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S. Sylvan Simon
Meg, a young ballet student, idolizes the school's top ballerina, the shallow Ariane Bouchet. Meg is distressed when she learns visiting prima ballerina Darina rather than Bouchet will play the lead in the school's production of "Swan Lake." So on opening night, Meg arranges an accident which nearly kills Darina and ends her dancing career. As a result, Bouchet becomes a star, while Meg is torn with guilt.Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <email@example.com>
"The Unfinished Dance" is a color MGM film made in 1947 that depends on the star power and dancing ability of little Margaret O'Brien. Here she plays Meg, a nine-year-old ballet student enamored of the gorgeous prima ballerina, played by Cyd Charisse in a very early role. When the company brings in "La Darina" (Karin Booth) to do some performances, O'Brien is determined that she not succeed. In order for the dancer to be humiliated, she plans, with the help of a friend (Elinor Donahue), to douse the lights during her ballet. It all plays out, except that a trap door opens by mistake, and La Darina's career is over. When La Darina turns to teaching and takes a big interest in Meg's dancing, Meg's guilt becomes unbearable.
The ballet segments are beautiful, and while the intensity of O'Brien's performance may not be for everyone, she is excellent. I confess that she's always been a favorite of mine. Danny Thomas, in a role written for Danny Kaye, makes his debut in this film. It's a somewhat saccharine role, but he appoints himself well.
Charisse is good as a shallow, ambitious dancer who really isn't worthy of Meg's adoration, and Karin Booth is lovely as La Darina, and she's absolutely stunning to boot.
Not to everyone's taste, but a nice niche film from MGM.
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