Jump to content

 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
Sign in to follow this  
slaytonf

Many movies about ballet, but not many of actual ballets.

Recommended Posts

TCM's airing of The Red Shoes (1948) got me thinking about ballet in movies.  There are lots of them about the dancers and their lives, or with dance numbers that are, well, at least balletic.  But unlike stage musicals I don't know of any that are made of actual ballets, except for Dr. Coppelius (1966), a movie adaptation of the beloved Coppelia.  You'd think something like Swan Lake at least would have been made into a movie, and to be sure, there do seem to be some theatrical releases of ballets.  But they all appear to be just filmed stage performances.  One explanation might be that while musicals have a wide appeal, ballets are more limited, if not elite.  On the other hand operas have been made into movies, maybe not at a great rate, but certainly not unknown.  But operas have singing, and even if it's artsy, that still has more appeal than performing astonishing physical feats mutely.  If we can't sing like Callas or Pavarotti, we can at least hum a tune.  Not so an arabesque or plié.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, slaytonf said:

 and to be sure, there do seem to be some theatrical releases of ballets. 

- The Royal Ballet (1960) - Concert highlights of Margot Fonteyn in Swan Lake,  Ondine and The Firebird

- Tales of Beatrix Potter (1971) - Dancers in mice and bunny heads

peterrabbit3.jpg

- George Balanchine's The Nutcracker (1993) and Nutcracker: the Motion Picture (1986) - The kid-friendly version with ex-ballet-class Macaulay Culkin inserted for box-office, and the gorgeous and iconic, if not...quite so kid-friendly Maurice Sendak-designed former Pacific Northwest production.

89fc3604912e54cd14905e9db8d02df9.jpg hqdefault.jpg

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I assume you don't consider Breakin' to be balletic....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, slaytonf said:

TCM's airing of The Red Shoes (1948) got me thinking about ballet in movies.  There are lots of them about the dancers and their lives, or with dance numbers that are, well, at least balletic.  But unlike stage musicals I don't know of any that are made of actual ballets, except for Dr. Coppelius (1966), a movie adaptation of the beloved Coppelia.  You'd think something like Swan Lake at least would have been made into a movie, and to be sure, there do seem to be some theatrical releases of ballets.  But they all appear to be just filmed stage performances.  One explanation might be that while musicals have a wide appeal, ballets are more limited, if not elite.  On the other hand operas have been made into movies, maybe not at a great rate, but certainly not unknown.  But operas have singing, and even if it's artsy, that still has more appeal than performing astonishing physical feats mutely.  If we can't sing like Callas or Pavarotti, we can at least hum a tune.  Not so an arabesque or plié.

The last time I saw a musical in a movie theater it was a ballet movie of Balanchine's "The Nutcracker", starring the" Home Alone" kid who was popular then.

Also there have been a few television movie/ specials of ballets. The most famous one being Baryshnikov's "The Nutcracker".

And there was a Balanchine "Nutcracker" as a television movie/ special in the 1950s.

 BTW-- A plie' is not that hard to do.  But you're right:

it's going to be a lot harder to attempt a triple pirouette or a tour jete'.  LOL

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Princess of Tap said:

The last time I saw a musical in a movie theater it was a ballet movie of Balanchine's "The Nutcracker", starring the" Home Alone" kid who was popular then.

Not a favorite of mine.

3 minutes ago, Princess of Tap said:

Also there have been a few television movie/ specials of ballets. The most famous one being Baryshnikov's "The Nutcracker".

If it's the one with Gelsey Kirkland, that's my favorite.

3 minutes ago, Princess of Tap said:

 BTW-- A plie' is not that hard to do.  But you're right:

it's going to be a lot harder to attempt a triple pirouette or a tour jete'.  LOL

You have exposed my ignorance of ballet moves.  Yet I doubt if you see many pliés in public.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, slaytonf said:

Not a favorite of mine.

If it's the one with Gelsey Kirkland, that's my favorite.

You have exposed my ignorance of ballet moves.  Yet I doubt if you see many pliés in public.

Have you taken ballet?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, I just like to watch.  It started when I happened across the Baryshnikov/Kirkland Nutcracker on YT.   Combined with the Red Shoes (1948) and Moira Shearer's work in Tales of Hoffman (1951), I looked for ballets that were mentioned, and got hooked.  What the dancers do can be astonishing and heart-stopping.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, slaytonf said:

Yet I doubt if you see many pliés in public.

Ha Ha- I meekly admit I am guilty of doing this! I get horrific Charlie Horses in my calves. They can strike at any time and make it impossible to continue walking until I've controlled the spasm. So, when I'm standing in a line in public, I (hopefully discretely) perform demi pliés. I don't do them from any traditional ballet or jazz position or accompany them with any arm movements (which I'm sure would get me attention 😄) but it really does help.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am not a ballet fan but I saw The Red Shoes last night for the first time and thought it was very good 7/10. Surprisingly my favorite sequence was the Red Shoes ballet, it was a great combination of color. dance and some dazzling direction. I thought the framing story of Moira Shearer and the two men dragged a bit but the powerful ending makes up for it. 

Black Swan  (2010) is my favorite film about the ballet, it really captures how difficult and how physically brutal it can be. 

There was a film of Romeo And Juliet (1966) which was a filmed record of the Royal Ballet  performance. I never saw it but it is an example of an actual ballet on film.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, sagebrush said:

Ha Ha- I meekly admit I am guilty of doing this! I get horrific Charlie Horses in my calves. They can strike at any time and make it impossible to continue walking until I've controlled the spasm. So, when I'm standing in a line in public, I (hopefully discretely) perform demi pliés. I don't do them from any traditional ballet or jazz position or accompany them with any arm movements (which I'm sure would get me attention 😄) but it really does help.

I do Achilles tendon stretches in public if I'm having a problem and those are the stretches that we did before ballet class-- just like the athletes.

But also a plie'-type stance is recommended for anyone bending over to pick up a heavy object.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
48 minutes ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

There was a film of Romeo And Juliet (1966) which was a filmed record of the Royal Ballet  performance. I never saw it but it is an example of an actual ballet on film.

This and many other stage performances of ballets have been filmed for movies and TV.  But ballets made as movies include only as far as I know Dr. Coppelius (1966) as I mentioned above, and The Nutcracker (1986, 1993).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, Fedya said:

I assume you don't consider Breakin' to be balletic....

:D 

I'd say as much as STOMP THE YARD is!  ;) 

And while we're at it, let's SHOW those of us shy of any ballet training and knowledge( and interest) what y'all's talking about! (and like most instructional YouTube clips, some time is wasted in the beginning with needless gab)

 

Sepiatone

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, Sepiatone said:

:D 

I'd say as much as STOMP THE YARD is!  ;) 

And while we're at it, let's SHOW those of us shy of any ballet training and knowledge( and interest) what y'all's talking about! (and like most instructional YouTube clips, some time is wasted in the beginning with needless gab)

 

Sepiatone

Warning!

  Be careful not to force your turnout if you don't have ballet experience or a natural turnout.

Turnout is acquired by ballet teachers instructing young people who are growing and have not yet achieved maturity.

If full grown adults force turnout, they can seriously damage their knees and hip sockets as well.

You can still take ballet class and enjoy yourself as an adult, but don't expect to have and certainly don't try to have turnout like Baryshnikov.

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well....THIS adult( pushing 70, and with stenosis) could barely do a  DEMI PLIE'  with out sounding like I'm preparing popcorn while reciting a hissing-like "Aieee!" or

"OY!"  ;) 

Sepiatone

  • Haha 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A question I have about THE RED SHOES (since it's still fresh in my memory from Sat night's showing) is: how was the scene in which Victoria is running to the balcony above the train platform filmed?

Possibly, the film was sped up to look like her feet were truly possessed. Possibly, it wasn't really a stairwell she was descending, but in fact a ramp with stairs painted on it to look as though she was running down a stairwell      ( we can see the camera cut three times during this tense moment. )

Even in her running, her feet are fluttering as a ballet dancer does on stage to simulate having covered a lot of territory.  I find it hard to believe that even the great Moira Shearer could descend a staircase at that speed with her feet so feathery and not have it be extremely dangerous in Pointe Shoes.

Anyone have the scoop? Maybe I'm just over-thinking it?

Here's the scene (it starts at the 4:10 marker)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, sagebrush said:

Possibly, the film was sped up to look like her feet were truly possessed. Possibly, it wasn't really a stairwell she was descending, but in fact a ramp with stairs painted on it to look as though she was running down a stairwell      ( we can see the camera cut three times during this tense moment. )

Even in her running, her feet are fluttering as a ballet dancer does on stage to simulate having covered a lot of territory.  I find it hard to believe that even the great Moira Shearer could descend a staircase at that speed with her feet so feathery and not have it be extremely dangerous in Pointe Shoes.

Least of all a metal spiral staircase.  😱   It's clearly sped-up and edited, and the music only gives it the feel of being "fluid" motion.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, sagebrush said:

Possibly, the film was sped up to look like her feet were truly possessed. Possibly, it wasn't really a stairwell she was descending, but in fact a ramp with stairs painted on it to look as though she was running down a stairwell      ( we can see the camera cut three times during this tense moment. )

You can slow the speed of the clip in the settings.  When you do that, you see she is actually running down the stairs.  As for whether the speed was artificially increased, I would think any ballerina worth her salt, let alone a prima ballerina could manage the footwork without a problem.  As for the multiple shots of her descending, the logistics of craning down a Technicolor camera--an unwieldy beast in the best of circumstances-- in a spiral would argue for a segment of a stair, with takes stitched together to match the length of the overture music it is paired with.  It's only about fifteen or so steps per shot.  Inspection reveals it's two takes spliced together.  The slight discontinuity could also be argued for on artistic grounds, expressing her disjointed state of mind.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know how they filmed the scene; however, remember that The Red Shoes is a Hans C.A. "fairy tale." and they often end tragically.  I love the ballet but feel it isn't realistic.  Interesting commentary from Ben M. about how young Moira S. was and how she gave up ballet at 27 and did not like acting.  As for The Nutcracker, two comments:  when I was a young girl, there was a TV version introduced by Eddie Arnold (Green Actors - I think his wife was a ballet dancer).  When I went to NYC five years ago, I got tickets to the American Ballet Theater's Sleeping Beauty:  Same composer, good music, not a showcase for a prima ballerina (or male equivalent).  I still enjoyed it.

 

As for ballet films, I like the story and the dancing in The Turning Point (also the interplay between Shirley M. and Anne B. - the latter's dancing sequence seemed tailored to her abilities and to an aging star's).  Barish... seemed to be playing his real self re: sleeping with various ballerinas et alia.  Great dancer though.  It was nice seeing some of the dancers whom I recognized in the benefit or opening night numbers.

 

I just remembered that another ballet star/ballet I saw on TV was Edward Villela (sp?) in Harlequin.

 

While I love The Red Shoes (Michael Powell was married to Martin S.'s film editor), I wasn't in the mood to watch it last night.

 

Excuse typos.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, chaya bat woof woof said:

I love the ballet but feel it isn't realistic

You're right there.  But it isn't meant to be.  As Brad and Ben discuss, movie techniques are used to convey the experience of the dancers as well as show the ballet, especially Vickie Page.  In the later parts, the figures of her partner Boleslawsky, Lermontov, and Craster are interchanged, expressing her conflicting emotions about the male figures in her life, professional colleagues, authority figures, and lovers.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are a lot of really spectacular special effects in this film for the time. I was impressed by all the appearances and disappearances and dramatic scene and character changes in the ballet sequence.

What language is that in the subtitles? There are some really crazy characters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

What language is that in the subtitles? There are some really crazy characters.

I believe it's Korean.

  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bewitched Love - Falla's famous ballet in film form. This was nominated for an academy award for foreign language film in 1968.

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I enjoy "Red Shoes", it is an extraordinary piece of cinema,  but the type of ballet movies which intrigue me are the full-length ballet movies which have no dialogue, just ballet and music.  This might be the wrong thread to be inquiring about this but TCM showed two or three of the "No dialogue, just ballet and music" full length movies a few years ago in succession.  I believe TCM has three full length feature movies of just ballet and music, no dialogue, and the other is a movie short in their inventory or use to have them.  If anyone knows the titles of these movies I would be deeply appreciative.  Please and thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like to know them too, 'cause like it's said---

"To be forewarned is to be forearmed."  ;) 

Sepiatone

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

© 2020 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...