Sleeping Beauty (1964)

aka Spyashchaya krasavitsa
Article 2559 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-7-2008
Posting Date: 8-14-2008
Directed by Apollinari Dudko and Konstantin Sergeyev
Featuring Alla Sizova, Yuri Solovyov, Natalya Dudinskaya
Country: Soviet Union

When she is not invited to the party celebrating the birth of a daughter to the king and queen, an evil witch puts a curse on the young girl. When the girl grows into a young woman, she is pricked by a needle and falls into a deep sleep. Only a handsome prince can revive her with a kiss.

Sure, it gets boring; it’s a ballet. After all, we’re talking about a movie here in which, for all intents and purposes, the plot is over while there’s still fourteen minutes of movie to go (which brings back memories of HILLBILLYS IN A HAUNTED HOUSE, and I marvel that I found the opportunity to reference that piece of silliness in this review). But when I’m not being crankily lowbrow, I can really marvel at the discipline that goes into this form of dance, and I have a vast admiration for the elegant control these dancers have over their bodies. The movie itself manages to walk an effective line between cinema and photographed ballet; most of it is as stagebound as you might expect, but the use of special effects (with witches vanishing and the like) gives it that extra bit of flavor that makes it more fun to watch. It also helps that Tchaikovsky (oddly missing the first T in the opening credits) was one of my favorite classical composers. Still, I will say this; I was spending the whole day expecting I would be watching DERANGED: CONFESSIONS OF A NECROPHILE when I got home, and when that movie got trumped by the arrival in the mail of this one, it was very difficult to switch the mental gears. Still, there’s always one thing I can say about ballet in general; at least it’s not opera.



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