Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


THE UNFINISHED DANCE (1947). Director: Henry Koster.

A little ballet student named Meg (Margaret O'Brian) idolizes an up and comer named Ariane Bouchet (Cyd Charisse, pictured) and goes so far as to cause a horrible accident to a visiting ballerina, Darina (Karin Booth), whom she thinks is a rival to Bouchet. In his film debut Danny Thomas is Meg's "uncle" and friend, and he sings a couple of songs. Young Elinor Donahue is Meg's friend, Josie. This is a remarkably naive movie in which Meg's actions aren't even seen as being indicative of a serious emotional disturbance. The movie tries hard to be moving and "significant" and all the rest, but instead it's merely borderline cloying (as is Thomas) and kind of dumb. O'Brien is perfectly cast as the strange little girl. The best scene shows the most adorable little girl in the world, practically an infant, auditioning and charming the pants off of everyone. Film composer Herbert Stothart uses Camille Saint-Saens' "The Swan" for his theme music. In real life Charisse joined the Ballet Russe at age 13.

Verdict: Very earnest movie tries hard but it's just no go. **.

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