Analysis Of The Unfinished Dance, By Margaret O ' Brien

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This weekend Christina Wehner is hosting the En Pointe Blogathon, a three-day event celebrating films that spotlight that beautiful and centuries old form of dance known as ballet. One of the most overlooked Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer films of the 1940s - The Unfinished Dance - just so happens to revolve around ballet, and so I have chosen to call attention to this rarity as well as to Ballerina ( 1937 ) which was based on the same story. Both of these pictures are about a ballet student who accidentally cripples a famous ballerina when she throws the switch on the onstage trap door, causing the dancer to plummet to her career-ending doom. "Is she dead?" "She broke her leg..... For a dancer, it is worse than death" In The Unfinished Dance (…show more content…
While The Unfinished Dance bears some resemblance to the original film, it cannot - and should not - be compared to Ballerina as a remake. They are two separate films with marked differences. One major contrast between them is the underlying theme of the pictures. In Ballerina, it is all about the dance. To dance is to live; to dance is to breathe. "The Dance is greater than all our personal troubles," remarks Karine in one scene. In The Unfinished Dance, Meg 's guilt takes center stage. Ballet becomes Meg 's redemption. Director Henry Koster did a wonderful job of creating a disquieting atmosphere of tension in all of the scenes featuring O 'Brien. Meg is a hapless victim of a foolish and childish prank that she herself conceived and her guilt causes her to see the jail bars closing in on her. Every whisper is a personal threat to her safety. Every policeman an agent of Justice out to capture her. Margaret O 'Brien plays out the psychological tension that Meg feels with great skill, especially considering she was only nine-years-old at the time of filming, while Koster treats these sequences as though it were Robert Mitchum on the screen, running from another thoughtless crime he committed in haste. However, audiences didn 't appreciate this peek into the mind of a child criminal, and the film lost nearly $1,800,000 upon its release. It was the only Joe

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