Invitation to the Dance

A monochrome slide of a still from the 1956 Gene kelly movie 'Invitation to the Dance'.

Here’s another from the set of movie stills I mentioned a few months ago, this one from Einladung zum Tanz (‘Invitation to the Dance’), starring and directed by Gene Kelly; filmed in 1952-4 but not released until ‘56. It’s a monochrome still taken from a colour production. The three figures fully in the frame are Igor Youskevitch, Kelly, and Claire Sombert. The still corresponds roughly with the 5:10 point in this YouTube clip, though the camera angle and framing seem slightly different.

When I looked up the movie (and saw a couple of excerpts) it rang a distant bell - I suspect I watched at least some of it on TV decades ago. It’s a three-part anthology with all the narrative and drama in each part communicated solely via the media of dance and mime, a premise which reputedly alarmed Kelly’s backers at MGM who overruled his original proposal not to appear in the film himself. When the movie belatedly saw daylight it was not a success, with Kelly’s choreography and “artistic pretensions” the subject of particular criticism.