AcademeWriter

VERA ELLEN - Dancer -1940's and 1950's

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If we talk about movie musicals of the 1940's, we have to include Vera Ellen! She not only danced in the 40's but sequeyed into big films of the 1950s as well. Vera Ellen danced as Ivy Smith in On the Town pairing up with Gene Kelly*, as well as in other musical films, such as Words and Music (1948), Wonder Man (1945) and The Kid from Brooklyn (1946) the last two with Danny Kaye.

As we head into the 1950's next week, she will appear in 1950's White Christmas, Three Little Words, and The Belle of New York, etc. 

Vera Ellen was an amazing dancer who could embrace tap, ballet and jazz very skillfully. She had a mean nerve tap as well to rival Ann Miller and Eleanor Powell, but also had an athletic style, vivacious and full of energy. As "Miss Turnstiles" she was the one sought after throughout the film, On the Town, and got to show off her abilities. In White Christmas, she dazzled again with many great dance numbers - classics - and showed off her acting as well.

Thee were many dancers of the era in the 40s and the upcoming 50's as well, including Cyd Charisse, Ann Miller, Carol Haney and of course, Leslie Caron. I hope that we go into all of their films and careers, but let's not forget, Vera Ellen!  

What do you think about Vera?

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*Quiz #2 was a bit vague in its question about who Gene Kelly paired up with.  Vera Ellen was not in the multiple choice list of answers; therefore, Betty Garrett was the one I chose because she was in the film, On the Town, but Vera was the actual dancing partner.

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I adore Vera Ellen, particularly in White Christmas.  She looked light as a feather but strong enough to tap Ann Miller's "Lois Lane" character from Kiss Me Kate under the table, lol, and Ann was one fierce tapper in that show!

I totally agree, Vera Ellen needs to be included with the greats of cinematic dancing.

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4 hours ago, AcademeWriter said:

Thee were many dancers of the era in the 40s and the upcoming 50's as well, including Cyd Charisse, Ann Miller, Carol Haney and of course, Leslie Caron. I hope that we go into all of their films and careers, but let's not forget, Vera Ellen! 

I'm glad you mentioned Carol Haney! She was such a wonderful dancer. I wish she had appeared in more films.

It's hard not to love Vera-Ellen. She was so spunky, in addition to being very talented.

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Vera Ellen was an amazing dancer.  I believe she had an issue with diabetes which impacted her thinness, but man you could see the muscles in her legs when she did a ballet dance or did any move that required muscle control.  She also danced with Donald O'Connor, who has yet to be mentioned.  I know that we see "Singing in the Rain" which is one of my favorites.  I have been coming across several of her dances on Youtube.  The Gene Kelly and  Betty Garrett question was number 12 which is a true and false.  That's when he was paired with Vera Ellen.  In 'Take me out to the Ballgame" he was paired with Esther Williams.  Betty Garrett was always with Frank Sinatra.  Question 17 also kind of asks a similar question and that one was also in one of those 10 question quizzes.  If I'm handing out answers, Dr. Amment, I apologize. 

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On 6/16/2018 at 7:48 AM, Diane65 said:

Vera Ellen was an amazing dancer.  I believe she had an issue with diabetes which impacted her thinness, but man you could see the muscles in her legs when she did a ballet dance or did any move that required muscle control.  She also danced with Donald O'Connor, who has yet to be mentioned.  I know that we see "Singing in the Rain" which is one of my favorites.  I have been coming across several of her dances on Youtube.  The Gene Kelly and  Betty Garrett question was number 12 which is a true and false.  That's when he was paired with Vera Ellen.  In 'Take me out to the Ballgame" he was paired with Esther Williams.  Betty Garrett was always with Frank Sinatra.  Question 17 also kind of asks a similar question and that one was also in one of those 10 question quizzes.  If I'm handing out answers, Dr. Amment, I apologize. 

Actually, it was Carol Haney who had diabetes.

Vera-Ellen suffered from anorexia nervosa or bulimia, possibly both.

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I think Vera-Ellen was the best dancer in 1940s and 50s musicals.  Dancing with Fred Astaire in "Three Little Words" was sheer bliss.  Besides the movies already mentioned, I loved her in the Fox musical, "Call Me Madam," dancing with Donald O'Connor.  The dance she does with Danny Kaye in "White Christmas" knocked me out.  Not a singer, she was always dubbed (except the ensemble number Snow in "White Christmas") but her dancing more than made up for it.

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Vera Ellen was perhaps the best female dancer of all time in the movies, in addition to tremendous technique, she was more versitile than Ellinor Powell, Cyd Charisse, Ann Miller, etc.  Vera could tap with the best of them, plus jazz dance, ballroom, ballet. 

She was no singer (always dubbed) and barely passable as an actress.  But as a dancer !

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I loved her in all the movies you mentioned. I also felt she was tremendous dancing with Donald O’Connor i Call Me Madam. I also heard she suffered from anorexia and that’s why in her later films she wore high collars. Her legs were muscular yet very thin.

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On ‎6‎/‎17‎/‎2018 at 10:58 AM, sagebrush said:

Actually, it was Carol Haney who had diabetes.

Vera-Ellen suffered from anorexia nervosa or bulimia, possibly both.

If you check out her first films Vera-Ellen is rather 'chunky' for the time.  It would not surprise me if she was under pressure to lose the weight and keep it off.

We know that Garland was constantly given diet pills and practically starved on set.  Vera became in my opinion scary skinny, but I loved her no matter what the

shape.  She has always been my favorite-I've study every move she's made during my dancing career.  Check out "Three Little Words" and see how graceful she is

with Astaire while Skelton plays a new tune.  She's a vision to behold.

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40 minutes ago, pbm said:

If you check out her first films Vera-Ellen is rather 'chunky' for the time.  It would not surprise me if she was under pressure to lose the weight and keep it off.

It's interesting, because in younger photos of her, her face looks very full, but her body was always slim. I think maybe that gives the illusion of her being "heavier", for lack of a better word.                                       

vera-ellen-publicity-portrait-for-the-fi     3e522ccba382b9cadb4f47dd8071e48b.jpg

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Love Vera Ellen! I mentioned this on another thread but to me she seemed like the perfect dancing partner, she complimented so many different dancers. I could watch her Mandy dancing number from White Christmas over and over again. Truly one of the biggest highlights of the movie! I also love the Fox musical Three Little Girls in Blue, she has this big dance number to You Make Me Feel So Young.

Years ago I read Debbie Reynolds' autobiography (the first one, not the newer one Unsinkable) and she said that she would be in the rehearsal studios on the MGM lot with Vera Ellen very often. She said the dance instructors or someone were always on Vera's case about her thighs or something and how big they looked. They were constantly telling her she needed to lose weight or something, Debbie said it was extremely hard and sad to watch because she thought Vera was in great shape. 

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