Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Nothing beats a great pair of legs

My students hate the "Broadway Melody" sequence. Every time I show Singin' in the Rain (which is practically every semester, since it is a great film to reference throughout any film course), I always brace myself when we get to the big number about three-quarters' through the film. It stops the plot dead with absolutely no relevance to what has come before and it will take about 17 minutes for us to return to the story at hand. No matter that this was the reason why audiences went to see the film back in 1952, my students generally hate the sequence.

But oh, those legs. No one can deny those legs.

Every time I see Singin' in the Rain -- which, between my classes and my son, is often -- I still get chills every time those green-clad legs come on screen. I remember that even as a kid, I was mesmerized by those legs. Cyd Charisse never says a single word and yet, in this spectacle-within-the-film, she has a brilliantly executed character arc, created only by dance. And while the movie isn't done in widescreen, Charisse's stretched legs certainly makes it seem otherwise.

Charisse's passing follows the other greats from the film: Lina Lamont (1977), Don Lockwood (1996), Cosmo Brown (2003); only spunky Kathy Seldin remains with us. Each one dancing into the afterlife makes me thankful for the wonderful world they left behind. Mme. Charisse, you will be missed.


Anonymous said...

Aww, I'm so sad to hear that she died.


p.s. Have you seen this?

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