Academy Award-winner 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!
Gene Kelly both directed and starred in this groundbreaking film--the first Hollywood feature dedicated totally to dance. The opening ballet ("Circus"), loosely based on the "Pagliacci" story, centers on a circus clown (Kelly) who loves a beautiful dancer. She, however, cares for another, and the clown sacrifices his own happiness to bring the couple together. French ballerina Claire Sombert and internationally famous danseur Igor Youskevitch play the romantic pair. "Ring Around the Rosy" takes a more cynical look at relationships. It all begins when a man bestows a bracelet on his sweetheart. This piece of jewelry ultimately gets passed from person to person...until it finally ends up in the hands of the original gift giver.The delightful final sequence, "Sinbad the Sailor," is vintage Gene Kelly. This Arabian Nights tale, told in a mixture of live action and animation, has the energetic Kelly leaping, bounding, and swashbuckling his way through a cartoon world.
INVITATION TO THE DANCE is a gala of music and dance in which Gene Kelly tells three stories using dance as his sole means of artistic expression and communication. (There is no dialogue in the film.) Included is a delightful Hanna-Barbera "Sinbad the Sailor" sequence, a groundbreaking integration of animation and live action. The film was choreographed in France, and Kelly used dancers from around the world with the intention of broadening America's perception of dance.
Released in 1957 (more than four years after it was made), the film lost money for MGM.
In December 1951, Congress passed a law exempting Americans from income tax if they spent 17 of 18 months away from the States. In an effort to avoid taxation, Kelly lived and worked overseas for a time; INVITATION TO THE DANCE was choreographed in France and shot completely off American soil.
Initially Kelly didn't want to appear in the film himself, but MGM insisted that he do so.
After the second sequence ("Ring Around the Rosy") was shot, Kelly decided against using the original score by Malcolm Arnold. He hired Andre Previn to rescore the piece, but since it was already filmed, Previn had to compose his music to the already choreographed sequence, making his music fit the dancing.
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