Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cyd Charisse (1921-2008)

The cinema's greatest legs are dancing up to heaven today. Cyd Charisse will get there quickly: the length, the extension, the body flight! She'll be there in two or three grand jetées. When I think of Charisse, my heart usually leaps straight to Brigadoon. It appears in my mind's eye far more often than its fairytale time table of once every 100 years.

I don't think there was a screen romance in my childhood movie loving that felt as sympatico as the one between Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse, two phenomenal musical stars and raven haired beauties. How they swooned over each other. I can hear Gene breathily singing to/falling for her right now...
The mist of May is in the gloamin', and all the clouds are holdin' still.
So take my hand and let's go roamin' through the heather on the hill.
The mornin' dew is blinkin' yonder. There's lazy music in the rill,
And all I want to do is wander through the heather on the hill.
I fell in love right along with him, and in both directions, too. They remain one of my favorite screen couples. Cyd, who was 87 years old and one of the last surviving goddesses of the screen musical's heyday, was born Tula Ellice Finklea. Old Hollywood always changed the names to add glamour, simplicity and marquee snap. She will be missed.

4 comments:

Liz said...

Such a shame! She really did come from a different era, and she will be greatly missed.

Janice said...

Does it seem like we've had quite a lot of cinema-related deaths lately or is it just that the names of those passing are more significant than usual?

I hope you are feeling better, Nate. Not having health insurance sucks (I've been there. Are you listening, Obama?)

Campaspe said...

So glad someone else remembers Brigadoon fondly.

Anonymous said...

I liked the Manola Dargis write up where Charisse said her favorite dance number was "Dancing in the "Dark" from "The Bandwagon" with Fred Astaire. That's my favorite too! The dance critic Arlene Croce said that in Astaire movies, the dancing WAS the sex, and that's so clear in that number.

Lovely Cyd.