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Gene Kelly's Invitation to the Dance


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#1 volcanohunter

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 02:57 PM

Gene Kelly's all-dance film Invitation to the Dance will finally be released on DVD on April 29. Amazon is taking orders. The cast includes Igor Youskevitch, Claire Sombert, Tamara Toumanova, Claude Bessy, Tommy Rall and a sensational Diana Adams.

As an anti-copying measure, DVDs from the WB Archive Collection are generally designed to play only on non-recording DVD players. They won't play on computers or recording DVD players, though the Amazon listing for this release does not include such a warning. Not yet, anyway.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0049367/

#2 dirac

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 03:16 PM

David Paltenghi appears in the movie also. For those who haven't seen it, be forewarned - although it's a must-see for any ballet lover, it's not very good. I would love to be able to say it's a neglected classic, but no can do. I respect Kelly's ambitions and his dedication and I really do wish I had high praise to offer.

#3 volcanohunter

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 03:28 PM

The trailer:


#4 jimmo

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Posted 03 April 2011 - 09:50 AM

[size="3"][font="Verdana"]I saw an excerpt from another Gene Kelly dance project (of this same period as "Invitation To The Dance") a few years back, contained within a biography of Kelly on PBS' "American Masters" series. The excerpt, taken from an episode or segment originally telecast on the program "Omnibus," showed Kelly with a background of various athletes, including gymnasts and tennis players, and talking about and with several well-known athletes--the late, great New York Yankee slugger Mickey Mantle, and Bob Cousy of The Boston Celtics, among them--each athlete demonstrating his respective field of endeavor, and comparing them with the agility, endurance, skills and stamina of dancers. As such, I thought this program, or at least this segment of the program, made an excellent point, especially for males, that not only are ballet and dance art forms, but also forms of athleticism.

"Omnibus" aired on each of the "big three" (ABC, CBS & NBC) television networks from 1953-61, the longest period on Sunday afternoons, in what was called "the Sunday cultural ghetto" of television. The program received underwriting from The Ford Foundation and other entities, and as such ran commercial-free its entire 90 minutes, a rarity for commercial television. The program was critically acclaimed, exemplary of the type of high-brow, intelligent programming we subsequently came to expect from public broadcasting.

Incidentally, the host/presenter of "Omnibus" its entire run was author, newspaper columnist, radio commentator, and British expatriate Alistair Cooke, who would become even more well-known as the original host of PBS' "Masterpiece Theater."

Perhaps this program may seem dated, or limited to those with actual experience or an in-depth knowledge of dance. But I've always admired Kelly for his light-hearted demeanor and attempts to democratize dance, making it more accessible, especially for boys and men. Truly, in film, Fred Astaire was the grace of dance, Donald O'Connor its clown, and Kelly its athlete.

I have been hoping to one day have the chance to view (and own my own copy of) that "Omnibus" program (or segment) about dance with Gene Kelly in its entirety. I suspect it may be viewable at one or both of The Paley Centers (formerly Museums of Radio & TV in Los Angeles & New York). In fact, as it was produced in the same era, I have wondered whether the TV project may have been used to promote "Invitation To The Dance?"

So perhaps the release of Kelly's "Invitation To The Dance"on DVD will spur an interest in getting that acclaimed "Omnibus" program with Gene Kelly released on home video as well?

If it isn't already (may someone who obtains a copy of "Invitation To The Dance" share with us?), that "Omnibus" program on dance would certainly have made an excellent bonus feature of the film's DVD release. [/font][/size]

#5 dirac

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Posted 03 April 2011 - 08:48 PM

"Omnibus" aired on each of the "big three" (ABC, CBS & NBC) television networks from 1953-61, the longest period on Sunday afternoons, in what was called "the Sunday cultural ghetto" of television. The program received underwriting from The Ford Foundation and other entities, and as such ran commercial-free its entire 90 minutes, a rarity for commercial television. The program was critically acclaimed, exemplary of the type of high-brow, intelligent programming we subsequently came to expect from public broadcasting.


Yes, those were the days, jimmo, even if the big three had more pragmatic reasons beyond beneficence to the arts and education. I think the show was called "Dancing: A Man's Game" and I too would like to see it in its entirety. Edward Villella appeared on the show, and so did Johnny U. Has anyone seen the whole thing?

I also remember that "American Masters" special on Kelly. One of the best programs in that fine series.

#6 volcanohunter

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 11:13 PM

Though it's not listed on the TCM web site, my onscreen TV guide tells me that Invitation will air on the Canadian version of Turner Classic Movies this Sunday at 9:45 p.m. ET/6:45 p.m. PT.

Maybe or maybe not.


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