Dancing - A Man’s Game
Gene Kelly’s ode to the athletics of tripping the light fantastic, "Dancing, A Man’s Game" finally returns to the small screen thanks to Entertainment One and The Archive of American Television. This 55-minute remastered DVD has some blips and wobbles due to unpreventable aging of the original film cuts, but it is still worthy of modern viewing. Kelly dances his way into and out of the program with his famous panache. His charm overwhelms the screen and it is easy to see why he became such a household name. This DVD is a treat for any Kelly fan, musical enthusiast or history buff.
Kelly asserts that classical dance is as manly as any sport. Kelly’s mission in this program is to convince his television audience that studying the art of dance is not emasculating. To prove his point, he interviews sports legends Mickey Mantle, Johnny Unitas, Sugar Ray Robinson (who engages in a soft-shoe duet with Kelly), and unfortunately named Olympic skater Dick Button (who also dances) on the comparisons of dancing and athletics. They affirm that dance requires the same discipline and strength as any sport in the genre (if not more). With the current visibility of gays in contemporary culture and blessed advent of manliness being left up to the interpreter, his arguments push a "family oriented" heterosexual stereotype. They are easily dismissed if one remembers that these opinions were typical for the 50’s.
A warning to the more sensitive viewer: Although rife with homoerotic tension and general appreciation for the clothed male form, this DVD does pander to the sexism and racism of the 50’s. Women are mentioned only briefly as feminine dancing partners necessary so a man can be manly. Only two of Kelly’s guests are POCs.
There are no DVD extras except for SDH subtitles in English. The DVD comes with a collectible booklet with images and notes from the Gene Kelly Collection located at Boston University, an intro by The Archive of American Television’s Karen L. Herman, and a lengthy history of Kelly’s conception of "Dancing, A Man’s Game."
Omnibus: Gene Kelly "Dancing, A Man’s Game"