Wednesday 4 August 2010

Shall We Dance?

Banging away on my keyboard yesterday, Turner Classic Movies decided to treat me to the background sound and motion on my giant screen, on the Far Side, of Jennifer Lopez and Richard Gere (with Susan Sarandon flitting in and out) responding to the question: Shall We Dance?; actually, the question in the film is Shall We Dance, Mr Clark?. In case you haven't seen it, it's about a tired, middle-aged executive who sees a dance school from his train and decides to spice up his routine existence with something completely different and enroles, without telling his wife (who sets a private dick on his trail). It reminds me somewhat of P G Wodehouse's short story The Man With The Two Left Feet Of course, at first, he is completely hopeless; a stumbling, fumbling joke. But they must have raised the spectre of one of the old film-makers of the Golden Age for this one and brought along some spirit and sense of human accomplishment because, if you are inclined to rave about Al Pacino doing the tango in Scent Of A Woman and start comparing that with Valentino and Terry in Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse, then see this film before you decide anything. I had never thought much of either J Lo or Gere before this but see the way that they glide around that floor! There is much in a piece of advice that J Lo, as dance instructress, gives Gere: "Don't move until you feel it". Much the same can be said for everything in life. She also comes out with George Bernard Shaw's old chestnut about dancing being the vertical expression of a horizontal desire but from this we may just deduce that neither GBS nor J Lo had been reading The Perfumed Garden, which, along with this film and the PGW story, are the recommendations of the day from the sunny South Atlantic seaboard.

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