Newest Reviews
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Misha and the Wolves
Yellow Cat
When the Screaming Starts
Sweetie, You Won't Believe It
Lions Love
Night Drive
Toll, The
Last Bus, The
Purple Sea
Pebble and the Boy, The
Mosquito State
Newest Articles
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
  Roseland Dance The Night Away
Year: 1977
Director: James Ivory
Stars: Teresa Wright, Lou Jacobi, Geraldine Chaplin, Christopher Walken, Helen Gallagher, Joan Copeland, Lilia Skala, David Thomas, Conrad Janis, Louise Kirtland, Jayne Heller, Annette Rivera, Floyd Chisolm, Don De Natale, Madeline Lee, Stan Rubin, Hetty Galen
Genre: Musical, Drama, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: The Roseland Ballroom in New York City is legendary for its longevity, and many of the patrons tend towards the long-lived as well. Take May (Teresa Wright), for example, she has been coming here for decades, and used to be accompanied by her husband but he has since died. She will never forget him, however, and chats away to her partners on the dancefloor about how great he was, which puts off any of the other men from trying to strike up a deeper friendship with her. But today, while she is waltzing with Stan (Lou Jacobi), she catches sight of herself in the mirror - or does she? For the elegant couple in the reflection are far younger than she is...

Roseland was intended by the producer and director team of Ismael Merchant and James Ivory to be a tribute to the famous ballroom, all at the instigation of their regular screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala who came up with the idea of following the stories of three sets of couples who would go there for the entertainment. Although it was a troubled shoot thanks mainly to union problems - for one thing, the dancers were regulars at the establishment and not paid up extras - and the fact that they were given hardly any time to shoot there, as it plays out the drama glides along as if on castors, and for some reason doesn't feel particularly cinematic at all.

In fact, the impression is more that this script would have been happier as a book of novellas, with the literary bent that informs the unfolding events not really lending itself to the silver screen. This is surprising, as you might expect a film centred around dancing to spring to glittery life as the characters take to the floor, but it's not the case. A lot of this can be down to some pretty average dancing, but as most of the performers were well into middle age and older, then you cannot fault them for that, yet the spectre of death looms over them all in a manner which draws the joy out of their personalities, even the younger ones.

The first tale is of Wright's May finding an attachment with Jacobi's Stan and getting over her obsession with her deceased spouse, even though Stan is far too crude for her, or so she thinks. Yet every time she accompanies him and sees their reflection she can see a younger version of herself with her husband, as if to tell her to move on; it's none too clear if this is supposed to be touching or amusing, but like the other plotlines it's a little flimsy and airily observed. Next up is Christopher Walken and Geraldine Chaplin who meet at the ballroom through a mutual friend (Joan Copeland) who worships Walken's semi-gigolo, but is dying, putting him in a difficult position when Chaplin's lonesome character falls for him.

The drawback here is that Walken now carries so much baggage from his following roles that you keep expecting him to turn out to be planning a murder or something; he isn't, but this kind of dashing leading man wasn't really his suit. Lastly, Lilia Skala wants to dance herself to death at the Peabody contest, and she's picked David Thomas's elderly gent to go with her, whether he wants to or not. Skala is probably the liveliest of the cast here and you believe she has the world weary lust for life, if that isn't a contradiction, which propels her to set her sights on winning the champagne bottle and expiring in a blaze of glory as she twirls her last. But what if her meeker partner is not quite as keen? All the stories are lightweight, but this final one is worth waiting for in light of the opportunities Skala receives and enjoys; overall the film has its charms, but it's hard to get enthusiastic about. Music by Michael Gibson.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 3069 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf


Last Updated: