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(Twisted Sifter)   Pffft... Subby can TOTALLY out-dance these schlubs   (twistedsifter.com) divider line
    More: Cool, Fred Astaire, dance performance, Nicholas Brothers, greatest dancing, great summary of the Nicholas Brothers, National Film Registry, Stormy Weather, That's Entertainment!  
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853 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 24 Jun 2019 at 5:01 PM (3 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



11 Comments     (+0 »)
 
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2019-06-24 03:07:47 PM  
Loose shoes.
 
2019-06-24 05:04:19 PM  
Including Cab Calloway in the story makes it even cooler...
 
2019-06-24 05:27:50 PM  
There is no way that this was 1. "the first take" and 2. "unrehearsed." "Stormy Weather" was shot like most films today, with a single camera. That means that every time you see an edit to a different camera angle in the sequence -- and there are several of them -- the scene was either paused while the camera and lighting (you can see how the lighting changes significantly from edit to edit) were reconfigured, or that segments of multiple takes shot from different camera angles were stitched together to make the final version of the scene. Needless to say that if there were multiple takes, nothing was "unrehearsed" because it would be impossible to keep continuity on a spontaneouly-performed dance sequence.

The Nicholas Brothers were awesome, but there is no reason to burnish their legacy further by making up b.s. claims about them. They worked hard and practiced like hell to make scenes like this look so easy.
 
2019-06-24 05:50:29 PM  
Occasionally, I'll break this video out for my students when one of them describes a bottle flip as "amazing."
 
2019-06-24 05:53:14 PM  

Uzzah: There is no way that this was 1. "the first take" and 2. "unrehearsed." "Stormy Weather" was shot like most films today, with a single camera. That means that every time you see an edit to a different camera angle in the sequence -- and there are several of them -- the scene was either paused while the camera and lighting (you can see how the lighting changes significantly from edit to edit) were reconfigured, or that segments of multiple takes shot from different camera angles were stitched together to make the final version of the scene. Needless to say that if there were multiple takes, nothing was "unrehearsed" because it would be impossible to keep continuity on a spontaneouly-performed dance sequence.

The Nicholas Brothers were awesome, but there is no reason to burnish their legacy further by making up b.s. claims about them. They worked hard and practiced like hell to make scenes like this look so easy.


There aren't as many cuts as you think. Some cuts are nothing more than edits where the camera is more zoomed in than before the cut, not necessarily a new camera angle.

And they're really the two main dancers once the sequence started, so they could have already had their dancing nailed down. Yes, that would require rehearsal, but only between the Nicholas Brothers, not the rest of the band. SO maybe the story is that they had already rehearsed and practiced the dance themselves, they knocked their own dancing in one take, and the other shots of the band playing the music without them in the image are form a different take.

Not the legend this clip has, but also a plausible way that the story would at least have some roots in reality.
 
2019-06-24 05:54:46 PM  

Colour_out_of_Space: Occasionally, I'll break this video out for my students when one of them describes a bottle flip as "amazing."


Well, that shiat they do with the bottles is pretty goddamn impressive. Not this level of impressive, but still better than what I could do.
 
2019-06-24 05:56:14 PM  
This video features the Nicholas Brothers and is a great example of not just awesome dancing, but some pretty decent editing.

Old Movie Stars Dance to Uptown Funk
Youtube M1F0lBnsnkE
 
2019-06-24 07:20:42 PM  
I blew both my ACLs, shredded my groin and destroyed my back just thinking about trying to do that.
 
2019-06-24 07:46:16 PM  

Mikey1969: There aren't as many cuts as you think.


I can go all Zapruder on you if you'd like, but let's break it down like this: The Brothers appear at 1:30 and do a dance sequence with the band until 3:16, when they transition off screen camera right and begin a new sequence in an entirely different set. The first cut after they appear is at 1:42, and I count four more cuts before we move to the new set. I would bet money that the bandstand sequence and the staircase sequence were shot at entirely different times on entirely different sets, days or weeks apart. The bandstand sequence has some nifty dancing in it, but it isn't the thing that wowed people, so it probably isn't worth breaking down further. Still, it's 4 cuts in a 105-second sequence.

The new dual-staircase set comes in at 3:16. If we compare it to the wide shot from 1:14, it is clear that it is entirely unrelated to the set with the band. There's a cut at 3:30, just as they pop up from a split. There's definitely a new shot here -- the camera is a bit lower than it was prior to the cut and is zoomed in more (watch the flowers upstage). There's another cut to an entirely new angle at 3:34 as they start up the stairs. This shot carries through to 4:00, and then there's a new cut to a low angle on the camera-left staircase for the big sequence -- the stair-jump splits all the way to the floor, and then a bit more. That ends at 4:18 with another cut to a wide shot of them climbing the stairs, sliding down, and standing up for a bow. Oddly enough, there's a cut right at 4:35 to a close up shot for the bow. I'm guessing that they wanted to dry off some sweat or touch up lighting for their final bow. So 5 cuts in this sequence, but the last one is kind of a throwaway from the choreography standpoint, so call it 4. That's pretty good for a 90-second sequence.

The really impressive bit is the 4:00 - 4:18 sequence, with the jump splits down the stairs, the rising up from those splits on the floor, and then some fairly ordinary business across the stage until the cut. If someone is going to say "they did it on the first take," what they're probably saying is that this 18-second sequence is all one take -- which it is -- and that this was their first take of that attempt.

I would guess they're wrong on that second part -- Hollywood back then loved doing master shots and the director usually did those first, then did fill-in shots later. 4:18 - 4:35 looks like a classic Hollywood master shot: notice how wide the frame is and how the camera barely moves? My guess is that's all that's left of the first take, and the rest is insert shots.

Some cuts are nothing more than edits where the camera is more zoomed in than before the cut, not necessarily a new camera angle.

A cut is a cut. Whether it is to fix a flubbed take without resetting the camera or a new shot from a different camera angle, every cut in a single-camera shoot reflects the existence of at least two takes -- one on either side of the cut.

Within the staircase sequence, from the camera angles, I'm guessing that there was probably one full master take where they did most or all of the dance straight through as best they could. Given the physical demands of it, I wouldn't be surprised if the master shot was everything up to 4:00, then they just ran down the stairs, got into splits at the bottom, and then continued from there when the audio playback caught up -- the director's thinking was probably "we know we're doing the jump splits in an insert shot, so don't bother with them in the master." I'm guessing that the dolly shot through the audience at the beginning of the sequence was a separate partial take of just the beginning of the dance sequence, because the camera is on a boom arm (it rises up as they climb the stairs) and dollying a boom like that was probably too much work to make it worthwhile. I'd guess there were at least 3 partial takes of dancing shot tighter and from different angles. So I'd guess they did all or nearly all of the whole routine through once or twice, and then chopped it up into about :20 - :30 chunks and did each of those chunks once or twice more in medium shots to finish the sequence.
 
2019-06-25 01:11:24 AM  
Hellzapoppin' (1941) - Whitey's Lindy Hoppers w/ Dancers' Names - Harlem Congaroos
Youtube dSAOV6XEjXA
 
2019-06-25 07:36:03 AM  
They rocked it as kids.  The younger one was married to Dorothy Dandridge at one time so he had that going for him too.

Lucky Number .. Nicholas Brothers .. 1936
Youtube 7IBteauWsHA
 
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