Posts Tagged ‘ 10 best tango films ’

2006, April 7 – PREMIERE OF “TAKE THE LEAD”

Pierre Dulaine, is a kind of a special person; Antonio Banderas who plays him in “Take The Lead” called him “the invisible man”… in the film when Dulaine’s dance group of unlikely heros is victorious, instead of joining in the celebration, he simply turns around and walks out, hence “the invisible man”…Banderas says of the real Pierre Dulaine, “that’s the way he really is; that’s the way he does everything…his capacity to love and share without expecting anything in return”...the two tenants of his teaching method are “Respect and Compassion” and it is indeed these two elements which in real life led him to volunteer to teach dance to inner city trouble kids to give them hope…out of the effort was born Dancing Classrooms which helps young people to acquire life lessons of self esteem, respect, team work…the program has been duplicated in hundreds of schools throughout the United States…Pierre Dulaine was born in Jaffa, Palestine to a British officer, and a mother who was half French and half Palestinean…

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They later settle in Amman Jordan where he learned to speak French, Arabic and English…in 1956 because of the Suez Crisis, they family had to leave in a hurry and leave everything behind; they settle in Birmingham England…His early days were difficult, he was shy and unsure in an alien evnviornment where his accented english did not help him to get accepted…at the age fourteen he discovered dancing … by his own admission he was not good but he liked it; eventually he went on to win ballroom dancing’s most prestigious awards….today it is part of his teaching philosophy, “if you like dancing you can become a good dancer even if you are not particularly gifted”, he says…eventually he settled in New York where he met his dancing partner Yvonne Marceau..Antonio Banderas was personally inspired by the whole idea and in fact during the rehearsals he would invite the dancers to his house for dinner so that he could get to know them better and he had long conversations with Pierre Dulaine…film critic Tony Medley summarized the film accurately when he said, “it held my interest throughout and passed the watch test with flyng colors”

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CLICK HERE – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEwZIufmafo to see the tango scene in Take The Lead

2010, March 31 – PREMIERE OF “THE TANGO SINGER”

“I am sorry to keep saying it, but I don’t love you any more Helena”…psychologists tell us that these are the most painful words that a human being can hear and yet this is exactly what Conrado tells Helena; he is in love with another woman…but Helena is madly in love with him and these simple words destroy her…the words come precisely at the moment that her singing career is about to take off and she has been offered a performance at a prestigious venue in Buenos Aires but she is unable to sing…she becomes a mere shell of her former self, she is hysterical, out of her mind, obsessive, she follows Conrado and telephones him incessantly and finally, the extreme pain leads her to cut herself with broken glass…not unlike the legendary Libertad Lamarque in real life, she hits bottom, loses everything…she finally moves to a small French seaside town where she finds work in a simple bakery confirming Khalil Gibran when he says of love’s pain “he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast”

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“And so I embarked on a long period of research to track down the tangos that not only touched me musically but would also carry, through their  poetry and their emotions and the message of  the film”, said Director Diego Martinez Vignati…perhaps that is why his film “The Tango Singer” is one of the very few films in history that manages to perfectly weave the art of film making with tango music and dancing…The film is punctuated by intense bursts of tango masterfully weaved into the fabric of the film and provide an insight into Helena, brilliantly portrayed by actress Eugenia Ramírez Miori…Vignatti was born 1971 in Bahia Blanca Argentina; the birth place of Carlos Disarli; in fact half of the “The Tango Singer” was filmed there; the other half in Belgium where Vignati has lived since 1997…he graduated from law school in Argentina but studied film at the prestigious INSAS in Brussels…the film features the renown vocalist Oscar Ferrari who passed away soon after making this film...one noted critic said of the film, ”it manages to do what was only attempted by Sally Potter in “The Tango Lesson”, Carlos Saura in “Tango” and Robert Duval in Assassination Tango”.

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CLICK HERE– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IddZnvnBEwM&feature=related to see a clip from the film “The Tango Singer”

1936, March 26 – PREMIERE OF FILM “CANILLITA”

Florencio Sanchez, eighteen years old, dreamt of marrying his sweetheart but his job as a journalist just barely provided enough to live on and when he went to see his sweetheart was embarrassed to put on, his one and only threadbare suit…watching the rascally, mischievous, bold newspaper boys jumping off and on the trams shouting the headlines to passengers and passersby, he was inspired to write a play; “Canillita” which referred to the long thin legs on which they scurried about…to his astonishment, when it was premiered on October 1, 1902, it was not only immensely popular but would capture the imagination of the world inspiring similar characters all over the world….Astor Piazzolla, for example, would play newspaper boy “Canillita” in Carlos Gardel’s film “El Dia Que Me Quieras”…instead the film “Canillita” premiering on March 26, 1936, is a musical comedy in which a young girl falls in love with a singer and elects to runaway with him rather than marrying a store keeper to whom she is promised…

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Directed by Lisandro De La Tea it stars singers Amanda Ledesma, Sabina Olmos and Principe Azul…it features Pedro Maffia and his orchestra playing the theme tango “Canillita” which was composed by Julio Cesar Sanders…Amanda Ledesma was a simple shop girl who loved to sing who reluctantly entered a singing contest and won which launched a long and glorious career…this was the first film for Sabina Olmos; thirty more would follow and she would marry legendary singer Charlo…however, years later, Charlo now dead and she penniless and all but forgotten, she would take her own life by jumping from a high story building…Principe Azul was a highly paid singer and the powerful star making machine of the United States had selected him as the new Carlos Gardel; in fact he was on his way to New York to sign a contract with NBC, when he was suddenly struck with a serious illness which swiftly took his life just two days short of his 34th birthday

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letra.aspx?idletra=3023 to hear another inspiration, “Canillita, Canillita” performed by the Francisco Pracanico Orchestra with the voice of Sofia Bozan, 1928

1950, March 22 – PREMIERE “AL COMPAS DE TU MENTIRA”

Renown Argentine actor, Pedro Quartucci, who stars in this film was the protagonist of a fascinating story; as a young actor he had a relationship with an aspiring actress Eva Duarte the future wife of Juan Peron,”Evita” with whom he supposedly had a daughter “Nilda”…the little girl however was brought up as their natural daughter by himself and his wife Felisa Borborino…years later Nilda, now grown up and married, heard from her husband that her real mother had been Eva Peron…when she confronted her father, he admitted that it was true and her mother Felisa, at the eleventh hour, confirmed the story as well…Father Benitez, the priest present at the deathbed of Evita wrote that in her confession she spoke of “the great pain in her life” and he hinted that it was the fact of never having known a child born to her…besides this Pedro was a professional boxer before he became an actor…competing as a feather weight, he won a bronze metal in the 1924 Olympics…

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“Al Compas De Tu Mentira”, adapted from Oscar Wilde’s, “On The Importance of Being Ernest”, was directed by Hector Canzani and is a musical comedy with lots of dancing and tango music…Canzani spent most of his career as a poet and screenwriter but this film, which was moderately successful, bestowed him notiriety…this was to be the last film of Juan D’arienzo and his orchestra…other notables in the film include the Domingo Federico Orchestra with singer Jorge Casal singing the theme song “Al Compas del Corazon”…Edmundo Rivera, the only bass in a world of tenors and baritones,  sings “No Te Enganes Corazon” composed by Rodolfo Sciamarella…the ill-fated Osmar Maderna “the Chopin of Tango”, who would die young in an airplane crash, plays his “Lluvia de Estrellas” which is indeed reminiscent of Chopin’s ballads; he is accompanied by the Alfredo De Angelis Orchestra…

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1955, March 19 – SATCHMO RECORD, “KISS OF FIRE” (EL CHOCLO)

Lester Allen and Robert Hill were basking in the fame and glory of their new hit “Kiss of Fire”, when someone finally noticed that it was oddly similar to the immortal tango “El Choclo”…in fact after intense proceedings they finally conceded that it was in fact “El Choclo” and thereafter, on all sheet music, the name of “Angel Villoldo” the orignal composer, preceded theirs…Kiss of fire was a major hit for Georgia Gibbs in 1952 reaching all the way to number 2 on the Billboard Charts…another popular version was the one by Louis Armstrong “Satchmo” which was recorded on March 19, 1955…other celebrated versions were by Nat King Cole, Connie Francis and in Finland, by the “King of Finnish Tango”, Olavi Virta…seeking to capitalize on the immense popularity of  ”Kiss of Fire” a film, directed by Joseph M. Newman and starring Jack Palance, was released in 1955…part of the background music is a flamenco like version of “Kiss of Fire”…

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Angel Villoldo, the original composer of “Kiss of Fire” (El Choclo) was a fascinating man, a sort of Ernest Hemingway and Bob Dylan all in one…he was born on February 16, 1861 into a destitute family in the neighborhood of Barracas, Buenos Aires…he quit school early to work and did many jobs including teamster, herdsman and circus clown before devoting himself to music…..he would become a prolific composer and lyricist of some of the most beloved tangos in history…”El Choclo” became instantly popular all over the world and the story is told that German officers wishing to honor a visiting Argentinean dignitary mistakenly played “El Choclo” believing it to be the national anthem…when it first premiered in the exclusive “El Americano” restaurant in Buenos Aires, the leader of the orchestra had to disguise it by calling it “Danza Criolla” as tango was considered music of the pimps and prostitutes

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CLICK HERE– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCXxJFmfGVc&playnext=1&list=
PL2E1CB4660C675B65 Louis Armstrong “Sarchmo” sing “Kiss of Fire (El Ch0clo)

1914, March 9 – PREMIERE OF “TANGO TANGLES”

By now tango madness  had swept the world over, it was all the rage in Paris, Berlin, London and so when director Mack Sennet read in the newspaper about an upcoming tango contest, he had a flash…he would send his film crew to the dance hall and improvise one of his famous “shorts”…in fact the whole of “Tango Tangles” is only twelve minutes long…”shorts” were low-budget, fast directed, improvised films which the viewing public at the turn of the century learned to love…actual tango dancing in Tango Tangles appears only briefly in the opening scene where a couple is dancing what appears to be a parody of a tango which metamorphosis into a ballet style movement…Charlie Chaplain plays an inebriated dandy who shows up at the “Dark Town Strutter Ball”, a  masked affair, makes a pass at the hat-check girl played by Sadie Lamp….

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Her favors however are being sought by two other characters, the orchestra leader played by Ford Sterling and the clarinetist Roscoe Arbuckle, all legends of the silent movie era…there is of course the requisite slapstick, with the long punches and the inadvertent falls, a genre created by director Mack Sennet which would lead to stellar success for his Keystone Studios; it was he who discovered Chaplain about whom George Bernard Shaw would say, “he was the only genius to come out of the movie industry”…Chaplain’s role was one of the few where he did not appear as his signature “tramp and mustache” character…Chaplain’s many loves would include the sex goddess Louise Brooks…Mack Sennet, Canadian born actor, comedian, musician and director, would produce more than 1000 silent films in his 25 year career …his short “Wrestling Swordfish” won an academy award in 1932…..in the final scene of Tango Tangles, Ford Sterling and Charlie Chaplain have punched each other out and are lying on the floor exhausted and Sterling finally says, “I don’t want her, you can have her”

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CLICK HERE– http://www.youtube.com/

watch?v=YqgSgkz_Obw to see “Tango Tangles” directed by Mack Sennet

1921, March 6 – Premiere “Four Horsemen and The Apocalypse”

Julio is beguiled by the seductive girl dancing the tango…with a confident, menacing stare he strides to the center of the dance floor, with gaucho whip in hand and asks the man let him cut in….in a cavalier manner the man simply ignores Julio and continues to dance with the girl…Julio is enraged and shoves the man brusquely away from the girl…the man takes his knife out and lunges at him but Julio adeptly evades the knife and hits the man on the head with the handle of his whip.. the man falls down and Julio takes over the girl to finish with a spectacular tango dance to the enthusiastic applause of the audience...it is precisely this scene from “Four Horsemen and the Apocalypse” which launched the tango craze throughout the world…based on Vasco Ibanez’s classic novel, several studios had tried unsuccessfully to adapt the novel but it was writer June Mathis who finally succeeded…it was she who hired Rodolfo Valentino, an obscure B film struggling actor who had worked as a taxi dancer…the tango scene in fact was not part of the original story but Mathis included to take advantage of Valentino’s dancing skills

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It premiered to great acclaim and had a huge cultural impact; it became the top grossing film of 1921 and the first ever to earn one million dollars at the box office…it turned Rodolfo Valentino into a superstar and launched the tango craze; June Mathis would become one of the first powerful women executives in Hollywood…Valentino was born in Castellaneta, Puglia to an Italian father and a French mother…he spent some idle time in Paris and finally returned to Puglia but unable to get a job he left for the United States and arriving there on December 23, 1913…he ran out of money and for a while he lived on the streets of New York…he eventually moved to Los Angeles where he taught dancing to older high society women…on August 15, 1926 he collapsed at the Hotel Ambassador in New York; he was operated on, for a ruptured appendix; surgery had gone well and a recovery was expected…however, he unexpectedly developed pleuritis in his left lung and fell into a coma..he passed away on August 23, 1926; he was 31 years old…interestingly, the film inspired a young Betty Davis to try acting; in 1999, the American Film Institute rated Davis as number two on the list of the “Greatest Female Stars of All Time”

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