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Invitation to the Dance
     

Invitation to the Dance

Cast: Gene Kelly, Igor Youskevitch, Claire Sombert, Carol Haney

 
MGM's Invitation to the Dance was the fruition of Gene Kelly's long-standing dream to create a plotless "concert" feature. Eschewing dialogue, Kelly tells three stories entirely through the medium of dance. The first sequence is a mime-like Pagliacci story, with Kelly as the Clown and Igor Youskevitch and

Overview

MGM's Invitation to the Dance was the fruition of Gene Kelly's long-standing dream to create a plotless "concert" feature. Eschewing dialogue, Kelly tells three stories entirely through the medium of dance. The first sequence is a mime-like Pagliacci story, with Kelly as the Clown and Igor Youskevitch and Claire Sombert as the Lovers. The second vignette, "Ring Around the Rosy," tells the story of a bracelet as it is passed from owner to owner. The best is saved till last: "Sinbad the Sailor," wherein Kelly shares screen time with a plethora of animated cartoon characters, courtesy of MGM house cartoonists William Hanna and Joe Barbera. Carol Haney appears briefly as Scheherezade, and also posed for the writhing cartoon serpent. Considered totally unsellable by the MGM higher-ups, Invitation to the Dance was shelved upon its completion in 1952, and didn't see the light of day for nearly four years.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
The entertaining Invitation to the Dance is an ambitious project that ultimately falls somewhat short of its promise; interestingly, Invitation's biggest flaw is that there is not as much dance in it as there should be. There's always movement, mind you, and more than a little bit of mime; but a film that wants to be a total celebration of dance needs to employ genuine, legitimate dance throughout. Too many portions of Dance settle for acting without words -- as in a silent movie, in other words -- instead of finding a way to use dance to convey story, character, or emotion. That said, there are a number of sequences in which dance is used properly, and these show how good the film could have been. The first section, the "Circus" segment, is very uneven; the "show" dancing and the romantic pas de deux are lovely, but the Pagliacci-like story is unconvincingly told and comes across as too melodramatic. The second "Ring Around the Rosy" sequence is a re-telling of La Ronde, but done without sufficient imagination and development, and with a tacked-on happy ending that is laughable. Yet there's a tempestuously sensual duet between Gene Kelly and Tamara Toumanova that is achingly sad, torrid, and exciting. (Kelly's choreographed movement for the partygoers, while simple, is quite effective and deserves applause.) The final "Sinbad the Sailor" segment is the most successful and is totally charming, due in large part to the fact that dance is employed to a greater extent. Kelly's decision to make the genie a child is inspired, and the use of animation adds to the appeal. The serpent dance is perhaps the most well-known, and is quite good, but Kelly's knife dance and trio with the two guards are its equal. Invitation to the Dance sometimes misses the mark, but it's still a delightful little curiosity.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/29/2011
UPC:
0883316324097
Original Release:
1956
Source:
Warner Archives
Time:
1:33:00
Sales rank:
41,125

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gene Kelly The Clown,Sinbad,The Marine
Igor Youskevitch The Lover
Claire Sombert The LOved
Carol Haney Scheherazade [Sinbad The Sailor]
David Kasday The Genie [Sinbad The Sailor]
Tommy Rall Flashy Boyfriend
Tamara Toumanova The Girl
Claude Bessy The Model [Ring Around The Rosy]
Diana Adams Hat Check Girl [Ring Around The Rosy]
Belita Femme Fatale
Daphne Dale The Wife [Ring Around The Rosy]
Irving Davies The Crooner [Ring Around The Rosy]
Sigurdur Sverrir Palsson The Husand

Technical Credits
Gene Kelly Director,Choreography,Screenwriter
Malcolm Arnold Score Composer
Joseph Barbera Animator
Ed Benedict Animator
Randall Duell Art Director
Roger Edens Score Composer
Adrienne Fazan Editor
Arthur Freed Producer
Rolf Gerard Costumes/Costume Designer
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Johnny Green Musical Direction/Supervision
Elizabeth Haffenden Costumes/Costume Designer
William Hanna Animator
Tom Howard Special Effects
Jacques Ibert Score Composer
John Hollingsworth Musical Direction/Supervision
Alfred Junge Art Director
Ray Poulton Editor
André Previn Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Fred Quimby Animator
Irving G. Ries Animator
Joseph Ruttenberg Cinematographer
Robert Watts Editor
Freddie Young Cinematographer

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