volcanohunter

La mort du cygne/Ballerina

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Turner Classic Movies will air Jean-Benoît Lévy's film La mort du cygne, a.k.a. Ballerina, starring Yvette Chauviré and Mia Slavenska, on Monday, June 27, at 6:00 a.m. ET.

http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/3207/Ballerina/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0143749/

The Hollywood remake, The Unfinished Dance, with Margaret O'Brien and Cyd Charisse will follow at 7:30 a.m.

http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/1300/Unfinished-Dance-The/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0039938/

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Saw both of these this morn. The original French version (Chauvire, Slavenska & Charrat - 1937) is a real gem. Chauvire was just 19 or 20 in this. Gorgeous. :flowers: The 1947 USA version was barely watcheable, in comparison, it was so....Hollywoody idiotic, IMO. :wallbash: The saving grace was seeing George Zorich (uncredited) as the male partner in dance sequences.

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The Unfinished Dance is a real stuffed owl of a movie, so ghastly you can't take your eyes off it! I believe that it was Danny Thomas' debut, and his earnestness, but not his lines, nearly saves his part.

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I watched both films this morning, too, and could not agree more with Natalia and Mel Johnson's assessments. Ballerina was sublime, especially for its time, and The Unfinished Dance was really cringeworthy (IMO). I noticed that several posters on the latter's iMBD board stated that they had loved the movie as children, but on seeing it again found it as awful I did on this first viewing.

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I recorded both but haven't viewed yet. I do remember seeing Unfinished Dance when I was quite young and loving it; probably because I loved Margaret O'Brien. Curious to see what I think of it now especially after seeing the original, which I have never seen. Thanks, volcanohunter for this heads up!

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The other thing about Mort du Cygne/Ballerina is that it was filmed on location throughout the Garnier Opera House (POB). It was all so "genuine" in feeling and style, vs Ye Olde Fake Hollywood feeling for the latter film. The cotton-candy Cinemascope Techni-colors in the latter film sure didn't help.

I'd love to know if the actresses Margaret O'Brien and Karin Booth (as the rival ballerina who gets injured) did their own solo ballet dancing. If so, they did credible jobs. Cyd Charisse as the main ballerina most likely did her own dancing; she was ballet trained. However, I cannot find any credits for the 'dancing doubles' of O'Brien and Booth. The only uncredited dancer seems to be George Zorich. I am guessing that the other uncredited soloists came from film-choreographer David Lichine's troupe or school in LA. Maybe the double for blonde beauty Karin Booth was Tatyana Riabouchinskaya, who was also "Mrs Lichine" & one of the original Baby Ballerinas? Just guessing.

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Violette Verdy also took part in Ballerina, didnt she? Or was that another film also called Ballerina? I remember seeing it as a child, but memory is very hazy.

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Verdy starred in another film originally titled Ballerina(1950), but it came to be known as Dream Ballerina in order that it not become confused with the earlier film.

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Finally watched both movies back to back yesterday. In agreement with other posters. I found the original "Ballerina", which I had never seen, very emotionally involving. Loved, loved, loved Mia Slavenska! Her icy rage and gradual, thawing toward little Rose was very well-acted. Both the cold and warm emotions made me realize that she must have been a real wonder to see on the stage. And then "The Unfinished Dance" - oh my. I loved this movie as a child but it was really quite horrible in contrast. I do believe that Karin Booth must have had a dance double as evidenced by the many long shots. But you have to admit,little Margaret O'Brien surely could cry on demand, and so convincingly. Also loved Danny Thomas not least because he always reminded me of my father, who was Greek and looked very much like Mr. Thomas (or some said, the young Victor Mature!).

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