Black Tights

1669. BLACK TIGHTS (1960-France). COLOR. With CYD CHARISSE, ZIZI JEANMAIRE, MOIRA SHEARER, DIRK SANDERS, ROLAND PETIT, dancers from LES BALLETS DE CHAMPS ELYSEES. Narrated by MAURICE CHEVALIER. Costumes by YVES SAINT-LAURENT, CHRISTIAN DIOR. This is a lovely, frequently superb dance film featuring a quartet Of numbers, highlighting the talents Of several justly celebrated dancers. The first is titled “The Diamond Crunchers.” It is set on a French street and in a cafe, with the dancers garbed as day laborers, ladies Of the night and gangsters, and is a deft mixture Of ballet and jazz movements, Jeanmaire, who is paired here with Sanders, appears midway through; if you think her arms are sultry, wait until you catch a glimpse Of her legs! She was then the prima ballerina Of Les Ballets de Champs Elysees and the wife Of its leader, Roland Petit. Next comes a number which relates the story Of “Cyrano de Bergerac,” the EDMOND ROSTAND hero whose long nose prevents him from realizing his love for the beautiful Roxanne. Dance movements and swordplay are nicely integrated; Petit dances the role Of Cyrano, while Shearer makes a delicate Roxanne. In “A Merry Mourning,” leggy Charisse beautifully evokes a married woman’s desire for a striking black dress, with Petit dancing the part Of her suitor. Finally, there is the spirited ballet version Of “Carmen,” the BIZET opera about a woman (danced by Jeanmaire) who can only be described as the ultimate seductress, and her tempestuous relationship with one Don Jose (Petit). 115 minutes Ballet