Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Big Street (1942)

Have you all watched The Big Street (1942), starring Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda yet? If you have not done so, please find a way to get a hold of this movie!

Lucille Ball plays Gloria, a materialistic and nasty nightclub singer who gets pushed down a flight of stairs by a rich man and becomes crippled and ill of health.Henry Fonda, or Pinks, is enamored of her. He takes her under his wing and takes great care of her after she becomes crippled.

Gloria is not only unappreciative, but she is mean to all of Pink's family and friends. In short, she is a bitch.

Of course, she turns over a new leaf towards the end of the movie, and dies soon. It's so tragic.

It pains me to call Gloria/Lucille a bitch, but I'm actually complimenting her. Her role calls for her to be a bitch, and she was so reluctant to take up the role because she knew that audiences will typecast an actor according to the role in media. However, she gave her very best and she was fantastic in the movie.

Lucille's favorite movie that she was the proudest of is The Big Street!
I've seen publicity pictures of Lucille in a beautiful gown, dancing gracefully and all, but this scene was nowhere to be found in the entire movie! I was befuddled and disappointed, because I very much wanted to see Lucille dance. She was so breathtaking and perfect when she danced with Van Johnson in I Love Lucy.

Well, anyway, here's what I discovered.

Choreographer Christopher Hales was engaged to create a dance for Lucille. Publicity shots of her rehearsing and performing her Rhumba solo were taken, but it did not make it into the final cut of the movie, except for the glimpse we see Gloria perform from waist up in the hospital bed when she discovered that she was paralyzed.

Says Hale, "Lucille is tall lithe and willowy, and has much talent as a dancer. She has a beautiful back, holds herself well, and is extremely graceful."

Now, Lucille wasn't very good in her singing when she grew older, especially after I Love Lucy ended. She had  injured her voice throat thanks to the ill advice of a vocal singer while doing the Broadway musical, Wildcat. If you had watched the movie Dance, Girl, Dance, you'll be amazed by her singing! It wasn't a perfect ten but it was better than average.

Now, though Lucille couldn't sing well, she certainly had a huge talent in dancing. Plus with all the nightclub dancing with her Rhumba teacher, Desi Arnaz, she became quite accomplished in her own right!

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