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A biography of the dancer Isadora Duncan, the 1920s dancer who forever changed people's ideas of ballet. Her nude, semi-nude, and pro-Soviet dance projects as well as her attitudes on free love, debt, dress, and lifestyle shocked the public of her time. Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When filming "the Russian dance sequence" in a theater filled with unsuspecting extras, Vanessa Redgrave duplicated a real-life incident in the life of Isadora Duncan by ripping off the top of her dress and dancing bare-breasted. The extras were not told that she would do this, thus providing the desired audience-aghast reaction shots that director Karel Reisz wanted. See more »
Under-appreciated director, and undervalued screenplay,
Over the past weekend, I viewed a VHS of Isadora. Throughout the movie (and I assume this was in the script), the motif of the scarf is repeated in various ways showing that she loved scarves and billowy fabric; even if she didn't in real life, the reinforcement of the scarf (as well as her pursuit of the man driving the Bugatti), gives her death a logic and finality that "real" life cannot. Surely, Isadora's death must have been so fictional as not to be believed, as well as the fate of her children. Film-makers must craft a film in such a way that the viewer believes that every moment is true. Compare this screenplay with what Robert McKee says about writing screenplays in his incomparable book, Story, and you'll agree that the Isadora screenplay is undervalued. Also, Redgrave's performance is surely one of the finest of any era--and should have gotten the Oscar, but thankfully won at Cannes (outside the Hollywood political machine). The length of the film, to me, was no problem; the life of Isadora Duncan, could not have been shown in less. The stage scenes of her dancing were perfectly directed and illustrated how she could fill a theatre while also being rejected.
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