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Love Song [1947, Chicago, Blackstone Theatre]

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Film Identifier: F.2011-05-0052
Run Time
0h 17m 45s
Date Produced
April 4 1947
"Love Song" was choreographed by Ruth Page and premiered on November 23, 1935 at the Chicago City Opera, with music by Schubert and scenery and costumes by André Delfau. The following year, it was performed in April at the Adelphi Theatre in New York City. It was re-premiered by the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo on March 1, 1949 at the New York City Center. The version in this film occurred just two years before this, on April 4, 1947 at Chicago's Blackstone Theatre (now the Merle Reskin Theatre). It was performed by the "Federal Ballet," starring Ruth Page and Bentley Stone (as per a shot of the venue's marquee at the beginning of the film), with scenery by Nicholas Remisoff. The films breaks the performance into segments, not always in chronological order, and with some repeat segments. NOTE: The Federal Ballet label is anachronistic for its 1947 date; the Page-Stone company was only referred to as the Federal Ballet when engaged by the Federal Dance Project of the WPA in 1938-1939. Especially since the final frames indicate that the show's bill also included "Guns and Castanets" and "Scrapbook, " it is possible that this film canister was misdated and that this film is actually from 1939.
The film begins with a shot from the ground up at a theater marquee reading "Blackstone Theatre, Federal Ballet, Ruth Page and Bentley Stone." It then cuts to an angled view of a stage with a few steps to an elevated portion at the back, at the front of which about eight or ten women in tulle-skirted costumes dance in two groups and as a corps. Soon a woman in a black costume and veil slowly enters behind them and begins a solo; before she completes it, the camera cuts to a darker shot of the corps dancers. It then returns to the woman in black, now being joined by a man in a matching costume. They slowly embrace each other and then each take the lead of half the corps. The couple then begins a pas de deux with the corps dancing as an ensemble behind them. There are a few cuts and much of the dance occurs in dark shadows so it is difficult to see. The film then cuts to another segment, in which the couple is gone and the corps, now seated on the steps, is joined by two other groups: one composed of women in white dresses, and the other of men in soldier-like costumes. The male group has a leader who does small solos on his own; otherwise the two groups dance together as ensembles. Before long, the film cuts again to another segment, in which the couple in black is alone onstage. They dance a languorous pas de deux with occasional speedy accents. Eventually, they seat themselves on the steps and one of the women from the corps enters and dances a slightly jazzier solo before joining them in lounging on the steps; two more from the corps follow suit, soon joined by a third. Once they are seated, five more corps members enter stage and dance before the others. Following them is a female soloist in an as-yet-unseen costume, dancing energetically and then convincing the man in black to stand up and join her in a lively pas de deux. This transitions into a solo by the man, and then a pas de trois with the energetic soloist and his partner in black. The camera then cuts back to his solo and continues from there: the man leaves stage with the energetic soloist, leaving the woman in black to mourn his choice on the steps. She is comforted by corps members, and then dances a solo of lamentation while they watch and eventually exit. Next, the film cuts to a segment of the three of them: the woman in black tries to keep her ex-lover away from the new woman, but with little success, even as she literally weighs him down. This segment is repeated twice before cutting to similar repetitions of another solo by the woman in black; the corps then slowly bourrées in behind her for additional emotional support. She soon lands on the steps again, with the corps in front of her. As the man in black crosses behind her with his new lover, she collapses there and the curtain drops. The film then cuts to their bows, then to more footage of her final solo, the curtain going down again. Finally, it cuts to what appears to be a poster for the show, which reads: "Limited Engagement: Federal Ballet, featuring 'Guns and Castanets' (Carmen in Modern Spain), 'Love Song,' 'Scrap Book;' danced and directed by Ruth Page and Bentley Stone; cast of 35." The film ends there.
Additional Credits
Page, Ruth (is choreographer)
Actors, Performers and Participants
Page, Ruth (is performer)
Stone, Bentley (is performer)
Related Place
Chicago (production location of)