Invitation to the Dance

PLOT:

Gene Kelly brings his remarkable talents as star, director and choreographer to this glittering gala of music, dance and pantomime – and the result is a lush, one-of-a-kind musical flight of fancy. The film has three episodes, each with its own distinct period and mood. In Circus, a clown (Kelly) in a small carnival troupe is hopelessly in love with the show’s high-wire walker. Ring Around the Rosy is a satiric tale about a bracelet which travels from the wrist of one fickle lover to another. Sinbad the Sailor blends live action and animation as Kelly dances his way into an Arabian Nights world after rubbing Aladdin’s Lamp. Showcasing talents from ballet companies of New York, Paris, London and Rome, this imaginative tour de force is a must-see for dance lovers everywhere!

What people are saying:

“When watching a Gene Kelly musical one could have the feeling that the musical numbers were interrupted by the story, not the other way round. Here Kelly finds a project with a scope big enough to fit his whole ego, finally doing away with all the story (in the way of words, at least) and leaving us with all the dancing. This criminally unseen impressionistic film opens quite a window into the imagination of one of Old Hollywood’s most prolific artists – and not quite unlike Singin’ in the Rain“, he made a movie looking at the core of what it was about to make an MGM musical: it was about being artsy, it was about being kitschy, about working with archetypes and especially about wearing tights and trying to melt icebergs by smiling at the camera.” 4 stars

“this was Kelly’s pet project- a film with dance, and only dance. No dialogue, only mime, movement and music. However to his disappointment, MGM shelved its release and when it was the film was released badly- it was too arty farty to be popular with the audiences at that time. Well, I love this film. It’s adventurous and interesting, and it’s worth a watch to appreciate all the work Kelly’s put into this work, which showcases some of the greatest dancers across many styles. So go watch this under-rated film and you will be in awe of all the talent shown before your eyes!” 4 1/2 stars

“No wonder INVITATION TO THE DANCE found no audience at the box office. The first two musical sequences, “Circus” and “Ring Around the Rosy” are monumental bores dragged down by pedestrian stories and, in the second one, inept use of camera trickery to speed up the action. But the third, “Sinbad the Sailor,” makes expert use of the Rimsky-Korsakov ballet score and makes dazzling use of animated effects, especially for the dancing between Kelly and a couple of Arabian guards which are highly original, intricate and amusing examples of combining live action with animation. It’s the kind of originality sadly missing in the previously mentioned stories. The “Sinbad” highlight almost makes up for the rest of the film with its own brand of originality–but alas, the first two sequences are enough to turn many viewers away from watching the final segment. Summing up: Easy to see why this one failed miserably to attract a target audience with either high or low brow tastes.” 1 star

“this movie is probably one of the most boring pictures I ever saw. it has got nothing to tell, except for the three little stories that are brutally forced into a concept without inspiration, but filled with unusable ideas. oh yeah, Kelly was a genius alright, but this is a perfect example of how geniuses can BEEP the BEEP up. the stories are already known to the general audience, so what I was searching for, was a novelty about them all. I was bitter when I found out Kelly only repeated himself. the story with the clown made me wonder if I washed my feet today… too bad, this truly is a movie to see while washing your feet, so you can do something useful when the torment begins. second part, the ‘crime’: really stupid and boring, it made me compare the good with the bad, and this seemed to be the ugly. the third part made me realize Kelly repeats himself over and over again, like a little child with a doll or when a kid becomes a teenager. too bad for the whole idea, this movie didn’t reach adulthood for me, it should have stayed in Kelly’s brain.” 1 star

“A series of short skits with Kelly dancing. The first is Circus which is done in a minstrel/vaudeville style. Kelly plays a mime/clown, he acts on the stage and dances in the street with a group. There are only 3 actors listed in this part and they are on stage with him, there is no talking in this part only dancing. The dancing goes from Kelly’s style to ballet with the other two actors. The story is about a guy, Kelly’s clown, falling in love with the girl who is in love with the other guy. It shows how some people will do silly and dangerous to get the person we love, in this case the clown tries to do the high wire act to impress the girl, he falls and dies. The second skit is titled Ring Around the Rosy. It involves 8 actors/dancers with Kelly and the other two from Circus. This is a more present day setting going from parties to clubs. Again no talking during the entire skit, just music. It is a series of performances of mainly couples dancing about love and love lost and temptation. The third skit is titled Sinbad the Sailor and to be obvious it has a Middle Eastern theme. After the initial scenes Kelly and a boy go on a series of animated adventures the most visually striking is when he dances with 2 guards. This is Kellys version of Fantasia and fits into the film as art movement of the early 50’s. It is interesting to view as a history of film as it is very much like watching a play on film. The animation is not as stimulating compared with Disney but it is innovative none the less.” 3 1/2 stars

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