The Unfinished Dance (1947)

100 mins | Drama | 19 September 1947

Director:

Henry Koster

Writer:

Myles Connolly

Producer:

Joe Pasternak

Cinematographer:

Robert Surtees

Editor:

Douglass Biggs

Production Designers:

Cedric Gibbons, Daniel B. Cathcart

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

The working title for this film was Ballerina . The picture marked the screen debut of Danny Thomas, and was the first film in which Karin Booth, born Katharine Hoffman and formerly known as Katharine Booth, was billed under her new name. Although a May 1946 HR news item noted that dancer Katherine Sergava was tested for a role, she did not appear in the released film. Another film based on Paul Morand's novel was the 1937 French film La mort du cygne , directed by Jean Benoit-Lévy and starring Yvette Chauviré and Mia Slavenska. The 1937 film was released in the United States under the title Ballerina ... More Less

The working title for this film was Ballerina . The picture marked the screen debut of Danny Thomas, and was the first film in which Karin Booth, born Katharine Hoffman and formerly known as Katharine Booth, was billed under her new name. Although a May 1946 HR news item noted that dancer Katherine Sergava was tested for a role, she did not appear in the released film. Another film based on Paul Morand's novel was the 1937 French film La mort du cygne , directed by Jean Benoit-Lévy and starring Yvette Chauviré and Mia Slavenska. The 1937 film was released in the United States under the title Ballerina . More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
Jan 48
p. 11.
Box Office
9 Aug 1947.
---
Daily Variety
29 Jul 1947.
---
Film Daily
30 Jul 47
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
22 May 46
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jul 46
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jul 46
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jul 46
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Nov 46
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jul 47
p. 3.
Independent Film Journal
12 Oct 46
p. 40.
New York Times
31 Oct 47
p. 29.
Variety
30 Jul 47
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Henry Koster Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Assoc
COSTUMES
Cost supv
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus score
Assoc
SOUND
Rec dir
DANCE
Dance dir
MAKEUP
Makeup created by
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
Assoc
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel La mort du Cygne by Paul Morand (Paris, 1933).
AUTHOR
MUSIC
Selections from the ballet Swan Lake by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
SONGS
"I Went Merrily Merrily on My Way," music and lyrics by Sammy Fain.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Ballerina
Release Date:
19 September 1947
Production Date:
1 July--early November 1946
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
29 July 1947
Copyright Number:
LP1157
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
100
Length(in feet):
9,057
Length(in reels):
11
Country:
United States
PCA No:
12101
SYNOPSIS

Meg Merlin, a young ballerina studying at the Ballet School of the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York, would rather spend hours at a time watching the dance movements of her idol, Ariane Bouchet, than attend her classes. Meg's lack of enthusiasm for her classes nearly results in her dismissal from the school by her teacher until the kindly Mr. Paneros, a friend of Meg's aunt, intervenes. One day, during rehearsals, Meg learns that the school has hired the famous ballerina Lady Anna La Darina, known by many as "The First Lady of Ballet." Mistakenly believing that La Darina has arrived to replace Ariane, Meg undertakes to humiliate the new dancer and sabotage her attempt to settle into the school. She begins her campaign by turning off the lights when a photographer tries to take Ariane and La Darina's photograph. Later, when Phyllis Brigham, another young dancer, tells Meg that she prefers La Darina to Ariane, Meg strikes her. Meg is severely reprimanded for her assault on Phyllis, but she continues her campaign against La Darina nevertheless. During a performance of "Swan Lake," Meg, intending to pull the light switch on La Darina's solo sequence, accidentally hits the trap door switch instead, and sends the dancer falling through the stage. A physician later determines that the damage to La Darina's spine as a result of the fall is so extensive that she will likely never dance again. Though Meg has decided to keep her misdeed a secret, Phyllis and her friend, Josie Devore, suspect that Meg is the culprit and blackmail her. Time passes, and Ariane, who is revealed to be selfish and devoted more ... +


Meg Merlin, a young ballerina studying at the Ballet School of the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York, would rather spend hours at a time watching the dance movements of her idol, Ariane Bouchet, than attend her classes. Meg's lack of enthusiasm for her classes nearly results in her dismissal from the school by her teacher until the kindly Mr. Paneros, a friend of Meg's aunt, intervenes. One day, during rehearsals, Meg learns that the school has hired the famous ballerina Lady Anna La Darina, known by many as "The First Lady of Ballet." Mistakenly believing that La Darina has arrived to replace Ariane, Meg undertakes to humiliate the new dancer and sabotage her attempt to settle into the school. She begins her campaign by turning off the lights when a photographer tries to take Ariane and La Darina's photograph. Later, when Phyllis Brigham, another young dancer, tells Meg that she prefers La Darina to Ariane, Meg strikes her. Meg is severely reprimanded for her assault on Phyllis, but she continues her campaign against La Darina nevertheless. During a performance of "Swan Lake," Meg, intending to pull the light switch on La Darina's solo sequence, accidentally hits the trap door switch instead, and sends the dancer falling through the stage. A physician later determines that the damage to La Darina's spine as a result of the fall is so extensive that she will likely never dance again. Though Meg has decided to keep her misdeed a secret, Phyllis and her friend, Josie Devore, suspect that Meg is the culprit and blackmail her. Time passes, and Ariane, who is revealed to be selfish and devoted more to clothes and fame than ballet, proves herself a poor idol for Meg. After Ariane decides to leave the company to marry, La Darina eventually returns to the school as a ballet supervisor and takes a special interest in Meg's promising talents. As Meg and the kind La Darina strike a friendship, Meg makes a number of unsuccessful attempts to confess her responsibility for La Darina's crippling fall. One day, Josie, jealous of the attention that Meg is gettting from La Darina, reveals Meg's secret. When Meg learns that she has been exposed, she runs out of the school seeking a quiet place to hide in shame. Mr. Paneros eventually finds Meg, and she tearfully confides in him. After Mr. Paneros tells La Darina about Meg's confession, La Darina forgives her. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.