DVD Review: Dance Crazy In Hollywood

by Emily Kate Long

Dance Crazy in Hollywood, directed by Robert Kuperberg, is a discussion with film choreographer Hermes Pan about his work with dance legends like Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth, and Cyd Charisse. The film runs just under an hour, and the companion booklet is indispensable, providing biographical information not discussed in the interviews.

The film opens with Hermes Pan describing the beginning of his dance career as being kicked out of school for dancing on the desks and tables. He and his sister supported themselves by dancing and singing as they traveled from New York City to California in the 1920s, and in 1933 Pan met Astaire and began a career-shaping partnership.

Rather than focusing in the development of a distinct choreographic style, Pan let the qualities of the dancers and films shine through. The construction of this documentary echoes that; here, the true highlights are the clips of dance sequences from films like Cleopatra, Kiss Me Kate, Silk Stockings, and Meet Me in Las Vegas.

The composition of this film lacks homogeneity and smoothness, with little flow between dance clips, interviews, and wobbly aerial shots of Los Angeles. However, the information contained herein is a valuable piece of times past—dance doesn’t get much more stylish than Old Hollywood!

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Catherine L. Tully is the owner/editor at 4dancers.org. To learn more about Catherine and the other contributors at 4dancers, see the "Contributor" tab at the top of the page. To reach Catherine, send an e-mail to info (at) 4dancers (dot) org

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