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Doctor Bat (Die Fledermaus) [1960, Chicago, Civic Opera House]

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Film Identifier: F.2011-05-0141
Run Time
0h 40m 17s
Date Produced
"Die Fledermaus" (or "Dr. Bat") is a 3-scene ballet comedy choreographed by Ruth Page, with music by Johann Strauss, arranged and orchestrated by Isaac Van Grove. It was premiered with "Concertino Pour Trois" on January 9, 1961 in Rockford, IL. Costumes and scenery were designed by André Delfau. This film represents a rehearsal from 1960 at the Chicago Civic Opera House, without costumes or scenery. The film canister note indicates that the rehearsal was conducted without music, and that in this rehearsal, Patricia Klekovic dances the roles of both Rosalina and Adele.
The film opens with a shot of a stage, on which an old man sleepily emerges from a prop seemingly meant to be a bench in a flower garden. After stretching a bit, he picks up two roses and begins a solo in which he dances about and enjoys their scent. While he is so distracted, a group of young students (led by Gabriel von Eisenstein) ambushes him and forces him to dance merrily among them. In the confusion, they raid a costume shop and play around with the costumes, upsetting the old man. Eisenstein then begins a "bird" solo with makeshift wings, while the others watch and pretend to play instruments; when he completes the dance, a man (presumably Dr. Falke) enters with two women on his arm. The students give him a bat-like cape, and dances a solo in it like a good sport. But the students then wrap him in ropes, restricting his movement, and eventually tie him up. The old man, who had dozed off again on the sidelines, awakens and is upset about the youths' prank, but they carry him away and exit laughing. His two female companions, who'd been lost in the shuffle, return and dance around Dr. Falke with some giggles. He thrashes about in frustration and eventually convinces them to untie him. The film then cuts to the Scene 2, in Rosalina Eisenstein's boudoir. Her maid, Adele, is seated there with Rosalina's valet, Otto; they are preparing Rosalina's outfit for a ball Falke is throwing. The two dance a flirtatious pas de deux with the dress, presumably because they do not have the proper wardrobe to attend the ball; Adele then dances a solo with Rosalina's boa while Otto looks on. When she completes the solo, she begins to cry because she will not look so beautiful at the ball. Otto assuages her by giving her one of Rosalina's elaborate hats, dons a hat himself, and initiates a pas de deux with Adele. They eventually put the hats away and dance another lighthearted pas de deux. This is repeated several times in the film, suggesting the dancers were trying to work out problems with it. At the end of the pas de deux, they kiss and Otto gives Adele the dress; they scurry offstage and the film cuts to what appears to be Rosalina and Gabriel together as she primps at her Boudoir. Adele brings them drinks and Gabriel begins to flirt with her, following her to the other side of the stage and teasing her with a near-kiss. He then scurries back to dance an almost false pas de deux with his wife, glancing every so often at Adele. This back-and-forth continues until Adele finally helps Rosalina to put on her boa and exit. The film then cuts to Falke presenting Eisenstein with a formal invitation to the ball, suggesting that he bring Adele. Eisenstein agrees, but insists that they keep this a secret from Rosalina. The men then dance together, and Falke sends Eisenstein off with Adele. He then calls to Rosalina and shows her their flirtation, which Otto also sees. The two are both angry, but Falke invites them to attend together, arming them with disguises. The film then cuts to Scene 3, at the ball. Dr. Falke dances an introductory solo, excited about the mischief he has stirred up in revenge. Then guests begin to arrive and he greets them, bringing couples together and sending them off to dance. Afterwards, all 6 couples enter and dance a pas de deux in unison. Afterwards, they line the stage and Eisenstein enters, preforming a solo at center. Most of the guests then follow him offstage but a group of men remains and admires Adele in her extravagant dress when she enters, dancing with her and lifting her into the air. Upon her exit, three of the men stay onstage and dance a grand allegro together. Then the stage fills back up with the ball's attendees, including a number of couples and one central trio of two women and one man. Following this, Otto and Rosalina enter and Rosalina dances a solo while Otto and the rest look on; Otto then dances a solo of his own before the two join back together for a pas de deux. The film then cuts to an encounter between the two couples: Gabriel and Adele & Otto and Rosalina. The men trade partners, not realizing they were smitten with their wife and fiancé, respectively. Otto and Adele exit while Gabriel and Rosalina begin a long pas de deux. Afterwards, the film cuts to the re-entrance of the central six couples of the ball, dancing a jazzy pas de deux in unison. Otto and Adele join them and perform a pas de deux at center, leading the rest of the couples; following them, the Eisensteins join and perform their own brief pas de deux, before leading everyone into a grand finale. Dr. Falke soon interrupts, dressed as a bat. He unmasks Rosalina, shocking Gabriel; Otto reveals his identity to Adele as well. After a bit of anger, all is forgiven and the finale resumes with Falke added. The film ends after the dancers all reach their final pose.
Additional Credit
Page, Ruth (is choreographer)
Strauss, Johann (is composer)
Van Grove, Isaac (music)
Actors, Performers and Participants
Klekovic, Patricia (is performer)
Johnson, Kenneth (is performer)
Schick, Charles (is performer)
Long, Larry (is performer)
Bockman, Jane (is performer)
Related Place
Chicago (production location of)