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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Filming Mistakes in "Dirty Dancing"

The website has a webpage (two pages) about Dirty Dancing. Below are examples:

In the last dance scene of the movie, Patrick Swayze jumps down from the stage and the hair on his forehead which was completely dry is suddenly very wet and plastered to his head.

In the scene where Penny and Johnny are teaching Baby their dance routine you see Penny putting on a record, if you look closely you can see that Penny moves the arm to put the record on then right away you see her taking the arm away even though the music has started. Even if it's a directorial device for us to hear different music than they do, it's still a mistake because she's not actually put the record on, meaning they've not got any music playing.

When Baby's family drive into Kellerman's you can see the back of the mum's head, and her hair is blonde. In the rest of the movie she has red hair. This is because the original actress cast as her mother changed after filming had already begun.

In the scene were Johnny is fighting Robbie, his belt breaks, and is hanging down. Next shot it is fastened again. And then it is hanging down again.

When Baby and her Dad are on the porch, having a serious conversation about the money for the dancer's abortion, the Dad's collar on his jacket is turned up, then down, then up again.

When Johnny has realized that he locked his keys in the car, he takes the pole and breaks one of the car windows with it. The hole he made was about the size of a fist. In the next scene however, the hole in the window is twice as big as it was before.

In the last dance scene, notice the part before the performance, where everything goes dark and the spotlight shines on Baby. You'll see Johnny take off his coat. Then the camera goes back to Johnny offstage taking off his coat again.

In the scenes where Johnny and Baby have to break into the car, when Johnny looks in to find his keys, it's raining, when he turns to grab the post to break the window, the sun is up and the ground is dry, then when he turns back to actually break the window, it's raining again.

Notice Baby's white Keds shoes with the blue emblem on the back of them. That style of Keds didn't come out until the 80s.

In the scene when Baby is changing her clothes in the back of Johnny's car the lights and shadows in the car are moving in the wrong direction.

During the entire part where Penny is sick after the abortion, Baby's hair alternates between really curly and wavy. When she gets out of Johnny's car it's wavy, when she runs down to get her father all the way up until the part where her father sees Penny it's curly, after that it becomes wavy again.

When Baby is kissing Johnny after he talks about women using him, the blankets are tucked into her armpit, but then in the next shot they are neatly lying around her waist.

Joel Siegel's Series About the Borscht Belt

Joel Siegel, who appeared on ABC's Good Morning, America for many years, did a series about the Borscht Belt.

Part 1 -- about the activities

Part 2 -- about the food

Part 3 -- about the entertainers

Part 4 -- about Grossinger's Hotel

A Video About the Kutscher Hotel

A documentary film titled Welcome to Kutscher's: The Last Catskills Resort is described on this webpage. The film's trailer, which shows many photographs and clips, is below:

There are many other videos on the YouTube page's right margin.

Marisa Scheinfeld's Photographs of Borscht-Belt Resorts

Business Insider magazine has a webpage introducing a series of recent photographs, done by Marisa Scheinfeld, illustrating the physical deterioration of the Borscht Belt hotels. A few old photographs, however, show scenes from the hotels' golden age.   

Here is an excerpt from the Business Insider introductory article:
The so-called "Borscht Belt" — also known as the Jewish Alps and Solomon Country — was transformed by the Jewish community into a resort haven of their own. 
Skiing, skating, swimming, and boating were all offered by the ritzy resorts. Little-known comedians including Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, and Joan Rivers all got their start doing stand-up comedy here. The community even inspired the film Dirty Dancing
In short, the Borscht Belt was booming. 
But that all changed in the 1960s. Cheap air travel suddenly allowed a new generation to visit more exotic and warmer destinations. Grossinger's Resort, which once boasted 150,000 visitors annually and was known as the "Waldorf in the Catskills," abandoned its operations in 1986. 
New York-based photographer Marisa Scheinfeld grew up in this community, vacationing in the Borscht Belt with her family every summer. She set out to capture the crumbling glamour of the once well-known destinations in her new exhibit "The Ruins of the Borscht Belt." 
"While the project originated with my interest in the area's regional history and engages personal notions of memory, it also reveals the growth, flowering and exhaustion of things, and then their subsequent regeneration," Scheinfeld said in her artist statement. "The Borscht Belt was a haven for an entire cultural and social movement of people; its influences spread to mainstream American culture, entertainment and media."
Now, the swimming pools typically look like this:

 These and other photographs from this collection can be seen in larger size here.


Newsweek also has a webpage, written by Abigail Jones, about Scheinfeld's collection of photographs. Here are some excerpts.
Had photographer Marisa Scheinfeld, 33, been born a few decades earlier, she would have grown up in the heart of America’s quintessential vacationland rather than its modern-day ruins. When Scheinfeld was 6 years old, her family left New York City to move upstate, to a tiny slice of the Catskills called Kiamesha Lake. “It’s barely anything,” she says of the leafy hamlet, but from the 1920s through the 1960s, millions of Americans—including Scheinfeld’s father and grandparents—sought out the area’s nearly 600 hotels, 500 bungalow colonies and 1,000 rooming houses for a dose of relaxation, nature and indulgence. It was the American Dream meets Disney World meets a summer camp for adults. 
Dotted across Sullivan and Ulster counties, hotels like the Concord, Grossinger’s, the Pines and the Laurels boasted luxury at its most grandiose. The Concord had 40 tennis courts, three golf courses, 1,200 guest rooms, a dining room for 3,000 and its own gas station. Nearby, Grossinger’s was a rival behemoth, complete with the requisite outdoor activities and enormous interiors, plus a private post office and a landing strip. Wilt Chamberlain, who spent a summer working as a bellhop at Kutsher’s Country Club, played on its basketball team. His coach: Red Auerbach. Muhammad Ali and Floyd Patterson trained for fights at the Concord. Evenings were just as dazzling. Everyone from Jerry Lewis to Rodney Dangerfield and Jerry Seinfeld performed their stand-up acts on hotel stages. Bungalow colonies offered a simpler side of the Catskills experience. ..... 
Today, almost all of these great Catskills resorts have been abandoned, transformed or demolished. The Concord, where Scheinfeld spent her summers working as a lifeguard and playing cards and bingo with her grandparents, closed in 1998. Soon after, it was bulldozed—all of it: the tennis courts and swimming pools and skating rinks and night clubs and thousands of hotel rooms. 
Some hotels and bungalow colonies became meditation retreats and rehabilitation centers. A handful are now home to Orthodox Jewish families from New York. There is even talk of casinos reinvigorating the area. 
Yet so many of these hotels and bungalows have become ruins. Left for dead, they have been reclaimed by nature, altered by time and neglect, their buildings and grounds morphing into eerie, postapocalyptic graveyards. 
The Catskills of Scheinfeld’s childhood—economically depressed, rundown—became her muse. In 2009, she left the East Coast to pursue her MFA at San Diego State University. Homesick, she spent her vacations in upstate New York; when a professor told her, “shoot what you know,” she started photographing the ruins of these once-great hotels. 
Her first museum exhibit, “Echos of the Borscht Belt: Contemporary Photographs by Marisa Scheinfeld,” takes us claustrophobically close to the skeletal remains of the Catskills’ golden age. The show, which officially opens September 10 at the Yeshiva University Museum in New York City, is haunted by the detritus of what once was: the missing people, the abandoned activities, the desolate places that at one time buzzed with life. Hallways are bruised and broken, strewn with crumbling plaster and fallen insulation. Wires hang from ceilings, graffiti covers the walls, moss grows over floors and up stairs. In a guestroom at the Tamarack Lodge, a pale pink rotary phone sits on a bare mattress, the receiver off the hook. And yet Scheinfeld’s photography shows that these broken hotels are very much alive. 
The exhibit, which features 21 large-scale photos plus a few cases of Catskills ephemera (a Concord ski hat, Grossinger’s stationery, postcards and room keys), takes you through the hotels as guests would have experienced them. We start at the entrances, all of them overgrown with lush trees and sunburnt fields, and then move into the once-ornate lobbies, pools and nightclubs, which now look more like where squatters, addicts and hipsters throwing DIY warehouse raves might congregate. .... 
Scheinfeld worked with local police and politicians to get permission to walk on the various properties. Sometimes, she simply trespassed. Once on-site, she often carefully stepped across crumbling foundations, sunken floors and broken glass. In the winter, snow often fell indoors, creating a layer of ice on what was left of the floors. By springtime, puddles were everywhere. ....
Next year, Cornell University Press will publish a book of Scheinfeld’s photography, including 80 photos of hotel ruins; portraits of people who helped spark the Catskills heyday (including comedian Mal Z Lawrence and dancer Jackie Horner), and a collection of re-photographic works. The latter is especially compelling. Using vintage postcards as her guide, Scheinfeld hunted down the locations on the cards and took new photos from the very same perspectives and vantage points. One juxtaposition features the Laurel’s indoor pool at its peak, packed with a crowd of smiling, tanned guests and tall, rectangular windows. When Scheinfeld returned to the Laurel’s to photograph the pool, all she found was a hole in the ground in the shape of the pool, filled to the brim with snow. 
Despite spending the past five years photographing abandoned resorts, Scheinfeld says she never felt emotional about their decline, never once teared up—until last week, during her first visit to Kutsher’s Country Club. It outlasted all of the great Borscht Belt hotels, although today it is partly demolished, partly collapsing and “a total mess,” as Scheinfeld puts it. 
“It was very emotional for me. I didn’t realize how upset I’d get. I used to go with my grandma, who’s old and sick, and my grandfather, who passed away. I saw the pool table we used to play on, and the hallway we used to pass through that’s now falling apart…. I don’t want to go back there again,” Scheinfeld says. “After I left Kutsher’s, I cried.”
Jone's entire article, titled "Photographing the End of the Borscht Belt in the Catskills", can be read here.


The Daily Beast published another interesting article based on Scheinfeld's collection of photographs. The article, titled "The Ghost Hotels of the Catskills" and written by Brandon Presser, is published here. I thought the following passages were especially interesting.
Thousand-person theaters sprung up, and the casts of resident entertainers, which included the likes of Milton Berle (né Mendel Berlinger), Sid Caesar (né Isaac Ziser), and Alan King (né Irwin Kniberg), were largely credited with birthing American comedy as we know it today. 
These summer havens were the training grounds for future television and film stars, and, as [John] Conway [the official Sullivan County historian] explains, “It was the Saturday Night Live of its time, spawning the great entertainers of the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s—it was the Catskills’ Golden Era.” Even after the proliferation of TV, the major resorts would lure big-ticket names like Joan Rivers and Rodney Dangerfield for a night of laughs. 
Sports, too, were an important part of the kingdoms of the Catskills. Basketball matches were orchestrated for entertainment purposes, and entire NCAA teams would take up residence at the different estates to hone their craft during the extended interim between semesters. “Wilt Chamberlain quite famously spent some time in the mountains, working as a bellboy during the day and playing ball on the resort’s team in the evenings,” says Conway..... 
The hotels were, for a couple of decades, truly magnificent, but Conway insists, “It was all built upon smoke and mirrors.” Behind the resorts’ veneer, unbeknownst to its guests, was a vicious game of one-upmanship that escalated with each passing summer. 
“Each year the largest properties would unveil their latest gadget or gimmick to lure patrons back for the following season,” says Conway, the best example of which was the advent of the indoor pool. In 1958 Grossinger’s revealed a mammoth natatorium bedecked in a generous surplus of art deco detailing. Constructed at a huge cost, it forced the neighboring properties to take on a similar financial burden, and four years later there were over 30 indoor swimming pools in the region. 
“Unable to recoup the insurmountable costs, the hotels struck lending deals with local vendors and banks,” says Conway, but the act of keeping up with the Joneses ultimately proved unsustainable, even for the hegemonies like Grossinger’s, and by the late ’60s most resorts had reached the point of no return. 
Although the end was truly nigh by the end of the decade, rabid overspending wasn’t the sole conspirator in the demise of the Catskills' golden era. Conway refers to the other important factors as the “three ‘A’s”: air conditioning, assimilation, and airfare. 
Sullivan County had long garnered a reputation as a place of wellness, often being quite literally what the doctor ordered for those unable to properly convalesce in the city, but the advent of air conditioning made it less of a necessity—especially for vacationers with smaller budgets—to escape the Big Smoke for breezier weather. 
Dr. Phil Brown, a sociology professor at Northeastern University, founder of the Catskills Institute, and author of Catskill Culture: A Mountain Rat’s Memories of the Great Jewish Resort Area, cites the gradual melting away of anti-Semitism in America as “the primary reason for the decrease in the region’s Jewish clientele.” 
As prejudices waned, it became easier and ultimately desirable for Jews to fully assimilate. Once other holidaying destinations around the country lifted their ban on Jewish patrons there was less of a need to coalesce in the Catskills, and as Brown says, “it became easier for young Jewish professionals to find jobs in the city,” meaning that they no longer needed to subsist on summer resort wages to fund their education. 
But on a greater scale, the assimilation slowly chipped away at the tight family bonds formed long ago in the shtetls of Eastern Europe; a great number of American Jews intermarried with other faiths, and divorce became more commonplace in general. The younger generation, keen on being defined as American first before any other trait, saw little need to participate in Jewish activities as well. 
“The broader acceptance of the nation’s Jewish population also led to a massive migration of Jews within America,” notes Brown. They left New York City for Los Angeles and Miami with the same spirit that led the previous generation over from the Old Country, as documented in Debra Dash Moore’s book, To The Golden Cities. 
At Kutsher’s, one of the last great resorts to bite the dust, a security officer stands guard, warning onlookers of the threat of asbestos within. Tractors have parked in front of the ruins; the estate was recently purchased by an Indian lifestyle brand with intensions to sink over $90 million into the development of a yoga retreat. If all goes according to plan, it will be the first step in bolstering the reputation of a county that has its sights set on much more than wellness: The latest aim is to transform the area into a $500 million casino resort. 
Conway is optimistic about the recent renewal in interest in the region’s potential as a center for holidaymakers, but—big, shiny gambling megaliths or not—he’s certain that the golden era of hundreds of his so-called “fortress hotels” is gone forever.

I found another old photograph here:

Ron Jeremy's Reminiscences About Borscht-Belt Resorts

One of the most famous male actors in pornographic movies is Ron Jeremy. He performed in more than 1,750 pornographic movies, which was the world record in 2007. He estimates that he has enjoyed sexual intercourse with more than 4,000 women.

He became a porn star because he has a big penis and an amusing personality, but he is not handsome.

When he began his porn career at the end of the 1970s, at about the age of 26, he was handsome enough.

In 2007 his ghost-written autobiography was published -- Ron Jeremy: The Hardest Working Man in Showbiz.  The following information and quotes are taken from that book.

He was born Ron Jeremy Hyatt (he dropped his family name when he began working in pornography) in 1953. He grew up in a secular-Jewish family in Queens, New York. He studied piano and flute from childhood. In high school, he became active in theatrical performing and in earning money.
By the time I enrolled in Benjamin Cardozo High School, the acting but had wiggled deep into my chest and wasn't budging. I took every drama class the school offered, hung out with the theater crowd, and starred in productions like The Devil and Daniel Webster and Oklahoma. When I wasn't cast in The King and I,  I managed to persuade Mr. Segal, the director, to let me play piano as the musical accompaniment. 
Though music and theater were my first loves back then, my second love was making money. I was barely in my teens before I decided I needed a disposable income. By fifteen, with proper working papers, I was gainfully employed as an ice-cream vendor in Cunningham Park. The ice cream was supplied by  a local hot-dog stand, and I wold walk around the park for hours with my little car, peddling ice cream to the tourists and making a staggering $1.60 an hour for my efforts. I can still remember the thrill of receiving a check every week. It wasn't much, but to me it was a fortune. And best of all, I had earned it. 
Ron lost his virginity at the age of 15. Well endowed, confident and seductive, he acquired much sexual experience by the time he graduated. Here is his senior photograph in his high-school yearbook.

While he still was in high school, he began earning extra money by working in hotels in the Borscht Belt during his summer vacations. Since he was born in 1953, I assume he worked there in the early 1970's -- more than seven years after the Dirty Dancing story. However, his experiences still resonate with the movie.
I first started coming up to the Catskills when I as still in high school. I'd spend the summers working s a waiter at any of the high-class hotels, like the Concord and Grossinger's and Green Acres. As I got older and more experienced, I eventually moved up in rank and seniority. I loved the work, but more important, i loved the money. For a young Jewish kid with a limitless supply of energy, the Catskills was like a gold mine.  
But I wasn't just a miser looking to line his pockets with cash. Some of that money was actually necessary. When I enrolled in Queens College, I needed something besides good looks to pay my tuition. ..... You could make a small fortune at Grossinger's if you learned how to work the guests.  
It wasn't enough just to be polite and bring out their meals as quickly as possible. You had to play into their expectations. I learned that from watching the Christian waiters. They'd wear yarmulkes and pretend they were med students, and they'd always get the biggest tips. I, like a fucking idiot, who actually was a Jew, didn't wear a yarmulke. I was a reformed Jew, so it never seemed appropriate. And I was too honest with my customers. They asked me what I wanted to do with my life, and I told them that I was pursuing an acting career. Big mistake. ....
When I figured out that honesty wasn't getting me any tips, I gave myself a full Jewish makeover. I wore yarmulkes. ... And when a customer asked me about my career choices, I would always -- always -- claim to be studying medicine. .... 
Grossinger's had some incredible discotheques and nightclubs, and I always visited them after my shifts, shaking my butt on the dance floor and flirting with the female guests. It was a dangerous game, because, at least in theory, the hotel's clubs were off-limits to employees. Remember the movie Dirty Dancing? It was exactly like that, although not as highly choreographed. The staff wasn't allowed to socialize with the guests, and doing so was grounds for dismissal. ..... 
Even as a kid with little use for sleep, I was burning the candle at both ends, working all day and chasing the girls all night. All around me were vacationing women, walking around in their skimpy bikinis, looking for a fling with the first teenage boy with a big penis to walk up and buy them a drink.  
Not all the flirtation between the staff and guests was frowned upon in some of the smaller hotels. When it came to the Borscht Bunnies, sometimes we were expected to "date". Though we couldn't socialize in their nightclubs or discos, there was an unspoken understanding that we were allowed to "take care of the women" if they needed company. .... 
"Borscht Bunnies" or Bungalow Bunnies" were terms coined in the Catskills, meaning "married women who live boinking younger guys." Every summer, rich couples from Manhattan would drive up to the Catskills for the weekend, wining and dining at the best resorts that money could buy. On Monday, the husbands would return to the city (and one could only assume, to their mistresses) while their wives stayed behind. They were lonely, armed with their husband's credit cards, and ready to play. By "play", I mean, of course, have as much sex as possible with as many hot young boys as possible, which usually meant the resort's staff of easily seduced waiters and busboys. .... 
On this particular summer in 1975, I just so happened to be maitre d' at one of the poshest resorts in the Catskills: Gasthalter's Paramount Hotel. The moment I spotted these two Borscht Bunnies in the Paramount dining room, flirting and drinking wine, I knew it was going to be a good night.  
I called up my friend Ken, and we met up with the ladies for a few drinks after my shift. Several cocktails later, we invited them back to our room ..... 
We took a dip in the pool before splitting off into pairs and retiring back to our respective rooms. Though my Broscht Bunny couldn't have been more than forty-five, I'd never been with an older woman before, so it was a novelty to me. It was like having my own personal Mrs. Robinson. And she clearly had some built-up sexual frustration, because .....
... and so forth and so on.  You yourself will have to read the book for more details.

Eleanor Bergstein's Earlier Movie "It's My Turn"

Recently I happened to watch a 1980 movie titled It's My Turn. My wife wanted to watch a romantic-comedy, so I looked at the movies that would be shown on television that evening. This movie starred one of my favorite actresses, Jill Clayburgh, and one of my wife's favorite actors, Michael Douglass, so I recorded it and we watched it.

Here is the movie trailer.

The movie turned out to be lousy, but we watched it to the end. The next day, I searched Google for articles about the movie and discovered that the screenplay had been written by Eleanor Bergstein, who later wrote the screenplay for the 1987 movie Dirty Dancing.

By the time I read that, I already had deleted my recording. If I ever see It's My Turn on television again, I will record it and analyze it carefully with regard to Dirty Dancing. In the meantime, I am writing this article about It's My Turn based on my recent memory.

Clayburgh plays Kate Gunzinger, a mathematics professor, and Douglas plays Ben Lewin, a retired professional baseball player.

Judging by their family names and by their parents' wedding ceremony, he and she seem to be Jewish. She has a boyfriend named Homer (last name unspecified), who is played by Charles Grodin, an actor who was raised in an orthodox-Jewish family. The Homer character seemed to me to be a Gentile -- especially with the Greek name Homer. The characters' ethnicities are not apparent factors in the movie's plot, but perhaps were subconscious factors in Bergstein's mind when she wrote the story (similar to Dirty Dancing).  

The Wikipedia article about It's My Turn says the following:
The film was directed by Claudia Weill and written by Eleanor Bergstein. The producers of It's My Turn cut out an erotic dancing scene from Bergstein's screenplay, which sparked her to go on and write a new script that would become the 1987 hit film Dirty Dancing.
The version I watched on television did have a scene where Kate and Ben dance. In fact, the above trailer shows a glimpse of the dance scene.

The dance scene was not "erotic". Kate obviously is an awkward and reluctant dancer, and that seems to be the scene's point. I assume that this was the scene that was cut from the movie's original version and that the scene has been put back into the version shown now on television. Perhaps, though, the movie's pre-edited version included a second dance scene that was supposed to be "erotic".

There were several reasons why It's My Turn is a bad movie. Here are a couple minor reasons:

* Some of the dialog is unintelligible. There were at least five passages that I had to replay repeatedly to try to understand what was said. The problem was a combination of inadequate sound-recording and sloppy pronunciation. This was very annoying and must have been doubly-annoying for people who watched the movie in theaters. (The movie shown on television does not include closed-captions.)

* Many of the scenes lasted far too long. The above trailer begins with part of a long scene that takes place in a hotel's game room. Kate and Ben play ping-pong and a game similar to Foosball. The idea seemed to be that she tried to be competitive, but he played better. Whatever, the scene lasted far too long.

A major reason why the movie is bad is that the story is implausible. Kate Gunzinger is a super-serious mathematics professor who is living with a successful architect in Chicago. She travels to New York City for a few days to attend a job interview and her widowed father's wedding. During her few days there, she falls in love and enjoys sex with her new brother-in-law (the son of her father's new wife) a professional baseball player who recently had to retire because of an injury. Kate returns to Chicago but wants to continue her affair with Ben long-distance. He, because he is married, breaks off the affair. Then Kate dumps her boyfriend Homer because he does not pay enough attention to her. The movie ends with her single, continuing to teach mathematics at her Chicago university.

This scene shows the high level of mathematics that she teaches at a Chicago university.

(This scene -- which is essentially irrelevant to the rest of the movie -- is a good example of the many scenes that were far too long.)

The number of 35-year-old (Jill Clayburgh's age) university professors who teach such mathematics and are female and look like Jill Clayburgh and are living with successful professional men (e.g. architects) and still are unmarried is very small -- ZERO. Now multiply that small number by the number of such women who would immediately -- in two or three days -- fall in love with a retired professional baseball player who happens to be her new brother-in-law -- ZERO SQUARED.

Kate is a character with whom very few female viewers would identify. Clayburgh is an actress who possibly could make such a character seem plausible, but even Clayburgh fails in this movie. I love Clayburgh as an actress, but I didn't believe in her Kate character for even one second.

For me as a male viewer of the movie, I even thought that the Kate character was morally repugnant.

* Attending the preparations for her widowed father's wedding, Kate has a sexual affair with the son of the father's new bride. If this affair had been exposed, her father's wedding and marriage could have been ruined.

* Kate treats her father's new wife meanly.

* Kate asks Ben to continue their affair long-distance after he returns home to his wife and she returns home to her now cuckolded boyfriend.

* Ben refuses to continue the affair because he is married. Nevertheless, he sends her a present by mail, and she seems to be happy and hopeful that her affair might continue after all.

* After she returns to Chicago, she dumps her boyfriend Homer because, she complains that he has not been paying enough attention to her. So, it's Homer's fault. She does not admit to Homer that she already has become a baseball player's groupie.

In general, men do not admire such women and do not consider movies featuring such women to be romantic comedies.

Since Douglas and Clayburgh were expensive actors, the movie's investors must have lost a ton of money.


Evidently, however, Bergstein learned some valuable lessons that paid off for the people who financed her next movie, Dirty Dancing, which enjoyed the following advantages.

* The female protagonist, Baby Houseman, was a character with whom female viewers could identify and with whom male viewers could fall in love.

* The male protagonist, Johnny Castle, was single and did not have even a steady girlfriend.

* The dancing in the movie was superb.

The two movies were similar, however, in terminating the love affair. Just as their was no future together for Kate and Ben in It's My Turn, there was no future together for Baby and Johnny in Dirty Dancing. Each movie is about a brainy Jewish female's brief sexual fling with an dopey but athletic male.


The Amazon webpage about the movie includes customer comments that praise the movie inanely. However, one commentator, Skip Jones, tells the truth.
The whole film, It's my Turn, from beginning to end, is jive. Watching this film was a truly hateful experience. 
Two words, Baby: Chick Flick! The characters portrayed in It's My Turn seem about as real as the two-dimensional cardboard likenesses of film stars that one might see in the lobby of a theatre. 
The whole concept behind the movie is laughable. It's full of campy 70's feminist rhetoric, and about as deep as a soap opera about Barbie and Ken. Not much to think about, really. The dialogue sounds like a series of mindless jokes. Did people really talk like that back in 1979? 
Charles Grodin and Mike Douglas portray a couple of Archie and Jughead-types on the make. Jill Clayburg's performance is particularly laughable as a seventies version of every-woman who struggles with the mundane problems of life in Chicago and New York. A meaningless subplot: Her father fails to comply with her beatific ideas of perfection! 
I saw this film at the local cineplex over twenty years ago, and since then, have never forgotten the experience. Upon the conclusion of the film I felt that I had wasted two hours of my life. I was so irritated that I seriously considered breaking into the projection room, taking the film from the projector and burning it with some lighter fluid and a match. 
Would I recommend this film to my friends? Sure! Why not? Anything's better than watching The English Patient
Bonus Comment: I predict that by the year 2020, this film will be a tremendously popular camp favorite with people who are yet to be born, or are in their early infancy. 
By 2020, Charles, Mike, Jill and the rest of the gang will be enroute to the old actor's home. By then, kids will look at It's My Turn in much the same way that most kids of today watch reruns of old TV shows like The Beverly Hillbillies and think that their parents were dolts.

The movie It's My Turn featured a song with the same title, sung by Diana Ross. The song became a hit, reaching #9 on the Billboard Top Hundred in 1980. Here is a YouTube clip:

Here are the lyrics, written by Carole Bayer Sager:
I can't cover up my feelings
In the name of love
Or play it safe. 
For a while that was easy
And if living for myself
Is what I'm guilty of
Go on and sentence me. 
I'll still be free.
It's my turn
To see what I can see. 
I hope you'll understand
This time's just for me,
Because it's my turn
With no apologies. 
I've given up the truth
To those I've tried to please
But now it's my turn. 
If I don't have all the answers
At least I know
I'll take my share of chances
Ain't no use of holding on. 
When nothing stays the same
So I'll let it rain
'Cause the rain ain't gonna hurt me. 
And I'll let you go
'Though I know it won't be easy. 
It's my turn
With no more room for lies
For years I've seen my life
Through someone else's eyes.
These lyrics do express insightfully Kate's attitude toward her boyfriend Homer in the movie It's My Turn. Kate has intended to cheat on Homer and then to dump him. Her self-justification is expressed in these lyrics. In her mind, it's just logical.


The movie It's My Turn was directed by Claudia Weill, who went on to become a successful director, especially for television. For example, she directed the TV dramas Thirtysomething, My So-Called Life, Once and Again, Chicago Hope and Girls.

Weill is interested in portraying the resentments of women (especially Jewish women) having to compete with, measure up to, and learn from men. In a recent interview, she said:
Weill is interested in portraying the resentments of women (especially Jewish women) having to compete with, measure up to, and learn from men. In a recent interview, she said:

I was very fixated on what it meant to be Jewish and female in America ... because that was what I was facing. ... because I had Orthodox grandparents. God was just available for men, not for women. [There is] a kind of self doubt which is perhaps more female, I think of it as being more female, not being sure that you’re really a contender, that you can play the game. Not sure that you’re one of the boys, so to speak.

It was important to me [to portray] the girl that’s not normally the protagonist -- not the pretty, blond, breezy one that everybody loves and adores. She is that girl’s best friend, the 'Rhoda' lineage, Mary Tyler Moore's best friend played by Valerie Harper.

The best friend is always funnier and men are usually less attracted to her because she’s either overweight, not as gorgeous or not as oriented towards pleasing them. I was very interested in making a movie about that girl because that’s who I am and making films was just my way of figuring life out.
The movie It's My Turn is full of such resentments. Although Kate is a brilliant mathematician, she feels inadequate around Ben, who is athletic and knowledgeable about sports. She submits sexually to Ben very quickly and falls in love with him passionately. She turns out to be incapable of continuing her relationship permanently with either Ben or Homer, and so she finds her main satisfaction in her independence.


See also my article Re-Watching Eleanor Bergstein's Earlier Movie It's My Turn.

The Housemans Stayed at the Resort Three Weeks

Some time ago, a reader sent me a message asking how long the Houseman family stayed at the resort. My answer follows:

The Houseman family's visit to the resort lasted three weeks. When the family was unloading the car in an early scene, the resort manager Max remarks to Mr. Houseman: "Three weeks here, and it will seem like a year." This is right before we see a large group of guests learning to dance in a gazebo.

Later in the movie, right before Johnny almost punches the waiter outside a cabin, someone remarks: "Well, cousin, it's almost over. Labor Day weekend is here."

The opening narration says the visit took place in the summer of 1963, before Kennedy was shot (Nov 22, 1963) and before the Beatles came (Feb 7,1964).

Labor Day 1963 was Monday, September 2, 1963. So, Labor Day weekend was August 31 through September 2. Probably the show that ended the movie happened on Labor Day.

So, the Houseman family's visit to the resort probably lasted the three weeks from about August 10 through September 2, 1963.