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Big DealBob Fosse and Dance in the American Musical$
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Kevin Winkler

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199336791

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199336791.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 January 2022

Rhythm of Life

Rhythm of Life

(p.105) 5 Rhythm of Life
Big Deal

Kevin Winkler

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes Bob Fosse’s film Sweet Charity, which opened at the top of 1966 and was a compendium of then-current styles and sexual attitudes. Fosse conceived this American adaptation of Federico Fellini’s film Nights of Cabiria (1957) as a vehicle for Gwen Verdon, changing the title character from Roman prostitute to New York City dance hall hostess. He wrote several drafts of the show’s book before relinquishing those duties to Neil Simon. Nonetheless, in Sweet Charity, Fosse’s authorial voice was much in evidence. His staging exhibited a new fluidity, as well as a dark, ambivalent view of sexuality. Sweet Charity was also the vehicle by which Fosse would return to movies, this time as a director. Although full of arresting moments, the film was deemed too busy and full of gimmicky, self-conscious camerawork. Sweet Charity was a commercial and critical failure, but it allowed Fosse to explore the camera’s potential in presenting dance on film.

Keywords:   Federico Fellini, Sweet Charity, Pleasures and Palaces, Funny Girl, Gwen Verdon, Nights of Cabiria, Neil Simon, Cy Coleman, Dorothy Fields, Shirley MacLaine

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