One Person's Opinion

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Everyone remembers Singing In the Rain, the justly famous 1952 MGM movie musical that routinely makes lists of the best films of all time. The film is full of great scenes-- Gene Kelly's iconic scene singing the title track while dancing in the middle of the street in the rain is, of course, one of the most famous scenes in movie history. People also remember Donald O'Connor singing "Make 'Em Laugh" with enough slapstick to fill two Laurel and Hardy movies, and a young Debbie Reynolds as the love interest of Kelly's character.

They needed a professional dancer to dance the ballet dream sequence opposite Kelly, so they turned to the "best legs in Hollywood", which belonged to one Cyd Charisse. Charisse was not a conventional looking actress, but she was lithe and graceful, and could contort her body in the direction of the demure or the seductive. And the resulting scene, which can be seen here and here, is so well done one can argue that it is not only as good a scene as any in the movie, but one of the best dance sequences ever filmed.

Charisse acted as well as danced, and got some good lead and supporting roles, the best of which (such as Silk Stockings, a remake of Garbo's Ninotchka) traded on her slightly exotic air, but she never achieved the kind of fame that famous hoofers like Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, and Kelly did. That's too bad-- they'll be watching that scene from Singing In the Rain as long as anyone cares to watch movies.

Charisse died yesterday at the age of 86. At the risk of sounding beyond my years, they don't make them like her anymore.


Just wanted to say I am intrigued by your blog. I came upon based upon an interesting comment you left on Balkinization (the one by Levinson on Heller), and have been reading through several of your posts from last 5 years, each very good.

Although I disagree with a good deal of what you say (I'm a sort of "Randy Barnett" libertarian), I enjoy your persuasive writing and frank, objective discussion of events. So I'm subscribing to your blog, and wanted to say thanks and keep up the good work.
Achhh! No RSS feed?! I hope you will remedy this, I would love to subscribe to your blog, and the relative infrequency of some of your posting would make subscribing the preferred way to go.
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