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Remembering Vera-Ellen


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February 16th of 2011 marks the 90th birthday of the late Vera-Ellen (1921-81)--indisputably one of the greatest of Hollywood's dancing ladies. And yet, I'm drawing a blank as to when TCM has ever acknowledged her in a particular way. At the very least, could she not be the programming subject for one of the "Summer Under the Stars" evenings? There's so many wonderful musicals which were brightened by her presence--White Christmas, Three Little Words, Call Me Madam, On the Town, as well as others. And what a brilliant partner for Kelly, Astaire, O'Connor, and Kaye!

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How I miss this wonderful lady! I've loved everything she did in the movies. I would be hard-pressed to come up with a favorite musical number she appeared in. Certainly one of the best is her duet with Gene Kelly in "Words and Music." They did a terrific dance to "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" . I love it every time I see it. She played completely against type in this number, shedding her good-girl image. But when I think of it, she was wonderful in everything she did.

 

Terrence.

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Thanks, Daria. I'm glad that we share the same opinion about that wonderful dancer.

FMC recently showed "Three Little Girls in Blue". It's definitely a minor musical, but she really shines in it. While the rest of the cast is very good, she's the one who really gets to display her talents.

 

Terrence.

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"Let's Be Happy" (1957) was a pleasant surprise. Vera-Ellen and Tony Martin were charming. The movie won me over more as a light comedy than as a musical. Mitzi Gaynor came on the scene around 1951, 5 or 6 years after Vera-Ellen had established herself. At the time, some noted Gaynor appeared to be somewhat of an imitation of V-E. To me, there was no contest between the two. Vera-Ellen was a more appealing performer and a better dancer.

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