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My Man - Camille (Act I pas de deux) [1958]

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Film Identifier: F.2011-05-0017
Run Time
0h 8m 52s
Date Produced
This film is part of a television episode from 1958, wherein two pieces, presumably both choreographed by Ruth Page, are danced by Barbara Steele, Kenneth Johnson, and Ruth Page herself.  The two dances are "My Man," inspired by the 1943 Yasuo Kuniyoshi painting of the same name, and a pas de deux from Page's 1959 ballet "Camille."  The film begins with Page and a television host introducing the first dance; afterwards, Page introduces the second by herself.
The film begins with a shot of Ruth Page, seated next to a male television host, fixing her costume and preparing to begin a dance.  The man introduces the dance: "We will now see the ballet dance inspired by the picture My Man by Kuniyoshi.  Barbara Steele Kenneth Johnson, and Ruth Page."  As he does so, the camera cuts to a shot of the painting (part of the permanent collection at the Art Institute of Chicago).  It features a sailor on a pier with his back turned, looking out to sea, while his lover grasps onto him.  

The camera then cuts to a shot of Ruth Page and Kenneth Johnson standing before a reproduction of this scene in a similar pose.  Page, in heels and a dress, breaks away and begins a brief solo dance to a French-inspired popular song; she is soon joined by Johnson in his sailor's uniform.  The two begin a stylized lovers' pas de deux.  In a few moments, however, they are interrupted by a woman in just a leotard and heels (Steele) walking through their scene.  She grabs Johnson's attention and appears to worry Page.  The couple then dances a more dramatic pas de deux, as Page appears pained at the prospect of losing "her man."  They are interrupted again by the woman walking through, but this time she does not exit; instead, she entices the sailor away from his lover to dance sensually with her.  Page frets beside them, and though Johnson returns to her arms momentarily, he remains more intrigued by the newcomer.  As they continue dancing sensuously, the now-spurned lover watches them in dismay.  Then, in a last ditch effort to get him back, Page peels Steele away from "her man" and regains his love and attention.  She gives up and exits; the couple returns to their pose 'on the pier' and Page's final expression suggests a mixture of relief and worry for the future.  At this point, the camera cuts back to the painting for a few moments.

The film then cuts to blank/green film for a few moments before resuming with the show.  Page, now out of costume, verbally sets the scene for the next segment, an excerpt from her ballet "Camille."  She explains that Camille (a courtesan whose real name is Marguerite) is ill with tuberculosis after a ball she has just thrown.  Armand (who flirted with her at the ball) returns to her room as she is looking at her sickly visage in the mirror.  In Page's words, "she finds him absolutely irresistable."  As she completes this explanation, the camera fades to Steele, now in a tutu and pointe shoes, as Camille.  She turns from the imaginary mirror to face Armand (Johnson) as he enters and the two dance a long pas de deux.  Camille concludes the dance by presenting Armand with a flower, as a sort of promise.  He kisses her hand; the film ends there.
Additional Credits
Page, Ruth (is choreographer)
Actors, Performers and Participants
Page, Ruth (is performer)
Steele, Barbara (is performer)
Johnson, Kenneth (is performer)