Wednesday, April 14, 2010

How do you say in English, "parachute?"

First off, I need to apologize for the weirdly long delay in my telling the answer to last week's quote of the week. Not that you needed the answer. Everyone pretty much seemed to recognize it. Hooray for you!! For those who didn't know, the quote was from Guys and Dolls.

Now, continuing my list of dancing ladies. I realized today that I really cut myself short by waiting so long to start this list. It means I'll have to do several compromises: Ladies 7 & 8 will be posted on one post, I'll have to post the completed list on the same day as I reveal Lady #1, and I shall have to postpone my answers to Kate and Millie's super cool survey. I hope you will forgive these compromises. In the meantime, let's get to the list!

10. Leslie Caron

this photo is courtesy of Doctor Macro. Click on the photo for source

Favorite dance: An American in Paris

Okay, so this answer is slightly ambiguous. I mean the ballet, right? Or perhaps I mean the movie as a whole? Or maybe I'm referring to a dance in the film that doesn't actually have a name? Well, kind of all three. You see, I'm torn between loving about 30 seconds of the ballet (which cannot be found on YouTube) and the introduction to Lise (which can). Here is the introduction to Lise.

When I think of Leslie Caron, I think of a few things. I think of Father Goose, I think of her reading a book whilst doing difficult dance moves (see above), I think of her walking on her toes behind Gene Kelly in the American in Paris ballet, and I think of "Something's Gotta Give." Those 30 seconds I mentioned above refers to the part where she walks on her toes behind Gene Kelly, shaking her head. I don't know why, but I think that part is adorable. I've loved it since I was a kid and I have memories of attempting (and failing, of course) to imitate her.

This is the 30 seconds I love. Click on photo for source.

I really like Leslie Caron but I'm often forgetting about her, which is why she's so low on my list. She's a brilliant and beautiful dancer. When I watch her dance, I wonder why I don't watch more of her. Here's the reason: I don't care for her roles or her films very much. I don't really care for the plots of An American in Paris, Daddy Long Legs, or Gigi. All of which are pretty much quintessential Caron films. I'm not sure why I don't like An American in Paris though; perhaps it requires rewatching? I rewatched Daddy Long Legs about a month ago and didn't care for it too much. I'll write a post on that eventually. And I really didn't like Gigi at all. I thoroughly disliked the plot and the romance. Father Goose is the only movie of hers that I really, truly like and she's quite awful in it (not awful acting-wise, mind you).

However, there's something intriguing about the young French dancer. She always seemed so young and so prodigiously talented. My sister was telling me about how Gene Kelly made Debbie Reynolds cry during the filming of Singin' in the Rain. Fred Astaire was walking through the set (inexplicably, I suppose) and found her crying under the piano. He comfoted her and, I guess, helped her with her dancing. I think this story is adorable, but it brings up so many questions to me. Some are dealing with Gene Kelly as a director and a person, which I won't get into because it's horribly off-topic. But mostly, why did Gene Kelly cast Debbie Reynolds in a dancing role if she wasn't a very strong dancer? It isn't as if there was a shortage of good female dancers in Hollywood. During this discussion, my sister suggested Leslie Caron as a viable candidate. And it makes complete sense. Why didn't he pick someone like Leslie Caron? She would have totally pulled off the fiesty and sometimes condescending Kathy Seldon character. Now, I'm not saying Debbie Reynolds was miscast because I love her in that movie. It's just something to think about.

Isn't this photo of her absolutely stunning?? Click on photo for source.

One of my favorite Leslie Caron dances is actually the "Slew Foot" dance in Daddy Long Legs. It makes me wonder why she didn't do more of that kind of dancing. She was really good at it. I didn't choose to feature this one because it's really quite hard to find good dancing solos from the female dancers. They just didn't seem to do it as often. And since Leslie Caron has a perfectly good solo dance available, it made more sense to feature that.


  1. I ADORE LESLIE CARON! I think she's just adorable. As a matter of fact, I have her autobiography right on my desk next to me (which I still have to read). I didn't like the plots to An American in Paris or Daddy Long Legs either, but I did like her in Gigi! I still want to check out Lili and Fanny but I haven't found it at the library yet :( Haha I always love that part too where she's on her toes and slightly bent-over. I hate the fact that they keep pairing her with substantially older men, yet they play it off like it's no big deal (mostly Daddy Long Legs). It's too bad she didn't make a lot of really good least, that's what I think. Hmm I'll have to check out Father Goose too! Oh and that first picture you posted is one of my favorite pictures of her!

  2. Oh my goodness! You have to watch Father Goose! It's so funny! She's a little older in that one and she's paired with Cary Grant. It was one of my favorites growing up.

  3. I think she's really cute, and a great dancer. But I've never been able to watch any of her films in whole. I've tried both An American in Paris and Gigi, and didn't quite make it through either of them. I think I will try An American in Paris again though!


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