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boydhill57

George Raft

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Some time ago I viewed a movie with Geo. Raft in which he sang and danced. I have a bet with someone that G. Raft was really a song and dance man, but can not prove it. Can someone supply me with movie titles in which he sang and or danced?

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George Raft was a dancer in nightclubs and on Broadway before he went to Hollywood. He played a dancer in Bolero with Carole Lombard...

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Born George Ranft in Hell's Kitchen, New York City, he quickly adopted the "tough guy" persona that he would later use in his films. Initially interested in dancing, as a young man he showed great aptitude, and this, combined with his elegant fashion sense, allowed him to work as a dancer in some of New York City's most fashionable nightclubs. He became part of the stage act of Texas Guinan and his success led him to Broadway where he again worked as a dancer.

 

 

I think he was in Balero with a double doing the dancin'.

 

Interesting question. Looking foward to more input.

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With only a brushing acquaintance with the truth, "Broadway" offers a glimpse of the early speakeasy life of George Raft. Raft plays himself, a good idea as later attempts would prove no one else could ever portray him. It is a bowdlerized version of his time as a dancer employed in the nightclub of Texas Guinan - here renamed Lil. This George Raft is all about work, pines for only one woman, and never met a gangster he liked - so far from reality it has to provoke a smile. But its heart, and his, is in the right place.

 

The movie is completely worth seeking out for the all too brief George Raft style of dance. Too rare were the films that allowed him to exhibit that "fastest dancer in New York" technique. Raft was past 45 when he shot this and was recreating moves from his 20s, and that alone is impressive. The boy could still move! Raft's poker pal Pat O'Brien gets to play a wise cop again, and bombastic Broderick Crawford is a real scene-stealer as the bootlegging gang leader with a penchant for murder.

 

A major problem with the film is its complete neglect of setting. There is no attempt to create the styles of the late 1920s, which would have added so much atmosphere (and truth). It could have used a lot more grit as well.

 

 

http://imdb.com/title/tt0034549/

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Thanks J.B. For your input. I think the Bolero movie is the one I saw. I'm a little concerned because the previous writer said they thought there was a double doing the dancing. I don't think that is true.

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When Raft dated Betty Grable (3 years), they danced the night away in the nightclubs of Hollywood. He certainly knew how to have a good time.

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Hi,

 

I had two dealings with George Raft:

 

1) I started a campaign to get Merle Oberon an Oscar for BSA in "Desiree" and George Raft phoned me one day to say he would join the onslaught.

As it turned out Merle nixed the idea as she would have to compete in the Supporting category and Rosalind Russell advised her she would diminish her star status if she went ahead.

A couple of years later, Rosalind herself took herself out of that category for "Picnic"

George Raft proved a very pleasant gentleman even though I only talked to him over the phone.

 

2) In 1956 at Ciro's, I was dancing with Merle and George came over to introduce himself to me.

I was quite pleasantly surprised that he knew who I was and had remembered me.

Merle said he was a very high class gentleman and I concur.

 

Larry

 

Message was edited by:

vecchiolarry

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TCM showed another nice antiquated talkie a few months ago called Side Street (1929), starring Tom, Owen and Matt Moore--three real brothers--playing reel Irish American brothers who are a cop, a mobster and a doctor.

 

George Raft is uncredited but quite noticable in this film as the choreographer who, during a party in the art deco splendor of the hoodlum brother's apartment, puts a somewhat lumpy-looking chorus line through their paces. When he trips the light fantastic during the movie, things almost come to life. The man was clearly a fine dancer, (maybe a bit more skilled and comfortable as a hoofer than he ever was as an actor, imho.).

 

I once read that in Raft's early days he danced with society dames and the like at hotel tea dances and at places such as Roseland in NYC to pay the rent. It may sound like an easy gig, but reports are that one of the ways that George kept on his sore feet for so long a time was by lacing his shoes so tightly that it diminished all feeling, even though they bled as a result. Not pretty, but when one is starving...

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Probably a pretty weak twig to throw on such a substantial pile, but for what it may be worth, I just thought I'd chime in with the observation that, especially in tough-guy leading roles like "They Drive By Night" & "Manpower", if you listen to George's speaking to the female leads, his lines are spoken with a truly persuasive depth of gentleness & sincerity.

Now, certainly, I do understand that most any talented actor, of either gender or any age, is expected to convey whatever impression the character and/or script may call for; still, once in a while you catch that "vibe" from a performer that a certain aspect of dialogue actually reflects a central element of their personality, like when you hear the venerable Donald Crisp warmly lecturing a younger co-star about the tribulations of life.

Anyway, that's my take!

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I would like to reply that I once read the book "Cagney by Cagney". In it, Cagney talks about also coming from New York, being tough and being type cast as a bad guy, when he would have preferred to be a song and dance man. I also believe he says that he and George were good friends and even when they got to Hollywood they still hung around together. When they went out with friends to the 'bar' they were sometimes referred to as the Irish Mafia, because they were all Irish, but very approachable and perfect gentlemen. Not at all like the characters they played in the movies. So all of the feedback I have read here makes sense. And I am not very good at names or characters so let me ask: Was George Raft the one who played "Spats" in the movie "Some Like It Hot"? I love that film.

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> Thanks J.B. For your input. I think the Bolero

> movie is the one I saw. I'm a little concerned

> because the previous writer said they thought there

> was a double doing the dancing. I don't think that

> is true.

 

George Raft was a very good hoofer, but in Bolero, he and Carole Lombard are doubled by the popular dance team of Veloz & Yolanda in the long shots of the final dance which involve the use of lifts.

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Yes, George Raft played Spats in SOME LIKE IT HOT. I thought it was fun that he spoofed his gangster image, and he gives a good performance in the film, to boot!

 

Sandy K

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