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If you really want to revel in the ick, check out Astaire’s TV specials with the luscious Barrie Chase, sporting tiny minidresses and wrapping her fabulous legs around her sexagenarian partner.

 Of course, this was an era when a female star was lucky to survive past age 35 (things have changed – somewhat), and so cultural assumptions about older women as sexual beings, or rather not-sexual beings, come into play. Even Ginger Rogers was a decade younger than Astaire. A dancing male star had more of a shelf life, so as Astaire got older the women inevitably got younger.

 In a way Caron was sort of MGM’s in-house Audrey Hepburn (Mrs. Mel Ferrer), another gamine type regularly cast opposite male stars many, many years her senior, Astaire included, and Caron even inherited a Hepburn part, Gigi.

 Three-strip Technicolor has such a strange color palette – perhaps you could say color iconology – that competes neck in neck with the story and songs.

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  Indeed. I was slightly blinded by Gower Champion’s smile.

 Interesting that in that expanded space the Champions do little side-by-side work, something Astaire always liked to do when his partners were good enough to stand the exposure.

 Marge Champion was a lovely dancer. Thanks for the clip, miliosr.

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On ‎12‎/‎26‎/‎2018 at 1:11 PM, Quiggin said:

The Smoke Gets in Your Eyes choreography in its gliding and open spacing looks a little like ice skating choreography to my eyes. Not sure if all the Champions' work has that roominess.

Well, sometimes they were trapped in a director's conceit, as in the fashion show sequence from Lovely to Look at:

 

Mervyn LeRoy directed the main portion of Lovely to Look at but Vincente Minnelli was drafted to direct (or overdirect, as the case may be) the climactic fashion show sequence. The liner notes to the Lovely to Look at CD reveal that Minnelli was supposed to film the fashion show in three days but ended up taking three weeks.

The Champions' second big dance in Give a Girl a Break comes close to the expansive feel of their "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" dance in Lovely to Look at in that they're taking full advantage of the soundstage. It's the third of three dream sequences in the following clip and starts around 6:55:

 

 

Edited by miliosr

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Thanks for those – I watched all of the three Give a Girl pieces. Well, diamonds and charming jewel thieves seemed to be a big theme of the 50's movies – Diamonds are a Girls Best Friends, To Catch a Thief, various B movies, etc. And George Balanchine's Slaughter on Tenth Avenue seems to have been a great source of inspiration to all the MGM musicals. Is there a bit of Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty in Gower Champion's search for the  right girl in Give a Girl a Break?

The color red is very unstable in Fashion Show, almost swallowing everyone up, and seems incapable of holding any detail. And there's the overly happy yellow (yellow is always slightly neurotic according to Eisenstein who wrote a great treatise on the color) of the Fosse-Reynolds dance sequence – which was danced backwards and filmed from tail to head, so you keep winding it forward and backward to yourself as you watch.

Gower Champion is as thin as a reed and sometimes almost disappears into his dancing.

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This Christmas I managed to secure a copy of Film Score Monthly's 2005 2-CD treatment of Bronislau Kaper's score for M-G-M's 1955 release, The Glass Slipper, featuring Leslie Caron as Cinderella and Michael Wilding as The Prince. (Age gap between Caron and Wilding: 19 years) Roland Petit and his Ballet de Paris were also on hand. Petit & co. appear to have been based in Hollywood at this time as they would travel with Caron to the Fox lot in the fall of 1954 to contribute to her next picture, Daddy Long Legs with Fred Astaire.

In any event, Kaper's score for The Glass Slipper, like his score for Caron's 1953 vehicle, Lili, is so beautiful and tuneful. It's been described as a musical that only lacks lyrics and now I believe it. Best of all is the movie's theme, "Take My Love," which repeats in many different treatments throughout the score. Disc 1 contains all of the music from the original movie soundtrack. Disc 2 contains many alternate versions/outtakes of the same music. Over two hours of music!

I would highly recommend this but beware: This release is long out-of-print and listings on Ebay are pricey. I got "lucky" with a "cheap" buy of $50.

 

Edited by miliosr

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6 hours ago, miliosr said:

This Christmas I managed to secure a copy of Film Score Monthly's 2005 2-CD treatment of Bronislau Kaper's score for M-G-M's 1955 release, The Glass Slipper, featuring Leslie Caron as Cinderella and Michael Wilding as The Prince. (Age gap between Caron and Wilding: 19 years)

As you no doubt know, at this time Wilding was also Mr. Elizabeth Taylor and 20 years his wife's senior. :) He also appeared with another MGM musical lady closer to his age, Joan Crawford, in the deathless Torch Song (wonderfully burlesqued by Harvey Korman and Carol Burnett as Torchy Song).

I didn't know the recording existed. Thanks for the heads-up.

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On 12/31/2018 at 9:50 PM, dirac said:

As you no doubt know, at this time Wilding was also Mr. Elizabeth Taylor and 20 years his wife's senior. :) He also appeared with another MGM musical lady closer to his age, Joan Crawford, in the deathless Torch Song (wonderfully burlesqued by Harvey Korman and Carol Burnett as Torchy Song).

Typical, but not as painfully creepy as Audrey Hepburn paired with Gary Cooper in Love in the Afternoon.

The male/female age gap was definitely a Hollywood fetish; although it could be argued that most human cultures favor older men with younger women, so Hollywood is just reinforcing the establishment (again).

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On 12/28/2018 at 1:33 PM, Quiggin said:

The color red is very unstable in Fashion Show, almost swallowing everyone up, and seems incapable of holding any detail. And there's the overly happy yellow (yellow is always slightly neurotic according to Eisenstein who wrote a great treatise on the color) of the Fosse-Reynolds dance sequence – which was danced backwards and filmed from tail to head, so you keep winding it forward and backward to yourself as you watch.

Gower Champion is as thin as a reed and sometimes almost disappears into his dancing.

Minnelli gave new meaning to the term "color man." I love the red and the greens  -- and those antlers - WHAT are they doing there !?!  

Marge and Gower in a lighter vein, same picture:

 

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On ‎12‎/‎27‎/‎2018 at 12:10 PM, dirac said:

 In a way Caron was sort of MGM’s in-house Audrey Hepburn (Mrs. Mel Ferrer), another gamine type regularly cast opposite male stars many, many years her senior, Astaire included, and Caron even inherited a Hepburn part, Gigi.

I love researching things like this!

During the life of Leslie Caron's seven year contract with M-G-M in the 1950s, she made nine pictures. What follows are the pictures. release dates, male co-star(s) and their ages, and Leslie Caron's (LC) ages at the time:

10/04/51 - An American in Paris - Gene Kelly (39) - LC (20)

11/27/51 - The Man with a Cloak - Joseph Cotten (46) - LC (20)

06/06/52 - Glory Alley - Ralph Meeker (31) - LC (20)

03/26/53 - The Story of Three Loves - Farley Granger (26) - LC (21)

07/10/53 - Lili - Mel Ferrer (35)/Jean-Pierre Aumont (42) - LC (21)

03/21/55 - The Glass Slipper - Michael Wilding (42) - LC (23)

05/04/55 - Daddy Long Legs - Fred Astaire (55) - LC (23)  [Note: LC loaned out to Fox.]

05/09/56 - Gaby - John Kerr (24) - LC (24)

05/15/58 - Gigi - Louis Jourdan (36) - LC (26)

 

Average of LC's male co-stars: 35

LC's average age: 22

Your useless Hollywood factoids for the day!

 

 

 

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On ‎12‎/‎31‎/‎2018 at 11:50 PM, dirac said:

He also appeared with another MGM musical lady closer to his age, Joan Crawford, in the deathless Torch Song (wonderfully burlesqued by Harvey Korman and Carol Burnett as Torchy Song).

Oh God - Torch Song!

That really kicked off Joan Crawford's 1950s camp phase which included other overripe specimens such as Johnny Guitar (1954), Female on the Beach (1955) and Queen Bee (1955). Worst of all, she would be reduced to taking a supporting role in 1959 with The Best of Everything. (She's great in it, though.)

The big comeback in 1962 still lay in the future!

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Overripe, but still tasty. :)

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Average of LC's male co-stars: 35

LC's average age: 22

 

Well, yes. Not to mention that in several of those pictures Caron played teenagers or very young women.

 

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23 hours ago, dirac said:

Overripe, but still tasty. :)

Well, yes. Not to mention that in several of those pictures Caron played teenagers or very young women.

Female on the Beach with Natalie 'Lovey Howell' Schafer pimping out Jeff Chandler is definitely tasty!

It's interesting to compare Female on the Beach (with Joan Crawford and Jeff Chandler) to Daddy Long Legs (with Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron) given that they both came out in the same year (1955) and revolve around May-December relationships. Daddy Long Legs presents its older man-(much) younger woman relationship as a fairy tale with singing and dancing. Meanwhile, Female on the Beach presents its older woman-(somewhat) younger man relationship as a sordid tale of desperation, prostitution and murder.

Even the age gap is telling: 32 years separated Astaire and Caron while Crawford and Chandler were only 15 years apart.

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On 1/5/2019 at 3:07 PM, miliosr said:

Your useless Hollywood factoids for the day!

Don't forget Caron with Cary Grant in Father Goose - a 27 year difference. And a film with fun banter.

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6 hours ago, miliosr said:

Female on the Beach with Natalie 'Lovey Howell' Schafer pimping out Jeff Chandler is definitely tasty!

It's great. Truly, they don't make them like that any more.

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