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!
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”.
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! 😉