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Pygmalion [circa 1962, Chicago, Civic Opera House]

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Film Identifier: F.2011-05-0026
Run Time
0h 14m 16s
Date Produced
"Pygmalion" is a ballet choreographed by Ruth Page, loosely based on the Ancient Greek myth.  It premiered in January 1963 in Park Ridge, Illinois, with music by Franz von Suppé (adapted and orchestrated by Isaac Van Grove) and costumes and scenery by André Delfau.  

This film represents an early rehearsal of the ballet at the Chicago Civic Opera House, featuring Kenneth Johnson and Patricia Klekovic.
The film opens with a shot of a stage, where two women stand on stools (one as a real person, Phryné the other as a statue imitation, Galatea), and a man (Pygmalion, the sculptor) stands beside them, admiring his work.  He adds a few finishing touches and Phryné steps down to embrace him, attempting to reclaim his attention from the statue.  Standing in a series of arabesques wrapping her arms around him, and then sitting in a series of floor poses, she continues trying but fails to capture his attention.  He grows fed up with her interruptions, places a cloth over his work, and walks away.  She chases after him.

Pygmalion's assistant Ganymede then enters Pygmalion's workshop with a bottle to share, but, finding himself alone with Galatea, dances a mischeivous solo and excitedly peeks under the cloth covering.  Phryné then reenters and shares her frustration with Ganymede.  She uncovers the statue and attempts to convince him to move it, allowing her to take Galatea's place and finally win Pygmalion's affection.  Offering Ganymede a blown kiss and allowing him to kiss her foot, the Phryné succeeds in having Galatea removed.  Once the he exits with it, she dances a jubilant solo of her own.

Ganymede soon returns to show Phryné where the statue is hidden and as she is thanking him, the two hear Pygmalion approaching.  They scurry over to the statue's pedestal and Phryné hops up on it; Ganymede covers her with the cloth.  Pygmalion then enters to find his assistant under the cloth, so he angrily shoos Ganymede away and begins drinking from the forgotten bottle and examining his "statue."  Without thinking, he allows Phryné to drink from the bottle as well and, startled, watches as his statue seems to come to life.  

Pygmalion then dances a somewhat astonished pas de deux with his Phryné.  Afterwards, at her request, he dances a solo while she sits and watches.  Phyrné then takes her turn dancing a solo while Pygmalion looks on.  Once her solo is complete, the two lay on the ground together and Ganymede reenters with the bottle in hand.  He dances a drunken solo around the couple, who appear to be asleep.  He then wakes them up, and attempts to carry Phryné off.  The film ends there.
Additional Credits
Page, Ruth (is choreographer)
Actors, Performers and Participants
Johnson, Kenneth (is performer)
Klekovic, Patricia (is performer)
Related Place
Chicago (production location of)