Swing Discussion Boards > Swing Dance Movies?

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by pygmalion, Feb 28, 2006.

  1. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Just curious. I ran across a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movie today -- Swing Time, I think it was called. I borrowed it, but haven't watched yet. But it's made me think.

    What are the best movies for seeing actual swing dancing, in your opinion? Not just movies that have somewhat-swingable-music with people freestyling to whatever.

    I'm wondering about movies with actual genuine swing dance -- preferably stuff that's available on popular media -- VHS or DVD. Any ideas? :)
  2. leftfeetnyc

    leftfeetnyc New Member

    Interesting topic seeing as Swing Time doesn't feature...swing dancing...

    Anyway, most movies with swing dancing in it have a stylized rendition of swing that many hard-core dancers dislike...I.E. Swing Kids...based on a true group of anti-nazi german kids who were smitten with American culture and jazz music. They would harrass kids working for the nazis and were a general disturbance to the nazi party. There's quite a bit of swing dancing in the movie, but it's choreographed to look good for the camera and not really authentic swing.

    Many swing dancers are in love with Stormy Weather which featured the Nicholas Brothers dancing some mean tap while weaving in and out of the band followed by leaping over one another and landing in splits while going down stairs.

    Day at the Races is a good one to check out for authentic older clips of swing as well as Hellzapoppin.

    Other modern movies to feature swing in some sense, Swingers, Blast from the Past, Swing.

    Upcoming is the movie with Outcast: Idlewild which, based on the trailer, features modern music from Outcast that has been "jazzified" with some modern takes on swing/charleston to fit the music.

    There are a lot more out there, a search on Yehoodi would come up with a much more detailed list.
  3. leftfeetnyc

    leftfeetnyc New Member

    Realized I didn't fully answer the question......Despite the choreography of Swing Kids it does a good job of capturing the spirit and nature of swing dancing which is really what this group of kids was about. Their fight against the nazis was somewhat passive in terms of the war, but the were kids and rebeling against authority for their own freedom which sort of embodies swing.

    The other movies, regardless of their bad dancing, do introduce a visual of the dance for non-dancers and I respect that. I veiw them in a similar vein to the GAP ad...it inspired people to dance and bad as the dancing in the video/ad may be, if it gets people into the studios or out to the clubs and learning to dance, great.

    Swing I have not seen but have heard the dancing is not that bad. Movie itself doesn't get the greatest of reviews though.

    Stormy Weather, Day at the Races, and Hellzapoppin are great bets for good dancing but may be difficult to find. I believe Stormy Weather was just released onto DVD though.

    Idlewild launches in three weeks I believe, will have better thoughts on it then.
  4. Flat Shoes

    Flat Shoes New Member

    I'm really curious about that movie. From the trailer it looks like the dancing might be good. But what about the music, and how much dancing will there be?

    I will have to see it regardless.
  5. leftfeetnyc

    leftfeetnyc New Member

    I get the impression there's a lot of dancing..it's just not all swing and not all traditional.

    I thought the same thing watching the trailer, it looks like the dancing it pretty good and ewll choreographed...of course that's based on some very short and quick clips. We'll just have to wait and see.
  6. huey

    huey New Member

    'Malcolm X' is good. My favourite is actually a Rock and Roll film with exhilarating dancing, most of which could also be done to swing music ...

    'Don't Knock The Rock'
  7. luh

    luh Active Member

    yes - the malcolm x scene is nice. I cut the dancing scene out and put it on the server poy.no - you guys should take a look at it if you haven't watched it by now.
  8. leftfeetnyc

    leftfeetnyc New Member

  9. luh

    luh Active Member

    i thought you'd just go on that server, click through vintage, clips, and check out malcolm x -but because it's you -
    http://poy.no/files/vintage/clips/malcolm x.avi

    (since it's one of the clips I've contributed i'm obviously happy that people are going to watch it!)
  10. leftfeetnyc

    leftfeetnyc New Member

    Good clip, have yet to see the movie...was awesome seeing a young Frankie and Norma in there!

  11. luh

    luh Active Member

    they weren't that young by than.
  12. leftfeetnyc

    leftfeetnyc New Member

    .......younger than they are now.......
  13. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Speaking of dance movies -- not swing, sorry, but still seminal footage and the right era, IMO -- did anybody besides me hear the NPR review about a week ago of a recently-released DVD box set that features two or three films of the Nicholas Brothers? It sounded phenomenal. I'll have to check the NPR website and see if I can find the buying information. I want to see those films. One of them had the Nicholas Brothers singing and (tap) dancing to -- get this -- the Glenn Miller Orchestra, directed by Glenn Miller himself.

    I'd love to see it, just 'cause I bet there's a lot of good period music and dance other than just (like I said) the phenomenal descriptions of the brothers' tap routines.
  14. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

  15. leftfeetnyc

    leftfeetnyc New Member

    Glen Miller/Nicholas Brothers + Stormy Weather.

    Didn't know there was a box set, great to hear and a must buy!
  16. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    My thoughts exactly. :cool: The reviewer described some must-see scenes -- something about head over head flips, tap dancing down the stairs, landing in a full split. Gotta see it. Gotta see it. :cool:
  17. leftfeetnyc

    leftfeetnyc New Member

  18. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    OMG! I've gotta get that video. I saw Tap, of course, and was blown away -- remember the challenge scene? Wow. But how old were they then? Pretty old. I've gotta see the older footage. It sounds incredible ... in a good way. :D
  19. leftfeetnyc

    leftfeetnyc New Member

    They both recently passed away, they were probably in their 20s or so in that footage...I have nothing near me to check on the accuracy of that though.
  20. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I'd have to google to get their actual ages. I think one of them passed away a decade or so ago and another about five years ago. But that's just a guess. To me, the important part is their dancing. They were totally amazing, and they still are. What's the Glover guy's first name? (the little kid in Tap.) He's amazing, too, and he's sharing the legacy with kids of our generation. But the Nicholas Brothers were unique. I don't think there'll ever be anyone quite like them. :notworth:

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