Film Friday – “I carried a watermelon.”

 

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Film Fridays is a project initiated by Darren from over at The Arty Plantsman and me.

After doing a daily music challenge for a month last year we talked about doing something similar for movies.

And the current global lockdowns give us the perfect excuse to start!
Many of us are confined to home with only the TV for company so we thought we would start ‘Film Fridays’ so that we can talk about our favourite movies and hopefully give our readers some ideas for things to watch.
We would be delighted if you would join us!
Just tag your post with #FilmFriday and do a pingback to either Darren’s or my posts so that we can can have a look at yours! You can also copy the “Film Friday” poster I came up with.

We don’t necessarily want to talk about the nerdy technical details but more about why these films speak to us as individuals, why they have a place in our hearts, and any personal memories they evoke.

So please join us each friday when we will each be talking about a different movie from our list of favourites!

 

Patrick Swayze

Patrick Swayze as “Johnny Castle” in Dirty Dancing (ink on paper; May 2020)

 

This time I’m reasonably sure that most of you can tell which film I’m going to talk about today by the quote in the title. 😉

And in case you don’t: it’s one of history’s – eh, cinematic history that is – most famous lines in one of the best films of all times – Dirty Dancing!

Even if you haven’t seen it, I’m sure you have at least heard of it, and most likely listened to a song that has been featured in the film.

But first for some facts:

Dirty Dancing is a 1987 American romantic drama dance film written by Eleanor Bergstein, produced by Linda Gottlieb, and directed by Emile Ardolino.

It stars Jennifer Grey as Frances “Baby” Houseman, a young woman who falls in love with dance instructor Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze) at an upscale Catskills holiday resort.

Dirty Dancing is based in large part on screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein’s own childhood: she is the younger daughter of a Jewish doctor from New York and had spent summers with her family in the Catskills where she participated in “Dirty Dancing” competitions; she was also nicknamed “Baby” herself as a girl.

For choreographer, Bergstein chose Kenny Ortega, who had been trained by Gene Kelly.

Director Ardolino was adamant that they choose dancers, such as Swayze, who could also act, as he did not want to use the “stand-in” method that had been used with Flashdance (1983).

For the female lead of Frances “Baby” Houseman, Bergstein chose the 26-year-old Jennifer Grey, daughter of the Oscar-winning actor and dancer Joel Grey (e.g., of the film Cabaret (1972)).

The producers then sought a male lead, initially considering 20-year-old Billy Zane, though initial screen tests when he was partnered with Grey did not meet expectations.

The next choice was 34-year-old Patrick Swayze, who was a seasoned dancer, with experience from the Joffrey Ballet. The producers were thrilled with him, but his resume read ‘No dancing’ after a knee injury. However, Swayze read the script, liked the multi-level character of Johnny, and took the part anyway.

Grey was initially not happy about the choice, as she and Swayze had difficulty getting along on Red Dawn, but when they did their dancing screen test, the chemistry between them was obvious. Bergstein described it as “breathtaking”.

 

Patrick S.

Patrick Swayze/Johnny Castle (ink on paper; May 2020)

Filming started for Dirty Dancing on September 5, 1986 and lasted just 43 days. The production had to battle bad weather, including outside temperatures of 105 °F (41 °C). With the camera and lighting equipment needed for filming, the temperature inside could be as high as 120 °F (49 °C). According to choreographer Kenny Ortega, 10 people passed out within 25 minutes of shooting one day.

Delays in the shooting schedule pushed filming into the autumn, which required the set decorators to spray-paint the autumn leaves green. The weather became cold, causing the lake’s temperatures to drop to near 40 °F (4 °C) for the famous swimming scene, which was filmed in October. Despite her character’s enjoyment, Grey later described the water as “horrifically” cold, and she might not have gone into the lake, except that she was “young and hungry”.

Some of the scenes in the film are improvised. For example, the scene where Grey was to stand in front of Swayze with her back to him and put her arm up behind his head while he trailed his fingers down her arm. Grey was exhausted at the time and found the move ticklish, and could not stop giggling each time Swayze tried it, and he became annoyed. The footage was found in the editing room and the producers decided the scene worked as it was and put it into the film, complete with Grey’s giggling and Swayze’s annoyed expression. It became one of the most famous scenes in the movie, turning out, as choreographer Kenny Ortega put it, “as one of the most delicate and honest moments in the film.”

 

 

So much for the facts!

 

As you can probably tell from my fan-girling here, Dirty Dancing is one of my very favourite films.

I just love the story, the way how the actors portrayed their characters and the accompanying music, which started an oldies music revival, that to me at least, is one of the best film soundtracks ever.

The film has an enormous amount of iconic scenes, starting with the famous “I carried a watermelon”-scene and ending with the “Nobody puts Baby in a corner”-scene.

I couldn’t tell you which my favorite one is – because I just love them ALL!

However, that doesn’t keep me from asking you which ones are your favorites!

But before you’re going to do that, just have a listen to this song, swing your hips and do the twist! 😉

 

 

 

 

32 thoughts on “Film Friday – “I carried a watermelon.”

  1. What a great post, Sarah, and one that resonates with my hubby and me. This came out when we began dating so we call it “our movie” and “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” is “our song.” Silly, but sentimental memories, nonetheless. Both Grey and Swayze were great in their roles, but I’ll admit to disliking the fact that she was called “Baby” to begin with. My favorite scene is the last, the dance scene. I can watch that a zillion times and still get goosebumps like it’s my first time seeing the movie. So sad that Patrick died young. And then Jennifer had plastic surgery and looks so different. Too each his own, I guess. It was interesting to read about the filming process and how the weather was uncooperative. Can’t imagine 120 degrees. It’s 90 in our house today, first heat wave, and I’m melting. 🙂 Anyway, this was fun and your sketch is perfect! Hugs! 🎵❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww – what a sweet memory, Lauren! How I wished Dirty Dancing could be “my movie” too, it’s just perfect for that. 😀
      I wasn’t so happy with that “Baby” thing either, though last time I saw it (which was a few weeks ago), I didn’t mind it as much as I used to.
      I can watch the scene you’ve mentioned a million times as well. 😉 The song fits it perfectly!
      Yes, so very sad he died so young, he’s sorely missed.
      The plastic surgery was a huge mistake, wasn’t it? I guess it’s never an easy decision but in her case it ended her recognizability and thus career before it really started.
      Hope your heat wave is already over? I’m dreading the first one here too! It won’t be funny wearing a mask when it gets hot!
      Stay safe! hugs! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • We had 2 days of super hot, Sarah, and today it’s warm, but nice and much cooler. So, we survived and you will, too. 🙂 It’s just not fun, and yes, wearing a mask isn’t fun when it’s really hot. It makes me appreciate what the essential workers have gone through all this time. Hugs back! xo

        Like

  2. It was so fun to learn more about this film that I hated! Lol. I think when it came out, I was at the wrong age to appreciate it – a young mom, working full time, just soooo far away from relating to the characters. Baby drove me crazy. Ha ha. But that said, I know tons of people who love this film and consider it a classic. Fun post, Sarah. Be well, my friend. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved it so much I bought it first on VHS and then on DVD. I still have it. Patrick Swazye was wonderful in this and Ghost, another favorite. It was just the best movie but I have many I really love so says my collection under the TV. I’ve given away many movies but not the classics. You did a very good drawing of him. He’s been sorely missed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Marlene, I took great care to get him right in my drawing, and think it’s my best yet. 😊
      I had it one VHS as well but then the player broke and I couldn’t get a new one, what with DVDs taking over, so I gave my tapes away. But I still have the soundtrack on a cassette tape and listen to it every so often (singing very passionately – and very out of tune 😉 – along). Also loved Ghost – he was an amazing actor and dancer and is indeed sorely missed.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ooh – I have never seen this but I love all the background stories and they really appeal to the movie geek in me! Maybe I should give it a go.
    I did read that Jennifer Grey’s career tanked later because she followed advice to get her nose ‘fixed’ and it meant she lost her most recognisable feature.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So glad you enjoyed this post and the information even though you haven’t seen this film yet, Darren! 😀 It’s much easier to get these kind of inside information via internet but I remember fondly having bought cinema and movie magazines when I was a kid. 😄
      Oh yes, that nose job was definitely the wrong decision! I bet Sarah Jessica Parker has been given similar advice during her early years – so glad she didn’t follow it!

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  5. Thank you for all the backstory information. How fascinating. Back in the day, I think we had to read like TV Guide or catch the actors discussing the film on an entertainment or morning show in order to learn this. Not like today when we can read all we want! It puts the film in a new light. I totally forgot that scene where Jennifer Grey giggles until you mentioned it – yes, that is memorable if I remember it because I have the worst memory!

    Patrick Swayze. RIP.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re very welcome, Lani! I was such a movie geek when I was a kid that I did actually buy the magazines you’ve mentioned! 😂 But it’s definitely easier to get these kind of information nowadays. Also it’s great to watch interviews on YouTube like The Actor’s Studio. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Your drawing is wonderful Sarah. I quite liked Patrick Swayze in Point Break, and Ghost, but (should I confess this) never really got into Dirty Dancing. I think I just don’t have a romantic soul.

    Liked by 2 people

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