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Alter Ego Dance Scene in Cover Girl


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Hi all,


I've been researching Gene Kelly and how he filmed the alter ego dance scene...I've found some details but nothing detailed technically. Can anyone here point me to a website or tell me how they filmed and edited that scene from a technical perspective?


Thank you and have a wonderful day :)


Susan in Louisville, KY

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There's another explanation; according to the folks who were interviewed for *Gene Kelly: Anatomy of a Dancer*, Gene Kelly danced the number twice.


Stephen Silverman, Stanley Donen biographer, says in the documentary: "It was shot twice. First the number was shot, and then the prop men came in, covered everything in black felt, and put the dance steps on the floor, in chalk, and Gene went back and danced in front of the camera for Stanley".


Clive Hirschhorn, a Kelly biographer, adds that "The routine had to be staged with a stopwatch, every beat had to be recorded. It was Stanley Donen who was offstage, clicking every beat so that it would absolutely synchronize beautifully."


*Gene Kelly: Anatomy of a Dancer* is shown from time to time on TCM


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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 13 years later...

I know this is late, but I did some quick research and, from what I read, I believe that Gene performed the dance alone both times and the camera was slightly moved so that when the film was superimposed it looked as if he was dancing beside himself. If I had to speculate, I would say that the part of the quote where Donen states (full quote and source at end) “We would have to repeat the camera moves by ourselves,…” has been misunderstood by some  as Donen dancing with Gene, when they were doing it together as dancer and director and not as dancer and dancer. 
This would make sense though as it would be impossible for Donen to look into the camera to to make sure that Gene was in the right spot while also dancing himself. Also, I imagine it would be easier for Gene to repeat the moves exactly the same way than to go to the trouble of relearning the muscle memory involved in dance to ensure he’s at the exact same distance from the original spot when all you had to do is shift the camera. 

“Donen explained to Silverman, “We would have to repeat the camera moves by ourselves, with Gene performing the dance twice to the pre-recorded sound track. I knew it could be done by having him hit the same spots the second time as he did the first, which Gene could do, and then we could film it by having the camera hit the same marks both times, which I knew I could do.””

Reference: https://cinemontage.org/dancing-with-myself/

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