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Margot (2005)

The life and tribulations of world renown ballerina Margot Fonteyn as told by herself, friends and fellow dancers


Tony Palmer

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Credited cast:
Frederick Ashton Frederick Ashton ... Himself (archive footage)
Ninette de Valois Ninette de Valois ... Herself (archive footage)
Leslie Edwards Leslie Edwards ... Himself (archive footage)
Margot Fonteyn ... Herself (archive footage)
Beryl Grey Beryl Grey ... Herself
Robert Helpmann ... Himself (archive footage)
Monica Mason Monica Mason ... Herself
Rudolf Nureyev ... Himself (archive footage)
Roland Petit Roland Petit ... Himself
Lynn Seymour Lynn Seymour ... Herself
Michael Somes Michael Somes ... Himself (archive footage)


The life and tribulations of world renown ballerina Margot Fonteyn as told by herself, friends and fellow dancers

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25 April 2013 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

"Margot" is a no-holds barred documentary about the great ballerina - perhaps the greatest - Margot Fonteyn. She had a great talent for not only dancing but expression, and she had beauty. The documentary makes the point that what she didn't have was good judgment.

This documentary goes through her entire life and how she got into dance, her triumphant debut in America after the war, her marriage to Roberto "Tito" Arias, her partnership with Nureyev, and her very late retirement.

I had seen a documentary where Fonteyn was interviewed herself, and also read her autobiography. Well, all that was just the tip of the iceberg. Now that she's gone, there's more to the story. It's shocking and sad.

This documentary goes into her gun-running for her Panamanian husband, who was planning a revolution; her miscarriage with what was probably Nureyev's child; the shooting of her husband, which resulted in him becoming a quadriplegic; her difficulties with her stepson, and her sad death.

Fonteyn was unable to retire as early as most ballerinas because she needed the money. What she made, her husband took to finance his revolution, his political campaign, and to buy cattle for their farm. As far as the shooting he was involved in, it was apparently over a woman.

She was beloved by everyone who knew her, many of whom are interviewed here: Robert Helpmann, dance partner Michael Somes, Moira Shearer, Sir Frederick Ashton, Clive Barnes, family members of both hers and the Arias family, fellow dancers, and many others.

The picture that emerges is that of a woman under constant pressure, who never wanted to let anyone down, who worked with horrible arthritis and bleeding feet, a woman who, despite what seems to be bad treatment by her husband, was tirelessly devoted to him, a woman who, as one of the interviewees said, "needed to be needed," who died a pauper with Nureyev picking up her medical bills.

A fascinating, sad story of one of the great artists of the 20th century, her generosity of spirit, her loyalty, and her love. Truly not to be missed.

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