Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Birthday Boy: Everybody Dance Now


In honor of the great man's 121st birthday, let's spend a few moments in the unsettling company of Mr. Busby Berkeley.

Herein his work - from a handful of early '30s Warners musicals, mostly - is abstracted from its original context (no great loss, some might say, given the exiguous relationship between plot and musical number in his heyday) and set to a disco beat, and by none less than Boney M at that.  Seen in this context - stripped of stars save for the occasional glimpse (and the monitory presence of a hundred floating Ruby Keeler heads) - it all comes to seem less lighthearted entertainment than it does some unspeakable form of torment, one in which crowds of innocent young women are forced into the obscure and even nightmarish rituals of a bizarre celluloid cult.

What kind of mind could dream this up?


  1. If that's "unspeakable torment", then I am in! Love Busby Berkeley - and, as you possibly remember, I featured several of his fantastical numbers in my "Now That's What I Call Camp" compilation/challenge a few years back... Jx

    1. Indeed!

      I think it was the moment that the pianos morphed into a sort of paired, dancing spinal columns that finally gave me the creeps...

  2. I'm hugely negligent - in writing the above, I failed to credit the extraordinary Dan O Rama, video artist extraordinaire and creator, among many other things, of the incredible Joan Crawford Megamix.