THE URBAN LEGEND OF THE FILM: A Deleted Scene From A Nearly Forgotten Michael Douglas Romantic Comedy/Drama Essentially Led To dirty dance.
In a relatively recent film, Legends Revealed on dirty dance (and how the producers of the movie tried to remove the abortion storyline from the movie because Proctor and Gamble wouldn’t promote Clearasil unless it was removed) I noted the movie was truly a case of surprise success. No one thought it was going to be a big hit, certainly not the producers (and even the actors doubted it). So, it was a very pleasant surprise for everyone involved when it became a word of mouth sensation. It opened up better than expected, but stayed hot for months. Its real power, however, came when it made the jump to VHS. Now, suddenly, all the kids who didn’t necessarily watch the film when it was in the cinema (it was mainly worn by an adult audience rather than a teenager) devoured it on video cassette.
For such a surprising success story, the film’s production background was even After surprising, especially when the centerpiece of what became Dirty Dancing was born, of all things, from footage left on the cutting room floor of a romantic comedy/drama long forgotten by most moviegoers.
WHAT WAS THE FIRST FILM WRITTEN BY THE WRITER OF DIRTY DANCING?
Put simply, the plot meat of Dirty Dancing came from the life of its creator, screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein, who grew up frequenting Grossinger’s Catskill Resort Hotel in the Catskill Mountains in the summer with her family (her father was doctor) in the 1950s. Bergstein was an accomplished Mambo dancer as a teenager (one of the tracks Patrick Swayze thought they should have called Dirty Dancing was inspired by Bergstein’s life story, to know I was a teenage Mambo Queen). While in college at the University of Pennsylvania, Bergstein earned money teaching dance at the popular Arthur Murray Dance Studios.
As an adult, Bergstein wrote a novel, Advance Paul Newman, which came out in 1973, and then she tried to make it as a screenwriter. She wrote an original screenplay which was made into a film in 1980 titled It’s my turnwith Michael Douglas and Jill Clayburgh.
The film starred Clayburgh as a woman in a boring relationship in Chicago who comes to New York for a job interview and to attend her father’s wedding. She ends up falling in love with the married son of her father’s new wife, a former baseball player played by Douglas. They have an affair and in the end, Clayburgh’s character is inspired to leave her annoying boyfriend and maybe take a new step forward in her life (she received a gift from Douglas’ character suggesting that maybe their link will continue).
The film was directed by Claudia Weill, fresh off her acclaimed independent film, girlfriends. At one point in the film, there was an erotic dance between the two main characters as part of the foreplay. Bergstein’s dance background inspired the scene, and she would show the crew some dance moves between takes. However, there was a problem with the film at the time and his name was Ray Stark.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE DANCE SCENE IN IT’S MY TURN?
In a Vanity Fair article by Joy Press last year, Weill explained how difficult it was to work with veteran film producer Ray Stark on It’s my turn, which partly explains why it was the last feature Weill ever directed. She explained, “Ray Stark was a real bully, and so it was a difficult situation. He certainly knew how to completely undermine my authority. If you did more than three takes as a woman, it was like, Oh, my God, she doesn’t know what she’s doing. But if Michael Cimino did 190 takes, he was a genius! There was just a very different way of looking at women and looking at men. Stark also called the crew if Weill was wearing a bra and ran his hand over her back to check.
More importantly, however (well, for the purposes of this caption), Stark had a second editor secretly working on the film and this editor made the official cut of the film and the dance scene was removed from the final film. Weill had a long career in television and theater as a director, but she never returned to film, noting that she was able to do it as a director at the time, “You just have to want that more than anything, and be prepared I think there was a part of me that just didn’t want to go back to that cesspool.
Well, Bergstein moved on with her life, but as she told Carrie Rickey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, “A few years later, I was walking down the street and I came across a crew member from It’s my turn. He said, “I remember when you taught us all how to dance dirty.” “It was the proverbial lightbulb moment for Bergstein, she sat down with the music she grew up with and actually built the story around the songs (which is why, for a movie so small budget, there are a lot of classic songs in the movie, it was too big for the movie to cut).
Bergstein bought the script and received a deal to work on it dirty dance for MGM, but a change in direction led the studio to abandon the script. Linda Gottlieb was the film’s producer and she and Bergstein went on to champion the script at numerous studios before eventually getting a video company trying to break into feature films, Vestron, to bite by promising to cut the budget. by half and the film was finally produced for less than 5 million dollars
The rest, as they say, was history.
The legend is…
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