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TCM to show "Mysterious House of Dr. C[oppelius] in May

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TCM (Turner Classic Movies) will be showing a 1966 ballet film "The Mysterious House of Dr. C." Date and time are: May 13, 6:15 pm.

I had the sound off and missed all but the end of the promo. So I don't know what "based upon Coppelia" means. The choreography is credited to St.-Leon. (IMDB lists him under "other crew." :wink:)

Walter Slezak plays Dr. Coppelius. Checking the minimal information on IMDB, I found that the film was shot in Madrid. Choreography is Arthur St.-Leon's. The orchestra is from the Liceu of Barcelona. Swanhilda/Coppelia is Claudia Corday. Franz: Caj Selling.

Has anyone seen this film? Or do you have further information about it? I have it in my calendar and will be recoding it..

Turner Movie Channel listing:


International Movie Data Base listing:


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I copied the following from answers.com:

Walter Slezak plays Dr. Coppelius in this misleading titled fantasy feature. Not a horror flick as one might assume, The Mysterious House of Dr. C is a respectable adaptation of Ted and JoAnna Kneeland's ballet Coppelia. The non-dancing Slezak plays a daffy but essentially decent inventor who creates a "clockwork girl," who comes to life in the form of lovely American ballet star Claudia Corday. As the life-sized doll Swanilda, Corday is paired with Caj Selling of the Royal Swedish Ballet. A few beguiling animated sequences add icing to this spooky but nonthreatening confection. Mysterious House of Dr. C was one of a handful of films produced by Samuel Bronston after his fall from grace as King of the Historical Epics (El Cid, Fall of the Roman Empire, et. al.)

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On TCM tonight (April 17, 2011), "The Mysterious House of Dr. C" will be followed immediately (at 7:45 PM EDT) by "The Tales of Hoffmann," featuring Moira Shearer and Robert Helpmann (among many wonderful dancers).

That should be 9:45 pm EDST for the start of Tales of Hoffman.

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I thought it was quite charming. Naturally, there was narration. Unfortunately, the narrators also recited occasional poems over the music, and, worse yet, sang some lyrics, too. I suppose there's nothing that remains uncorrupted once the film industry gets involved. But I thought there was more than enough to compensate, especially Claudia Corday's delightful heroine. (I was astonished that she could perform such beautiful fouettés while wearing an enormous bouffant.) I'm not at all sold on giving Coppelius a (young!) love interest, but someone must have thought that Walter Slezak couldn't come away empty handed. Personally, I never feel much sympathy for Coppelius, though I know that many people feel that the youngin's are too hard on him.

The choreography is credited entirely to Jo Anna Kneeland, though Alicia Markova is listed as an artistic consultant. Much of the ballet was rechoreographed, so I think that's fair. Like the orchestra, the ballet company came from the Liceu, and it was most agreeable to see real ballet dancers on the screen. So often what had passed for ballet in old musicals was beyond cringe-inducing. Here the dancing was presented pretty much straight. The film was shot on 70mm film, and the widescreen picture is spectacular.

So, in the U.S. the film was followed by Tales of Hoffmann. In Canada it was followed by Invitation to the Dance. Hooray! That's a lot more ballet than I've seen on TV in a very long time.

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Jo Anna was from South Africa, and came to Palm Beach, FL with husband Ted, where they ran the Royal Poinciana Playhouse. Jo Anna had been well-schooled in the British-based Cecchetti Society style of instruction, and she further codified it into a theory and philosophy of instruction and a further curriculum of kinesiology and movement analysis, which she copyrighted. She came to Harkness House in NYC, and there succeeded Patricia Wilde as the Head of instruction. Her colleagues and students are very well-distributed throughout the ballet community today. The Craveys were two of her best students.

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Funny story about this film which i have long waited to see. When I was resident choreologist for the Harkness Ballet, during my first week one day I went into a studio and saw this girl dancing a variation with the Coppelia music. As I am very familiar with this ballet and that variation (it was the first ballet I saw at Covent Garden, London) and have the fully notated score in Benesh notation) I noticed she was dancing the steps quite differently. i didn't realize at the time it was Claudia Corday who had 4 years before danced the role in this movie.

I recorded this TCM showing of the film on my DVR but have not seen it all as yet.

The company was really the Harkness Youth Dancers that Mrs. Harkness had turned into the Harkness Ballet, having just fired the original company. Claudia suddenly disappeared from Harkness House and never knew what happened to her. Her sister, Clara, was in the company and we toured that year (1970) mainly in Spain. Mrs. Harkness had rented the Liceo Theater in Barcelona for an entire month just to rehearse in.

So, ever since 1970 I have wanted to see this film but considered it lost. I only heard rumors about it and I believe there was a 35 mm copy of it in a closet at Harkness House as there was also an entire documentary on film about the tour to Russia by the Joffrey company (sponsored by Mrs. Harkness) prior to the Joffrey/Harkness debacle. Wonder what happened to it after the closure of Harkness House and the company.

Interesting to find out, just now, that it was the dancers from the Liceo opera house in this film. The Liceo is a famous opera house and I got very familiar with it during that month. You had to go through a fruit and veggie market to get to the stage door and I remember rehearing in a subterrainian cellar of sorts; cold and damp. On stage you could look up beyond the flies and see there were apartments and people living up there and smell the odors of cooking. Of course this was years ago

So it finally showed up.

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The Liceo opera house in Barcelona was (I agree) very unusual. I remember it having (many years ago) a tremendous rake. When we performed Monument for a Dead Boy by Rudi van Dantzig, you felt as though as you had a few drinks too many, the rake playing havoc with your balance. It also had a few boxes,for the audience, right next to the stage, so they could watch everything that went on backstage. I also remember the market near the stage door- I hated the odd odors from there. I also believe that the theatre had a claque.

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