worse, although I could be wrong). The Red Shoes can certainly be described as Michael Powell's The Red Shoes but note it is a production of The Archers, with writer Emeric Pressburger as Powell's collaborator. Pardon the pedantry.

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Thanks, volcanohunter. I hope you will forgive me when I note that "On Your Toes" might better be described as a Hal Wallis picture (made at Warner Bros. with Jack Warner as head of production; unlikely that Enright made any major decisions on this movie, for better or worse, although I could be wrong). The Red Shoes can certainly be described as Michael Powell's The Red Shoes but note it is a production of The Archers, with writer Emeric Pressburger as Powell's collaborator. Pardon the pedantry.

Confusion may arise when you read IMDB and other movie website sites which clearly credit Enright as the Director of ,"On Your Toes".

The film credits are:

Robert M. Haas - Art Director, George Balanchine - Choreography, Orry-Kelly - Costume Designer, Ray Enright - Director, Clarence Kolster - Editor, Lorenz Hart - Composer (Music Score), Richard Rodgers - Composer (Music Score), Leo F. Forbstein - Musical Direction/Supervision, Perc Westmore - Makeup, James Wong Howe - Cinematographer, Sol Polito - Cinematographer, Robert Lord - Producer, Hal B. Wallis - Producer, Jack L. Warner - Producer, Byron Haskin - Special Effects, George Abbott - Screenwriter, Lorenz Hart - Screenwriter, Sig Herzig - Screenwriter, Richard Macaulay - Screenwriter, Richard Rodgers - Screenwriter, Jerry Wald - Screenwriter, Lawrence Riley - Screenwriter, George Abbott - Play Author

Was he just along for the ride?

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I didn't say anywhere in my post that he wasn't the director, leonid, only that the movie might be better described as a Wallis production. :) My point was that to identify a film as "Director X's movie" is something of an anachronism because in old Hollywood the director did not always exert the same control over the production that he usually does today. (Some, like Hitchcock, did.) Given some of the other names on the list you so helpfully provided, Enright could indeed have been along for the ride. Powell is a different case and an important director, but it may be worth remembering that the director is not always the onlie begetter of the movie you're watching. :)

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I didn't say anywhere in my post that he wasn't the director, leonid, only that the movie might be better described as a Wallis production. :) My point was that to identify a film as "Director X's movie" is something of an anachronism because in old Hollywood the director did not always exert the same control over the production that he usually does today. (Some, like Hitchcock, did.) Given some of the other names on the list you so helpfully provided, Enright could indeed have been along for the ride. Powell is a different case and an important director, but it may be worth remembering that the director is not always the onlie begetter of the movie you're watching. :)

I did not mean to suggest that you thought he was not the director I was merely pointing out the reason why someone would say, "Turner Classic Movies will air Ray Enright's On Your Toes on Thursday, April 22, at 7:30 a.m. ET."

He took over the directing of "Dames" 1934 which Hal Wallis also produced having directed his first film musical in 1930.

Enright directed many famous film stars throught his long career.

Ps

Check for Enright's association with film directing which began in 1921 and ended in 1953. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0258015/

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Yes, thank you leonid, I know who Enright is. At this point I'm kind of sorry I mentioned it......

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I didn't say anywhere in my post that he wasn't the director, leonid, only that the movie might be better described as a Wallis production. :) My point was that to identify a film as "Director X's movie" is something of an anachronism because in old Hollywood the director did not always exert the same control over the production that he usually does today. (Some, like Hitchcock, did.) Given some of the other names on the list you so helpfully provided, Enright could indeed have been along for the ride. Powell is a different case and an important director, but it may be worth remembering that the director is not always the onlie begetter of the movie you're watching. :)

Yes, that's very important, and I don't think people know this kind of thing that often, which is why industry people sneer at movie critics a lot (unfortunately they don't seem to want to do movie reviews very often--can't imagine why, it's so lofty...but they'd be able to accurate ones of any picture). The star used to have a lot of control sometimes just as well, and screenwriters know all about this, having been traditionally ordered about and low on the totem pole, down to usually not getting invited to parties. The composers even lower, as I believe remembering Andre Previn attest. The director of a film is not nearly as defined a thing (or very often it wasn't, esp. with Old Hollywood) as the director of a play or opera. Different, as you point out, for Powell, and certainly when you get to auteurs like Bergman or Godard, it's a different ballgame--it really is identifiable as their artistic product, like a novelist's almost.

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... My point was that to identify a film as "Director X's movie" is something of an anachronism because in old Hollywood the director did not always exert the same control over the production that he usually does today. (Some, like Hitchcock, did.) ...

Whatever the actual distribution of power is within the film industry (director/producer), the public perception is that the director runs the project, so that during the Academy Awards show, when the producer steps up to receive the "best picture" award, the general response is often "who is that?"

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... My point was that to identify a film as \"Director X\'s movie\" is something of an anachronism because in old Hollywood the director did not always exert the same control over the production that he usually does today. (Some, like Hitchcock, did.) ...

I would respectfully say that I think that I think that that saying directors today have more artistic control is a major generalization. Most film critics and historians have very ambivalent feelings towards the concept of auteur theory because films by their very nature are virtually always collaborations on the part of many artists, a number whom often have significant input into the final vision and product. Arguably Chaplin is one of the very, very few who could ever really claim the title of auteur on the basis of writing, directing, starring in, and writing the music for a number of his films.

Even Hitchcock, for all of his control freak filmmaking practices, did not exert full control of all of his films, which is for example, why \"Rebecca\" is often referred to as a Selznick film rather than a Hitchcock film. Similarly, although screenwriters often aren\'t the identified artist on films, Charlie Kaufman films are almost always referred to as such although he does not direct his own work (usually Michel Gondry).

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sidwich, you are absolutely right to say that to assume all directors exert the same degree of control is as inaccurate today as it would have been in 1939. But I think the power position of the director has grown stronger over the decades and the generalization is a fair one. The auteur theory is a different animal entirely and I wasn't really thinking of that. Of course, if you're trying to direct Warren Beatty, you might beg to differ.:)

Kaufman is an outlier, I'd say. It's not often that a writer gets veto power over who directs. He did write and direct Synecdoche, New York on his own so perhaps even Kaufman wanted a little more control, but I don't know what his reasons were. (I remember Nora Ephron being interviewed years ago about writing When Harry Met Sally and she said although the experience was a pleasant one she had no control over anything and she realized that to get that authority she'd have to direct.)

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Dirac's right about Hal Wallis -- and Arthur Freed seems to have had a lot to do with MGM's musicals. Maybe musicals are a producer's medium.

I think director's control depends to an extent on size of the production. Jean-Luc Godard and the New Wave directors worked with small crews, and with Godard the look of the film was often a result of his collaboration with his cameraman, Raoul Coutard early or Willy Lubtchansky later on. In the silent days John Ford probably had a small crew -- eventually with talkies he got so good he said he would do only one take to order to control the final content, though he did work with good Saturday Evening Post writers for his scripts. Von Sternberg would tell his class at UCLA not to pay any attention to what his students might see on the credits rolls, that he was responsible for all of it -- and it was somewhat true, at least down to his actors talking in the same slow monotonous tone of voice as he did.

It probably varies from movie to movie whose sensibility shines through the most: director, writer, cameraperson (such as the wonderful Agnes Godard who has worked on many distinguished contemporary films).

"On Your Toes" has as cameraman James Wong Howe (I just came across his great work on Passage to Marseilles). Also the silly lyrics of Lorenz Heart, who compares love sickness to "fallen arches" and "too many starches" and being "on your toes" to reaching for apples and penthouses -- "the higher up the higher rent goes"-- and to air mail and dancing crowds glimpsing rare males.)

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Thanks, Quiggin. Sternberg was right to say that credits should be regarded with caution. Of course, directors have a reputation for hogging credit but in his heyday Sternberg was wearing a lot of hats.

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Geez, Louise...

I'm just happy and grateful to know that there will be a very rare airing of "On Your Toes" tomorrow morning. This is a great ballet movie that has never been issued on commercial DVD or even VCR tape, that I know. I've been searching for it forever.

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I'm just happy and grateful to know that there will be a very rare airing of "On Your Toes" tomorrow morning. This is a great ballet movie that has never been issued on commercial DVD or even VCR tape, that I know. I've been searching for it forever.

Me, too. It's especially wonderful, after MCB's performances of Slaughter a few months ago -- with three different Strip Tease Girls. I've been hoping for the opportunity to compare with Geva and Eddie Albert before the memories of the MCB casts grow dim. I wish we could also see Zorina and Bolger.

I'm recording it on the DVR and also trying to make a tape on the old VHS, if I can remember how to work it.

Thank you, thank you, volcanohunter, for the Heads Up.

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Success! I briefly watched the Slaughter on 10th Avenue ballet and -- although I loved it -- I was astonished how this has morphed, in most companies, into a much grander piece, sleeker, wtih greater amplitude, etc. If you like the ballet, you have to see the original

As small point about the last few seconds of the film. Arnold and Zorina are in front of the curtain taking a bow. He notices that he is not wearing trousers (a reference to the opening of the film). In embarrassment, he and Zorina shuffle off (as in "shuffle off to Buffalo") into the wings. The joke here is that Zorina's shuffles are in the form of tiny pas de chats. (Try it at home. It works.) I wonder if Balanchine invented that. :clapping:

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.....Arnold and Zorina are in front of the curtain taking a bow. He notices that he is not wearing trousers (a reference to the opening of the film). In embarrassment, he and Zorina shuffle off (as in "shuffle off to Buffalo") into the wings. The joke here is that Zorina's shuffles are in the form of tiny pas de chats. (Try it at home. It works.) I wonder if Balanchine invented that. :mad:

I would guess so. A lot of the Dolan Family vaudeville skit at the beginning of the film made me think of Balanchine's Union Jack - Pearly King and Queen pdd section.

My favorite part was the Princess Zenobia ballet, an absolutely-hilarious take on Fokine's Scheherazade. Not just the story and the characters; it very much mirrors -- in a friendly-mockery manner - the Fokine steps.

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Success! I briefly watched the Slaughter on 10th Avenue ballet and -- although I loved it -- I was astonished how this has morphed, in most companies, into a much grander piece, sleeker, wtih greater amplitude, etc. If you like the ballet, you have to see the original

As small point about the last few seconds of the film. ... I wonder if Balanchine invented that.

Congratulations on recording it, bart! I didn't even see it, as TCM is part of an expensive package in my building.

But as to inventing that bit, and I don't diminish Balanchine's talents in any way, but the man who remarked "I don't create, God creates, I only assemble," or words to that effect, may merely have seen this somewhere, like London or New York, and remembered it, and felt it went appropriately in what he was assembling at the moment, in On Your Toes and in Costermonger.

What tended to set him apart from much lesser choreographers is this sense for what's appropriate -- what things went together -- that made his work look fresher, as though he had just invented it all. I think what he invented was that new assembly, those new relations of music and steps and gestures we'd not experienced before. (Yeah, I know, that's quite a speculation for someone who missed the film!)

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