3 comments on “Some Favorite Dances from Films Made In A Few Western Countries in the 1930s

  1. Oh, nice, Richard! This was enjoyable (and I’m so glad – and of course, not surprised in the least – that you didn’t post the ‘Sheeva’ dance from The Tiger of Eschnapur/The Indian Tomb!) That opening segment from the Princesse Tam Tam dance looked so familiar – I’ve seen that done a lot in Hindi film dances, especially in the 60s. Tumne mujhe dekha and Suku suku have shades of that, I think.

  2. Madhu and AK, I am glad you liked this.

    AK, that was a very pleasing one-word response. Many thanks – no need to add anything more to that. :)

    Madhu, you are right that I definitely did not consider posting the dance that you mentioned. In contrast to that, I hope that the Jessie Matthews dance shows that a fake Indian dance from a western country can actually be good and intentionally funny. (But when I saw that and posted it, I was thinking about your blog posts about such matters. :) )

    Meanwhile, I think that the shades of the Princesse Tam Tam dance that you saw in those other dances could be traced back to Busby Berkeley.

    By the way, Cassidy aka Minai talked about a couple of Busby Berkeley-influenced South Indian film dances from the ’30s in her blog (at http://cinemanrityagharana.blogspot.com/2013/10/two-more-busby-berkeley-inspired-top.html), but she was specifically referring to the aerial shots. She had also mentioned those kinds of shots in one film in an earlier post (http://cinemanrityagharana.blogspot.com/2012/10/dance-in-early-indian-cinema-some-video.html), and I just realized, looking at that post again, that somewhere in the text she linked to another dance in the same Busby Berkeley film that I posted from above – i.e., Palmy Days. (Actually, I don’t think I was even aware of that before… I don’t think I followed all the links in that long post first time around. :) And I didn’t watch dances from that film until pretty recently, well after she did that post.)

    Anyway, as i said in a comment at Minai’s, I had heard people say that Busby Berkeley was a big influence on Bollywood films. Actually, I think the people who said that were attributing a more general influence to him than existed, but his techniques obviously can be seen in Indian films here and there from the ’30s through the ’60s and maybe beyond. :)

    I noticed, though, that in Princesse Tam Tam there seems to be more of a European Dadaist or Surrealist quality to the scene. The particular artificial and geometric quality of some of the costumes reminded me of some costumes I had seen in pictures of plays from the Dada movement. But outside of that, that sequence is very Busby Berkeley-influenced!

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