Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Forgotten Movies: THE UNFINISHED DANCE



Margaret O'Brien is my favorite child actor. She could really nail those hyper-emotional scenes and this movie is full of them. Margaret plays a child at a dance school whose infatuation and strange anger management issues lead her to injure a ballerina (Cyd Charisse) who comes to the school to dance in a recital. A little like BLACK SWAN, this is a pretty scary film. Although apparently the French version goes even further in portraying a possible sociopath in the making. O'Brien does all her own dancing and had been studying dance since age two. An interesting and rarely shown film. It does sound like a Megan Abbott novel, doesn't it?

9 comments:

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Wow, I can't believe I'd never even heard of this one.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Me either. I wonder, after time, if it began to seem too dark to the studio for how they wanted to portray Margaret.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

I always think of her as bratty Tootie in MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS.

George said...

Yes, THE UNFINISHED DANCE does sound like a Megan Abbott novel. Like Jeff, I haven't seen this but I will look for it.

Jennifer Croissant said...

Jeff, she only missed out on star billing in that movie because Judy was such a massive superstar at the time, people often forget about the actual levels of stardom that Margaret achieved back in the 40`s.

Ambrose The Fair said...

Patti, Jeff, George, Jennifer, have any of you seen the marvellous 1949 version of "The Secret Garden" also starring Margaret ?, i think its the best ever version (although admittedly the BBC`s 1975 adaptation was superb as well), its so charming and magical, really capturing the essence of Frances Hodgson Burnetts superb book. BTW, just to put things into perspective even more: The BBC`s adaptation was over three hours with the 1949 version clocking in at only ninety minutes, but i`d still give the edge to Margarets version, its a classic.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Adore Secret Garden and Journey for Margaret.

Jennifer Croissant said...

Yes, the 1949 version is very good and the Yorkshire accents always make me fall off my chair laughing.

J F Norris said...

It's Karin Booth as La Darina who is the target of the malicious prank. Cyd Charisse is the teacher/dancer who O'Brien admires. Very young Elinor Donahue and Danny Thomas in the cast, too! What an odd idea for a movie. I wonder if it was intended to be some sort of post-war allegory. I think it would be dull if it were grown women as the dancers rather than children. It's all the more nasty watching children behave so spitefully and plotting in secret.