Sunday, 17 August 2008
Sunday Night is...
Double dose. The first is Eleanor Powell dancing in 1936, the second is from Gold Diggers of 1935, Busby Berkeley's masterpiece.
There is something languorous and ultra-disciplined about Powell's dancing. 'Why! This means war!' say those legs and hips, while the unflinching smile reassures, 'Yes, but it really won't hurt'. This is aboard the USS Imperialism, heading over the wide seas with the help of Uncle Sigmund and his spick 'n' span gun barrels.
So one jokes - so I, for one, joke - but these thirties dance numbers all have a strong undercurrent of nightmare. The greatest of them is Berkeley's Lullaby of Broadway that I featured here a long time ago but roll out again. Both are works of peculiar minor genius. Except the Berkeley is more than minor. The underbelly of the zeitgeist gets up, slithers, prances, draws itself up to its full monstrous height, stamps, salutes, marches and dances.
The great advantage of the US model over the Soviet and Nazi, is that it is human and forgives failure. Oh, and the sex. And sex is, after all, something like this.
Oh, please yourselves.