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The Dancing Years (1976)

| Drama, Musical | TV Movie
The story of a young composer and his relationship with a fiery opera star over the course of several decades.

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Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Celia Gregory ...
Maria Ziegler
...
Grete (as Susan Skipper)
Tim Brierley ...
Neville Jason ...
Charles
Vera Jakob ...
Joyce Grant ...
Kate Coleridge ...
Corinna Seddon ...
Lilli
Jane Morant ...
Elizabeth
Penelope Beaumont ...
Hilde
Marilyn Finlay ...
Wanda
Belinda Sinclair ...
Emmy
Nina Thomas ...
Sonia
Judi Maynard ...
Sari
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The story of a young composer and his relationship with a fiery opera star over the course of several decades.

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Drama | Musical

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1.33 : 1
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Old-fashioned quality
2 April 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This must have been one of the last large-scale television productions of a musical ever to be made.

Unashamedly romantic, Ivor Novello's stage work from 1939 tells of a young composer who falls for a jealous opera star, and their tempestuous relationship spanning several decades.

A large set takes over the studio, allowing plenty of room for the swirling dancers, handsome officers and Austrian peasants so familiar in these older shows.

The performances are excellent - Marilyn Hill Smith sings superbly while Celia Gregory mimes the songs (and Ann Howard sings for Joyce Grant), and Gregory is excellent at portraying the vacillating, obsessive prima donna. Anthony Valentine in the Novello part (composer Rudi Kleber) makes the dated dialogue seem just plausible, and as Grete, the young girl who asks Rudi to give her first refusal when she is old enough to marry him, a request which has disastrous repercussions, Susan Skipper sings and dances charmingly.

All in all, anyone who enjoys the old style of musical comedy, when the cast really had to be able to sing (i.e. with trained, light operatic voices), and a separate chorus of dancers was customary, will be delighted with this production. For once, it's true that they don't make them like this anymore.


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