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Friday Night Clam Bake – #17: You Can Tell by the Way She Used Her Walk

Howdy Clam Bakers,

Thank you for joining us around the campfire this evening. For tonight’s entertainment, we will be enjoying a lovely film provided by Osyth, Empress of Elan and Part-Time Guidance Counselor for Wayward Writers. She thought I might find it mildly amusing. I found it to be much more than that, filled as it is with swirling imagery and keen observations on the complexities of humankind. It’s impossible to fully encapsulate the thematic beauty of this film in a few words, but I will try: It is a carefully-edited compilation of Rita Hayworth dance numbers set to the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive”.

Be still your heart, yes?

We will view the film first, so that those of you who wish to flee towards the lobby bar immediately afterwards can do so. There will be no judgment if you choose this path as, frankly, you’ve already paid for your ticket and what you do henceforth is of no great concern now that we’ve met our fundraising goal. Life is a series of choices. Make them.

For those who wish to remain in your seats like a decently moral person would do, the film presentation will be followed by a discussion on the humanistic elements of this immensely-moving cinematic poem. Naturally, this discussion will mostly concern me talking about my feelings and tragic life circumstances. Did you really expect anything else when you bought the ticket?




Now, having considered all elements carefully, I feel the best format for our discussion is to dust off a methodology I sometimes used eons ago when I curated a music-video review site, which a small handful of you may vaguely recall as the original incarnation of “Backup Dancers From Hell”. This involved me designating time-stamps in the video, and then sharing my thoughts on the goings on at those particular points. (This is a subtle cue for those of you who didn’t watch the damn thing to begin with to scroll back up and take care of the one responsibility you had in the evening’s festivities.)

We can wait while you do so.

Ready? Here we go.

0:01 The opening scene is overlaid with a graphic of Pam Grier clones doing a line dance.

0:08 Rita has already stolen a man away from another woman. (Actually, two men.) Girl doesn’t waste any time.

0:14 Rita and Fred Astaire are either getting married or making an appearance on “Soul Train”. Possibly both.

0:22 Rita and Gene Kelly do an interpretive dance explaining that showing your panties in public was an established form of expression long before Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan based their careers on doing such.

0:41 If you are innocently delivering milk at a New York brownstone, and three strangers come dancing at you in a frenzy of energetic hoofing, you should probably run. The milkman does not grasp this concept and instead joins them. Is this how the Tea Party started?

0:47 The first solid example of the choreography precisely matching the Bee Gees beat.

0:51 Another example.

1:10 What in gay hell is this?

1:11 Peace out, my brother!

1:19 Rita and Orson Welles in the midst of an unhealthy relationship.

1:27 Lots of panties this time. Who knew sailors could have so much fun with pastel-hued companions?

1:35 What in gay hell, Part Two.

1:37 This is what women have to deal with when they break the glass ceiling in corporate America.

1:46 Perhaps the best single moment in the whole montage. I wet myself a little bit.

1:54 Is Rita channeling Katharine Hepburn here? Probably not. Katharine would never wear a leotard. Spencer, maybe.

1:57 More panties.

1:59 Couture as a lethal weapon.

2:03 Dondé está el baño?

2:08 High-fiber diets require creative stealth techniques in public settings.

2:15 Gene Kelly as man-whore. (Sorry, Christi.)

2:24 Why is there nobody else in this restaurant? Did the salmon turn?

2:37 Hoedown in Buckingham Palace.

2:46 Second-place for best moment in this madness. More wetting of self. (And they are so PROUD of what they are doing!)

2:55 I am not proud of what Rita is doing in this bit. What is she trying to accomplish?

3:04 Perfect use of “I’m going nowhere” lyric.

3:20 More use of violent couture. Dude, why are you just standing there and taking the abuse? Wait, are you really Melania Trump?

3:24 Lucille Ball makes an unexpected cameo. She should have known better.

3:32 The White House staff tries to dance around the truth.

3:51 Riverdance: The Unnecessary Sequel.

3:57 More shenanigans in front of a brownstone, with overly-giddy folks terrorizing a neighborhood with their inexcusable perkiness. If this isn’t proof that amphetamines were a cornerstone of the Golden Age of Hollywood, I don’t know what is.

4:07 Rita leads a Pride Parade of closeted Republican congressmen.

4:12 Still no other patrons in the restaurant. That must have been some really bad salmon.

4:16 Oh, but the restaurant has a paid orchestra off to the side, supporting the nothingness that is evident. Are we at a Donald Trump rally?

4:24 Third-best melding of choreography and Bee Gees, with those hip movements. And does Queen Elizabeth know that we know what she’s been doing with the palace guards whilst Prince Philip is off wearing a skirt in Edinburgh?

4:38 Music fades as Rita and Fred dance their way out of the salmon-death restaurant, in search of validation and better agents.

And isn’t that what we all face in life?

Please feel free to comment below. There’s no guarantee that I will respond in a timely, as I’m also headed to the lobby bar, but I’ll eventually get around to it.



29 replies »

  1. Ah, the angels have spoken to me this morning, life is a dance number where the number of partners you have doesn’t matter, the clothes don’t (as long as there are panties apparently, you should see someone about this) and you don’t need a phone in your hand every minute of your life to be happy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Damn. All that floated through my cerebral cortex was “It must be jelly, ‘cos jam don’t shake like that..” and I now have a wicked case of vertigo caused by dashing back and forth to cue up the clever time pauses to see which pithy and hilarious tag line went with which sequence. I wonder if the Bee Gees (save Barry who appears to be immortal or something) and those wonderful long dead stars of the silver screen are turning in their respective graves at the melding of 70s (early 80s) music and their own time span…or if they are celebrating someone’s quick wit. A nod to Osyth for providing you with this transfixing vid clip and you for providing the dialogue. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • I actually have a ton of these in the vaults. I rarely pull any of the old ones out, because it’s admittedly a little taxing trying to figure out which scenes I’m talking about. I wish I was one of those tech-savvy people that could insert my comments directly on the video, but my tech-saviness ground to a halt around 1987… 😉


  3. OH, lots of oh, actually. (Perhaps they were on “O” (isn’t that a drug, I don’t know?) whch would account for the costumes. Really, I want to know how she could dance with such abandon in those heels, I can’t even put one foot in front of the other at a sail pace in anything over 1/2 inch.
    yes, 1.46 looks like she is having tooooo much fun 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you so much for taking what I know will have been a huge amount of time to produce this. When I saw this, you sprung to mind instantly. And as ever you fail to disappoint. I won’t add to the commentary party further, feeling that on this occasion I am the person sitting decorously on a small gilt chair (cursing my lack of willpower when it comes to pâtisserie which surely has a direct correlation on the bell-curve of of my posterior size and wondering if I will ever crest that peak and begin the downward descent to pert and taught again in my life) and smiling serenely at the fact that my tiny little tag has produced a work of brilliance. I am a part-time counselor only because very few deserve my favours 😉 you are a leader of my small but perfectly formed back of potential stars. Just one thing …. do we think the Empress of Elan should have a throne rather than the decidedly uncomfortable but undoubtedly exquisitely chic chair, next time 😉 👑

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is fabulous! I want to go dancing now, even though i’m a terrible, one might even say grotesque, dancer. Lol. I might stick to my living room.
    PS. I have some movies to add to my watchlist!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Right? This just compilation just compels me to express my emotions through dance, even though no on will ever accuse me of grace and agility when to comes to such an expression… 😉


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