Jazz Hams! It’s time to begin our season of devotion to the master: Bob Fosse.
This is the second episode of the Fossepocalypse because way-back-when (Episode 17, November 27, 2018) we began the Fossepocalypse with KISS ME, KATE. Inspired by the impending miniseries Fosse/Verdon, we have now committed to the Fossepocalypse completely: we will watch his entire musical filmography (plus a few bonus works) in chronological order (or as close to it as we can manage). By doing so, we will be able to track the evolution of his choreography, his directorial style, and his self-destruction.
This week we begin with his first choreography credit for a whole movie: MY SISTER EILEEN (which is just WONDERFUL TOWN by a different road). (Mike and Vinnie had never even heard of this one, of course.) Still hoping to make it as a star himself, Fosse leveraged his contract as choreographer into an acting role as well. He may not have become the next Fred Astaire, but we did get the amazing “Alley Dance” with Tommy Rall.
Betty Garrett (our gal Brunhilde Esterhazy from ON THE TOWN) stars in her biggest movie role (thanks to McCarthyism, her career was cut short) and she knocks it out of the park. Paired with the charming Jack Lemmon, with Janet Leigh (yes, that Janet Leigh) in the titular role, it’s a charming film that gets overshadowed by it’s more well-known counterpart (the wonderful town mentioned previously).
Fosse’s signature style is still in development, as he works to prove he can choreograph just as well as his idols. But we get his percussive snaps and pops, plus some wonderful small group work. Also, one of Fosse’s largest on-screen roles.
For Fosse fans (and that is us), this is a must-see!