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This is a movie where three entirely different stories are told though dancing. Words are not used and the style of dancing is different for each part. Kelly is a clown in the 'Circus'; a Marine in 'Ring Around the Rosy'; and Sinbad in 'Sinbad the Sailor'. Written by
Tony Fontana <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Gene Kelly's original intention was to make a film that would educate mainstream audiences about professional dancing in the world. To this end, he wanted to cast the greatest dancers in Europe for the four segments in leading roles. He himself would only appear in one - the Popular Song sequence, which ended up being cut. But MGM refused to allow the picture unless he appeared in all of them. Many of the professionals who worked in the film agreed that this was one of the film's great weaknesses. See more »
Only worthwhile for the dazzling "Sinbad the Sailor" animation...
No wonder INVITATION TO THE DANCE found no audience at the box office. The first two musical sequences, "Circus" and "Ring Around the Rosy" are monumental bores dragged down by pedestrian stories and, in the second one, inept use of camera trickery to speed up the action.
But the third, "Sinbad the Sailor," makes expert use of the Rimsky-Korsakov ballet score and makes dazzling use of animated effects, especially for the dancing between Kelly and a couple of Arabian guards which are highly original, intricate and amusing examples of combining live action with animation. It's the kind of originality sadly missing in the previously mentioned stories.
The "Sinbad" highlight almost makes up for the rest of the film with its own brand of originality--but alas, the first two sequences are enough to turn many viewers away from watching the final segment.
Summing up: Easy to see why this one failed miserably to attract a target audience with either high or low brow tastes.
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