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Monday, February 27, 2017

Patrick Swayze: One Last Dance

Celebrity biographer Wendy Leigh published Patrick Swayze: One Last Dance in 2009. Leigh has written other biographies of John F. Kennedy, Jr., David Bowie, Madonna, Barbara Eden, Grace Kelly, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Windsor, Zsa Zsz Gabor, and Liza Minelli.
Cover of Wendy Leigh's biography
"Patrick Swayze: One Last Dance"
In 2009, Swayze was writing his autobiography, which would be published in 2010 under the title The Time of My Life. Therefore Swayze refused to be interviewed for Leigh's biography and apparently asked his close relatives and friends to refuse to be interviewed.

Despite these limitations, Leigh did manage to interview many people who knew Swayze as a young man, in particular people who knew him as an adolescent, including his first serious girlfriend. Leigh did interview Swayze's manager, Lois Zetter, and various film personnel. Leigh also read voluminously about Swayze. Leigh's biography is informative and interesting. The book's end notes refer to her published sources. Leigh knows how to write a celebrity biography.

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Swayze, born in 1952, grew up dancing because his mother owned a dance studio in Dallas, Texas. (The following videos are not associated with Leigh's book.)


As a young man, he intended to become a professional ballet dancer, and in 1975 he was living in New York City and dancing in the Joffrey Ballet Company. In 1976, Because of a tooth abscess, he caught a staph infection that almost resulted in the amputation of a leg that previously had been injured while playing high-school football. Although he recovered from the infection and still was able to dance, he decided that his knee's condition now precluded a career as a professional ballet dancer.

He decided to become an actor instead and began to take acting lessons and try out for roles.


He soon was hired to play the lead role of Danny Zuko in the Broadway musical Grease. When the show closed in 1979, Swayze and his wife Lisa moved to Los Angeles to begin establishing movie careers.

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Swayze's parents had been happily married and had raised him in the Roman Catholic Church. He had met Lisa when they both danced at his mother's studio. They married soon after he moved to New York, and they stayed married (and apparently faithful) to his death. She wanted to become an actress, and he tried to help her, but she could not match his extraordinary success.


He had an inferiority complex about his intellect. I got the impression from Leigh's book that he studied minimally in high school, being busy mostly with dancing and sports. In that respect he was similar to his Dirty Dancing character Johnny Castle.

A non-dancing interest that he shared with Lisa was carpentry, and they supported themselves largely by doing carpentry projects together during their first years in Los Angeles.

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Swayze soon played a leading role in a teen movie called Skatetown, but subsequently turned down a series of roles that might have type-cast him as a "teen idol". He held out for more mature roles and tried, mostly without success, to get his wife cast into his movies.


In 1984 he appeared in a leading role in the movie Red Dawn, about a group of young people who resist a Soviet invasion of the USA. Jennifer Grey (later the star of Dirty Dancing) also appeared in that movie, and they had some scenes together, but they did not become personal friends.


In 1985, Swayze appeared in a leading role in a television mini-series called North and South, about the Civil War. Swayze played a Confederate officer. Swayze's career managers considered his real-life personality to be "heroic, idealistic and gentlemanly", and they tried to cast him into roles that matched that personality. The considered his role in North and South to be such a fitting match.


Swayze drank too much for many years. The problem became significantly worse in 1982, when his father died unexpectedly, and continued beyond 1986, when he participated in the filming of Dirty Dancing.

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Although Swayze had played several leading roles, he did not come quickly to the attention of screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein and producer Linda Gottlieb after the MGM movie studio decided to make the Dirty Dancing movie. Swayze did not come to their attention quickly, because he avoided dancing roles and did not even mention his dancing ability on his resume.
By 1986, he had spent the last seven years of his career diligently toiling away in Hollywood, fighting tooth and nail to escape classification as either a latter-day Troy Donahue or a sleeker, less pumped-up Schwarzenegger, or even an ersatz John Wayne, and he certainly didn't want to be Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly. Moreover, he was so rigidly resolved not to hitch his shooting star to a musical that he decreed that his resume must not detail his dance training. ....

Eleanor [Bergstein] had first pitched her Dirty Dancing concept to MGM in 1984, whereupon producer Linda Gottlieb signed on board to produce it. .... Director Emile Ardolili was hired to direct, and Kenny Ortega .... came on board as choreographer. However, two years after her initial pitch to MGM, the movie stil hadn't been made, simply because she still hadn't been ale to find the right actor to play Johnny. ....

Eleanor had chanced on Patrick's picture ... [and] now knew that in Patrick Swayze she'd met her hero, Johnny Castle, i living color .... Now all she had to do was convince him to accept the part. ... Here was a relatively untried screenwriter ... virtually at his feet, telling him that she couldn't make her movie without him, exhorting him to appear in her low-budget, small-time production, playing a down-market character ....

Despite the intensity of her pitch, and even after taking a positive meeting with Emile Ardolino, he had serious misgivings about playing a dancer ... and decreed that unless he first met and approved of choreographer Kenny Ortega, he wasn't going to play Johnny.

Aware that Patrick was due to fly from New York to L.A., and determined to snare him for the movie, Ardolino booked Kenny a seat next to Patrick on the same flight and instructed im to convince Patrick to accept the part of Johnny.

Toward the end of the fight, "Patrick pointed his finger at me ... and he said, 'I'm going to do this movie, Ortega, and don't let me down. This is a really important time in my life. Right now, these choices that I'm making right now are really important. I'm excited by what you have to say, what Emilio and Eleanor have to say. Come through for me, don't let me down,'" Kenny remembered.
The crew and actors assembled at the Mountain Lake Resort in Giles, County, Virginia, in late August 1986. After rehearsing for two weeks, they began on September 5 the 43 days of filming.

Because Swayze already had played several leading roles, he had the confidence to argue for his own artistic visions strongly and persistently.
Early on they shot the first scene, in which Baby watches, mesmerized, as Patrick and Cynthia Rhodes (Playing his first dance partner, Penny) dance together. Cynthia, a seasoned dancer, was immediately impressed by his dancing. .... Patrick and Cynthia were both such brilliant dancers that the director and producer were afraid that their dancing would throw the movie off balance.

"Everybody kept telling me to tone it down, that we were too hot together, and it was going to overpower my later scenes with Jennifer," Patrick remembered. He knew what everyone wanted, but sure of his artistic vision, his own abilities, he fought back, insisting that the hotter his dance with Cynthia, the more the audience would wonder why they weren't romantically involved, but to not avail.

But he was now no longer the wide-eyed greenhorn ... with little power over the production. He was the star of North and South and now the start of Dirty Dancing as well, with the success of the entire movie resting primarily on his square, manly shoulders. Aware of his own power, he made a stand.

"I refused to shoot it unless they did it my way, because I knew what I planned to do later with Jennifer would blow the relationship with Cynthia away. So I fought and fought for that, but I really didn't have to fight too hard because everyone was willing to at least hear me out," he said.
Of course, Swayze turned out to be right about how that dance scene should be performed. The audiences watching it were delighted.

On the other hand, Swayze's stubbornness caused some trouble. On September 23, he refused to allow a stunt double perform any of the scene were Swayze and Grey danced on a log. He fell from the log several times. Although he fell onto rubber mats, the repeated impacts aggravated his old knee injury.
Forever, the stoic, this time Patrick had pushed his body too far. The following morning he awoke with a swollen and painful knee ... his left one. An exasperated Linda Gottlieb, silently cursing Patrick's obstinate refusal of a stunt double, drove him to the hospital. There he gritted his teeth while -- at his request -- the doctor drained 80 ccs of fluid intermingled with blood from his knee. Afterward, the orthopedist gave him a strict warning to avoid any strain on his knee.

But ... he knew the show had to go on, no matter what. And 24 hours later he was back dancing with, as Linda put it, "all his usual charm and energy. I can only imagine the pain he was feeling." ....

In the last days of shooting, as Jennifer and Patrick prepared to shoot the lake scene, the temperature dropped to 40 degrees. Both of them stripped down to the minimal, then they plunged into the ice-cold water. ....
"My knee was filled with fluid and killing me," Patrick later ruefully recalled. "Suddenly, I have to dance with Jennifer and look like I'm the happiest guy in the world when I probably belong on crutches.
During the filming, Swayze had to deal with what he considered to be Grey's excessive emotions and clumsy dancing.
"I remember Patrick Swayze complaining that Jennifer was just too nervous and emotional," Linda Gottlieb recalled. ... "She would burst into tears at the drop of a hat. This duo that had such terrific chemistry on screen didn't get on and would frequently fight, frequently argue off screen. ... Patrick and Jennifer hated each other. Jennifer didn't want to do any of the love scenes. She would stand there saying, 'I don't like the way he kisses.'"

However, Patrick's manager, Lois Zetter, has a different recollection of his on-set relationship with Jennifer and remembers it being cordial.

"They got on well, except it was hard on him that she wasn't a professional dancer and had no experience. Which was difficult for hm as he had a bad knee and had to dance twice as hard to compensate for her inexperience."

"I remember he was very thoughtful around Jennifer Grey because at that point it was still early in her career," said George Baetz, Dirty Dancing's sound recordist. "He was a very considerate person, which is unusual on a film set, and he was really nice to Jennifer between takes. He worked really hard and did his own stunts. .... He was very easy-going, very professional, joked a lot, was well-prepared for his scenes and was enjoyable to be around."
As usual, Swayze had tried to arrange for his wife Lisa to play a role.
.... his dearest wish had been that Lisa costar in the movie with him, not as Baby, but as Penny. Instead, Lisa's only involvement with the movie would be the visits she made to the set.
I don't understand why Lisa was not cast as Penny, because she dances well.



In Dirty Dancing, Swayze had to dance deliberately below his ability.
"From a dancer's point of view, Dirty Dancing was a very frustrating experience," he said. "Fighting my ego was the most difficult thing because I'm a much better dancer than Johnny Castle is. Johnny had trained at Arthur Murray, but Joffrey. My level of training went far beyond his. But in order to be true to the character, I couldn't allow myself to be too technically proficient. .... 
My mom called me up and said, 'Patrick, I know you can do better than that,'" he recalled. But as he firmly pointed out to her, Johnny was a Catskills dance instructor, trained by Arthur Murray and not by Patsy Swayze.
However, Swayze did insist on performing one expert dance move in the movie.
"I got away with one moment, very technical, at the end, when I come off the stage, do a double pirouette, then go down on one knee. That's the one time I got to throw in something that required real technical proficiency," he said. ....

John Mojjis witnessed the double pirouette scene being filmed and noted afterward that before Patrick made the jump -- wary of injuring his bad knee - he insisted that a pile of mattresses be laid on the floor for him to land on. Nevertheless, it took Patrick, the quintessential perfectionist, more than 25 times to get the jump exactly the way he wanted it.
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Leigh writes at length that the movie's huge success subsequently affected Swayze's private life. Here are some excerpts:
Dirty Dancing would make him rich, famous, and successful beyond his wildest dreams, but the price would be high. .... His days of dancing at clubs, free and untroubled by fans, were already well and truly behind him. .... Swayze mania was now in full throttle and he was mobbed wherever he went. When he made an appearance at a Sam Goody record store, five thousand screaming fans were on hand, desparate to catch just a glimpse of him. ....

Lisa was now in the nightmarish position of having to cope with the tidal wave of female attention that came in the wake of Patrick's stardom, with love-struck women literally knocking her off his arm in the haste to get at him. ....

In general, his life was completely decimated by the tsunami of mass adoration that flooded over him. .... Now condemned to play the part of Patrick Swayze, the Hollywood icon of masculinity, for all eternity, he began to live the role in all its darkest and most dramatic extremes. ....

He also suffered from low self-esteem, which caused him to think that he didn't deserve all the attention. "I don't fee famous. I feel like I'm the same jerk I've always been! People say your'e special, but that's not true," he said, later describing himself as a "driven individual, wrapped up in suffering and paying my dues. Because of what I look like and what I could do with my body, I wasn't sure there was anything inside of me."

On a deep level, he felt he was unworthy and then, and through the years, perhaps unconsciously set out to sabotage himself by drinking too much, risking his life in death-defying stunts, and proving himself.
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Two movies that Swayze had made before Dirty Dancing were released after Dirty Dancing -- "thus confusing and slightly alienating some of the fans." Leigh's description of Swayze's experiences during those two earlier movies sheds some light on his state of mind while making Dirty Dancing.
The first was Steel Dawn, a futuristic movie set in a post-nuclear world in which he played Nomad, a mysterious warrior. According to [his manger] Lois Zetter, he took the part primarily because Lisa would be co-starring s his love interest, and it had always been his dearest wish for them to work together. ....

In herrole as Kasha, Lisa was strong, proud, and suitably somber. Patrick, his hair long and blond, gave a credible performance as Nomad, although fans and critics alike would later dismiss the movie out of hand when it was released just three months after Dirty Dancing.

I wonder (pure speculation) if problems happened related to Lisa during the filming of Steel Dawn that caused her not being cast as Penny in Dirty Dancing. Since he was able to drive a hard bargain to agree to play Johnny Castle, it seems to me he should have been able to require that Lisa play Penny. I note also that Lisa visited the Dirty Dancing set only occasionally, although he needed her presence to curb his drinking.
The second movie he made before Dirty Dancing, which was released afterward, would also perplex and irritate a public infatuated with his Johnny Castle persona, particularly because in that movie, Tiger Warsaw, he played the part of a violent, sociopathic drug addict. ....

"Tiger Warsaw is the most hardcore, emotionally demanding film I've ever done," he said. .... "but also the most destructive for me personally." ...

Drink was the outlet for his excessiveness, and his danger point, particularly when he was on location in Pennsylvania, without Lisa by his side to curb him. With classic honesty he confessed .... "While I'm making films I get very hyper because my brain is racing all over the place. I survive on two ours sleep a night, and I sit in my hotel room drinking beer and vodka, which can't be good for anyone. I'm an excessive person in every way, and I have to fight to control my drinking. ...."
 
On November 6, 1988, Steel Dawn was released, both shocking and somewhat disappointing Patrick's adoring public, not to mention the critics. Since the film came so closely on the gilded heels of Dirty Dancing, many of Patrick's fans were appalled by it. The movie opened and closed within two weeks, taking in a paltry $526,000 ....
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I did not read Leigh's biography of Swayze beyond his Dirty Dancing experiences.

Not associated with Leigh's biography but related to this first part of Swayze's life are the following webpages:

* the Bio website has an excellent video about Swayze's early life here.

* The Den of the Geek website has an excellent article titled Dirty Dancing at 30: how it nearly fell apart.

How Linda Gottlieb began producing "Dirty Dancing"

Following are excerpts from an article titled Dirty Dancing Steps Back into Nostalgia, written by Jack Matthews and published in the Los Angeles Times in September 1987. (The photos are from other sources.)

https://alchetron.com/Linda-Gottlieb-577873-W
Linda Gottlieb, producer of Dirty Dancing
.... "Eleanor [Bergstein. the screenwriter] and I were having lunch when she told me she wanted to do a dance story about two sisters," said [producer Linda] Gottlieb, who was then developing projects as an East Coast producer for MGM. "She talked about a Catskills resort and tango dancing in the early '60s.
http://www.postcrescent.com/story/entertainment/2015/05/27/things-learned-creator-dirty-dancing/28022857/
Eleanor Bergstein, screenwriter of Dirty Dancing
"Then she said, 'I used to do dirty dancing, but that has nothing to do with this story.' I dropped my fork. I said, 'Dirty Dancing' as a title is worth a million dollars." ...

Gottlieb talked MGM into financing and developing the script, but before it could go into production, there was a change in studio management and the new regime didn't want it. Nobody else did, either. Gottlieb said she shopped Dirty Dancing everywhere she knew, including all of the major studios, only to face quick rejection at each stop.

"They all regarded it as soft, small and old-fashioned," she said. "They never saw the movie in it that I saw."

Gottlieb, who had left MGM to co-write a book (When Smart People Fail) about turning defeat into success, said she took the script to Vestron after reading in the New York Times that the Stamford, Connecticut-based company planned to begin producing its own movies. 
She [Gottlieb] said Vestron quickly agreed to finance Dirty Dancing, but only if she could guarantee bringing it in for $5 million, about half of what she said it would have cost to film with union crews in New York. Gottlieb, who had had 16 years' experience developing and producing educational films, finally hired non-union crews and got the movie done -- for $5.2 million -- in right-to-work states Virginia and North Carolina.
I interrupt here with an excerpt from the Wikipedia article about Vestron Video.
Vestron was founded in 1981 by Austin Owen Furst, Jr. (born 1943), an executive at HBO, who was hired to dismantle the assets of Time-Life Films. Furst bought the video rights of the film library for himself and decided to form a home entertainment company with these assets. ....

The company held on to its Time-Life Video library, and was also responsible for releases on VHS videocassette as well as CED Videodisc of mostly B movies and films from Cannon Films' library. They also distributed films under The Movie Store banner. 
The most notable titles Vestron released were Dirty Dancing, Monster Squad, and An American Werewolf in London. .... 
Vestron was the first company to release National Geographic and PBS' Nova videos in the late 1980s, mostly distributed by Image Entertainment, and was the first to market with a pro wrestling video, "Pro Wrestling Illustrated Presents Lords of the Ring". They also released a 3-volume series called "How to Beat Home Video Games", which contains strategies for video games of the time. ....

Vestron went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 1985 with what was at the time a large market cap IPO of $440 million, which was oversubscribed. The company enjoyed success for several years, at one point exceeding 10% of the US video movie market. At its high point sales approximated $350 million annually, and the company sold video movies in over 30 countries either directly or through sub licensing agreements. This was basically a rights business, built by some insightful people who appreciated the video (VCR) rights to films before the major studios did. ...

The company started to make its own films (Dirty Dancing, Earth Girls Are Easy, Blue Steel), but when the market's preferences matured and shifted from watching almost any film to just watching "A" titles, for which the majors had a stronghold, the company was committed already with a pipeline of about 20 "B" to low "A" projects. ...
Now I return to Matthews' article, where it describes Gottlieb's selection of Emile Ardolino to direct the movie.
Emile Ardolino read the script for Dirty Dancing while on jury duty in New York. It made his day.

"I loved the period, I loved the music of the period," Ardolino said. "I knew I could relate to the movement, the body language of the dancing. But more than anything, I liked the characters. . . . It was a musical love story that was rooted in reality."

Ardolino and Gottlieb had to overcome Ardolino's image as a dance director. Although he had directed several dramatic programs for television, the bulk of his credits were associated with dance -- 28 programs for PBS' Dance in America, specials featuring Mikhail Baryshnikov and Rudolf Nureyev, and the remarkable He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin', which won a 1984 Academy Award as best feature documentary. ...
http://www.listal.com/viewimage/8845432
Emile Ardolino, director of Dirty Dancing, 
and his award for He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin'
"It was so clear from He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin' that Emile had the fundamental sensibility for this movie," Gottlieb said. "It was very warm and very funny. He never made fun of anybody. He understood movement and the joy of learning. All of that was essential to Dirty Dancing."

Gottlieb said she also watched all of Ardolino's dramatic television programs ... and her decision was made.

"When you hire a director, what you get writ large is the director's own sense of taste," she said. "What we got with Emile went way beyond his love of dance. He has a kindness, a gentleness, and all of that comes through in the picture."

Perhaps most important to Gottlieb was Ardolino's understanding of dance as an expression of sexuality. Dirty Dancing didn't come by its name accidentally. "Dirty dancing is partner dancing," Gottlieb said. "All the elements are like the foreplay of sex. Learning to dance is the central metaphor of the film." ....

Ardolino said he had never heard the term dirty dancing before he read the script ("I was pretty square, I danced the way kids did on American Bandstand"), but he understood its sexual translation .

"I really wanted the audience to feel what it was like for that girl to be in that room (where dirty dancing was going on)," Ardolino said. "It's exciting, it's sexually charged, and I certainly wanted that on the screen."

Ardolino had a camera among the actors during the dirty dance segments. During the performance numbers, the camera sits back and watches. The object was to make the dirty dance scenes participatory, to put the audience on the dance floor with the kids and let them feel the heat.

Dirty Dancing obviously steamed some eyeglasses in the small audience that makes up the panel of the Motion Picture Assn. of America's ratings board. The six-person panel rated the first two versions of the film R, Gottlieb said, even though all the nudity had been removed.

"The really erotic sequences are the dance sequences," she said. "We felt it was important to have a PG rating, so we kept going."

On the third try, Dirty Dancing was rated PG-13. ...

Ardolino said he is flattered when people say Dirty Dancing is a throwback to another era in film musicals, when dance was often an act of seduction.

"What distinguishes this movie from more recent dance movies is that it's about partner dancing," he said. "In Flashdance, only women danced on that stage and it was for themselves. Even in Footloose, the kids didn't dance with each other. In Saturday Night Fever, the basic thrust was a guy being satisfied when he danced alone.'

"In Dirty Dancing, I wanted to see the development of the relationship. The girl wasn't living totally in the physical world. I wanted to see her loosen up, I wanted to see them showing a sexual awakening to each other."

Gottlieb said that Ardolino insisted from the beginning that the actors do all their own dancing. In Flashdance and Footloose, the stars were doubled by professional dancers.

"Using doubles imposes a particular shooting style where you film body parts," Ardolino said. "I wanted to be able to go from full shots to faces. The dancing wasn't the important thing, but how the dancing revealed the relationship."

"One of the things I hoped to put into Dirty Dancing is that it's not only sexy, but it's fun," he said. "This is a joyous celebration between two people."

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Why is Frances Houseman Called "Baby"?

Before the Dirty Dancing story begins, the screen shows the various credits (producer, actors, casting, etc), accompanied by the song "Be My Baby". Then the story begins inside the Houseman family's car. The radio is playing the song "Big Girls Don't Cry". Baby Houseman begins a narration:
That was the summer of 1963, when everybody called me "Baby", and it didn't occur to me to mind.
As I interpret that past-tense statement, she was not called "Baby" after that summer. In the fall, she began attending Mount Holyoke, a woman's college located in South Hadley, Massachusetts. In the fall, she moved from her home into a college dormitory.

It's unlikely that the Houseman family lived in or near South Hadley, enabling Baby to live at home while attending college. Dr. Houseman had been the doctor of Max Kellerman, the owner of the resort in the Catskills Mountains, so the Houseman family and the Kellerman had lived in the same vicinity at some time. It's much more likely that the two families had lived in the vicinity of New York city (population 8 million) than in the vicinity of South Hadley (population 17,000).

During the opening scene inside the car, we see that the Houseman family is driving on Highway 87, which goes north from New York City. If the family lived in Massachusetts, they would have driven on Highway 87 very briefly or not at all.

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As long as Baby lived in the Houseman home, all her relatives and friends -- everybody -- called her "Baby". When she moved far away to the college dormitory, she would be able to rid herself of that nickname.

I myself have a cousin whose birth name was "Albert", but all his immediate and extended family -- including cousins such as myself -- always called him "Pogie". Even though we all are more than 60 years old, I still think of him only as "Pogie" and use only that name when I discuss him in family conversations. However, everyone who came to know him after he went away to college knows him only as "Albert".

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Before the movie's story began, the song was "Be My Baby". Immediately after the story began, the song was "Big Girls Don't Cry". The story is about the protagonist's transition from being a pre-story "baby" to being a post-story "big girl".

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Later in the story, the protagonist's birth name is revealed (at 1:40 in the video clip):
Johnny:  What's your real name, Baby?

Baby: Frances, for the first woman in the Cabinet.

Johnny: Frances. That's a real grownup name.

The "first woman in the cabinet" was Frances Perkins, who was the Secretary of Labor from 1933 to 1945 -- through the entire presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Perkins graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1902.

The Houseman's choice of this name for their daughter indicates that the parents -- Jake and Marge Houseman -- were liberal Democrats.

It's likely that the screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein was named after FDR's First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

Eleanor Bergstein's real-life older sister is named Frances.

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The father's name is Jake -- short for Jacob, the name of a Jewish patriarch. (The father in Eleanor Bergstein's first movie, It's My Turn, is likewise named Jacob.)

The mother's name is Marjorie, a variant of the English name Margaret, from the Latin word for "pearl".

We can suppose that the father grew up in a rather Jewish family and that the mother grew up in a secular-Jewish or even Gentile family.

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The oldest daughter's name is Lisa, short for Elizabeth, originally from the Hebrew name Elisheba, which means something like "God's Promise".

The youngest daughter's name is Frances, which is a Latin "baby name" meaning "free". For some reason, the name was disliked by girls in the middle of the 1900s. Frances was the name given at birth but soon rejected by the famous actresses Judy Garland, Dinah Shore and Dale Evans.

 The oldest Houseman daughter, Elizabeth, grew up to become a doctor's housewife, and the youngest daughter Frances grew up to become a politician.

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After the youngest daughter Frances was born, the Houseman parents decided that she would be their final child. Frances would forever stay "the baby of the family", which is why that nickname stuck to her.

The mother did not want to spend her entire adult life raising children. She wanted to raise only two children and then devote herself to a career working outside the home.

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In the movie's "Love is Strange" scene, Baby mockingly pretends to be Johnny talking to Baby. Pretending that she is Johnny, she repeatedly addresses him affectionately as "Baby" -- as if he were addressing her affectionately as "Baby".



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Lily Rotherman, writing for Time magazine, has claimed that the protagonist originally was supposed to have the birth name Jacqueline.
.... the real inspiration for the Dirty Dancing story may be someone who only appears in one moment in the movie — during the credits, as a special thanks. Her name is Jackie Horner and, according to interviews conducted by the writer Sue Tabashnik for her book The Fans’ Love Story, her life provided much of the plot. Horner, who spent summers at Grossinger’s Hotel and later worked there as a dance pro, consulted with Bergstein in 1985, prior to filming.
If that is true, then I speculate that Bergstein changed the name from Jacqueline (Jackie), because that name would have been associated confusingly with Jacqueline Kennedy.

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The movie Dirty Dancing seems to be based somewhat on the movie Gidget Goes Hawaiian. In both movies, a 17- or 18-old girl has to go, against her will, on a family vacation at a resort. There the girl has a romance with a professional dancer. In both movies, the girl wears exactly the same kind of pink chiffon dress while dancing a mambo with the professional dancer. The dance ends with him lifting her up high into the air.

Gidget wearing a pink chiffon dress and dancing
with her professional-dancer boyfriend at a resort.
Gidget's professional-dancer boyfriend
lifting her at the end of a mambo dance
Gidget is a nickname. Her real name is Frances Lawrence. The nickname "Gidget" is a combination of the words "girl" and "midget".

So, if Dirty Dancing indeed is based somewhat on Gidget Goes Hawaiian, then the name Frances "Baby" Houseman might be a play on the name Frances "Gidget" Lawrence.

For more about the two movies' similarities, see my article Gidget Goes to Rome.

"Dirty Dancing", Feminist Masterpiece

Essayist Melissa McEwan wrote in an article titled Dirty Dancing, feminist masterpiece that the movie, which she watched for the first time when she was 13 years old, inspired her adolescent rebellion against her parents and against her family's religion.
.... Dirty Dancing surreptitiously delivered a subversive counter-narrative to many of the things I was hearing as an adolescent girl poised on the precipice of years the adults around me fervently (and vocally) hoped would not be marked by significant rebellion or any of the foolishness associated with raging hormones. It provided me with important cultural references about America pre-Roe v Wade, about consensual sex and about rape.

When, the following year in confirmation class, the ordained instructor lectured us on the evils of legal abortion, I pictured Penny, bleeding and septic and certain to die without Dr Houseman's aid, and I knew the good reverend was full of it. 
When, the following year in my boyfriend's bedroom, we took the first hesitant, tiny, meaningful, fumbling steps toward the kind of sexual relationship we'd never actually have with each other, I knew when he slid his hand under my clothes, communicating with me about what we were doing, making sure I was OK, I was in agreement, that he was not like Robbie Gould, that bastard who raped (or attempted to rape) Lisa, but like Johnny Castle, who touched Baby with respect and love.
McEwan replaced her family's religion with "a firm commitment to principle" and a "fierce sense of right and wrong".
For a top student who didn't want to disappoint her parents, but was already seriously (but quietly) questioning the dogma of church and kyriarchy, finding alternative views hidden out in the open in ostensibly frivolous fare was magical. My escapist entertainment was the exhilaration of being able to put my well-worn VHS tape of Dirty Dancing into the VCR and find myself instantly transported to the Catskills, where life was just complicated but solvable enough, given a firm commitment to principle, that I might learn to be brave.

Like Baby, my hero. The plucky star of my feminist awakening. Baby, who believed she could change the world, who wanted to send her leftovers to starving children, who seemed at first glance like the perfect match for aspiring model of comfortable complacency Neil Kellerman, and even might have been, if it weren't the sinewy, smouldering dance instructor who stirred within her urgent feelings of possibility and need. Baby, with her deck shoes and her warm, envious gazes at the beautiful Penny and her fierce sense of right and wrong. ....
McEwan replaced her parent's moral example with Baby Houseman's moral example.
The film gave me an intimate look at Baby's life, not totally dissimilar from my own. It is a curious aspect of growing up in certain kinds of families that hewing too closely to what one's parents say, rather than the example they set, trying to live up to their espoused ideals, rather than following in their footsteps, inexorably leads to an unexpected moment in which parent and child are both surprised to discover that they aren't very much like one another after all.

Dr Houseman told his daughter that all people were equal. When she treated them like they were, and expected him to do the same, a cavernous well of disillusionment opened up between them. ...
McEwan was inspired by Baby Houseman's courage, especially in standing up to men.
I did, however, recognise instantly that Baby had something about her I wanted. Despite her confession that she is "scared of everything", she was audacious and indefatigable, fueled less by courage, perhaps, than the naïve belief born in the cloister of privilege that everything will always be OK, if only one endeavours to make it so.

Unlike the Disney princesses I'd outgrown, and unlike the one-dimensional female protagonists of popcorn rom-coms I'd never grow into, Baby was smart, funny, reckless, tenacious, awkward, curious, righteous, strong – and instantly real to me in a way most female protagonists were not.

She was a revolution.

Baby isn't apologetic for being smart or ambitious. She stands up for herself, and she confidently sticks to her ethics and accepts the consequences of her decisions. She admires other women without competing with them and ignores perfectly adequate male suitors with no qualm of being unpartnered.

She stands up to men, Robbie and Max Kellerman and her own father, exposing their prejudices and privileged assumptions. She helps Penny get an abortion and medical care. She doesn't leave her life or change her plans for her beau when he's fired and skips town. ....
McEwan was inspired to become sexually confident.
.... Already primed at 13 to regard sex as something that happened to girls in movies, and to expect the worst to befall a girl to whom sex happens, I sat in the theatre and watched Baby Houseman choose and enthusiastically consent to sex, outside of marriage and everything, to enjoy it, to not regret it and to suffer no tragic karmic consequences as a result.

It's difficult to overstate how important a message that was to receive at a time when every slumber party I attended was incomplete without a slasher film in which the slutty girl was always the first to die, when a girl at school my age who said she hadn't kissed a boy yet was a loser but a girl who said she had was a skank, when my minister admonished me in front of my peers for expressing doubts about doctrine that I would be "pregnant or dead" by the time I was 16. (I was neither.) ....
Ironically, it was Melissa McEwan's religious mother who took her to watch this subversive movie that subsequently inspired Melissa's adolescent anti-religion rebellion. The article begins with these words:
I was 13 years old when my mom took my little sister and me to see Dirty Dancing on a hot August afternoon in 1987. Years later, my mom would admit that she was slightly horrified to realise she'd taken her two young daughters to a movie that she thought was about dancing, but was really about class, feminism, sex, rape and abortion.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Two Slovak Guys Spoof the Final Scene



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Here's another couple of Slovak guys


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Here's another couple of Slovak guys


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Here's another couple of Slovak guys


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Here's another couple of Slovak guys


The First Dance After the Wedding - 11

A couple in Brazil or Portugal


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A couple in Slovakia


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Albert and Melissa





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Nita and Daniel



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Hinn and Sara




The First Dance After the Wedding - 10

Brianne and Robert


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Diana and Catalin


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Rut and Victor



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Asia and Maciek



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Lindsay and Richie


The First Dance After the Wedding - 9


Raluca and Horia



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Anthony and Anna


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Kylie and Davor



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Jerome and Emily


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Sunny and Francis


The First Dance After the Wedding - 8

Renata and Rodrigo


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Lydia and Matt



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Julia and James



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Michael and Lindy



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Ashley and David

The First Dance After the Wedding - 7


A couple in Poland



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Beata and Jarek



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David and Robin



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Anne and Groom


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Michael and Bride


The First Dance After the Wedding - 6


Graciela and Ederson


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Ellen and Fernando




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Eduardo and Marina


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Bruno and Valissa


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Cibely e Vinícius


The First Dance After the Wedding - 5

Marta i Rafał


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Damian and Magda


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Justyna and Marcin


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Patrycja i Krystian



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Tsofit and Noam



The First Dance After the Wedding - 4

Marie and Abraham


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Fabiana and Daniel


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Juliana and Junior




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Justyna and Artur



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Monika and Artur



The First Dance After the Wedding - 3

Daniel and Kristine



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Jason and Tracy



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A couple in Chile



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Raul and Virginia




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Eddie and Zhanna



The First Dance After the Wedding - 2

Mariane and André

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Allan and Nária



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Patrícia and Victor



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Joanna and Jose



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Mel and Marty


The First Dance After the Wedding - 1

A couple in Russia


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Kevin and Elodie


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Josh and Richann



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Jesse and Rachel


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Terra and Drake



"Comic Relief" Spoofs the Final Scene

Paddy McGuinness and Keith Lemon perform '(I've Had) The Time of My Life' from 'Dirty Dancing'


Two High-School Guys Spoof the Final Scene

Jeremy (J.R.) Manis and Chad A. Sims performing their interpretation of the final dance sequence of the movie Dirty Dancing as Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, respectively. The performance took place in the auditorium of Whiteland Community High School in Indiana, in the spring of 2000.


Although there are many theories as to what Manis and Sims are doing today, they continue doing what they love: making people laugh.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Shmoop Study Guide About "Dirty Dancing"

A website called Shmoop provides study guides on various subjects for students at all levels, from elementary school through college. The website earns money by selling subscriptions to students and teachers. For example, a student subscription costs $150 a year. As I understand it, all the website's materials can be read during the subscribed time. The students can use the study guides as a resource for writing compositions and studying broad subjects such as literary theory.

Shmoop includes many study guides about movies, including Dirty Dancing. I was able to read this movie's entire study guide for free, without a subscription. This study guide seems to be written for young high-school students -- perhaps freshmen and sophomores. This study guide's jocular style is inappropriate for older students.

Perhaps the jocular style is common in Shmoop's other study guides. The website describes itself as follows:
A Trusted Source for Knowledge

Shmoop speaks student, but never at the expense of reliability. All of our original content is written by teachers and experts in each field, and our editorial team is made up of PhDs and teachers from top institutions. All that plus a super-powered Labradoodle makes for a trustworthy and authoritative source that won't put you to sleep.
In this short paragraphs we see the jocular expressions "speaks student", "super-powered Labradoodle" and "won't put you to sleep". This style fills the Dirty Dancing study guide, and I don't like it.

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I don't think that high-school students should spend school time watching movies like Dirty Dancing. This movie in particular deals with at least two controversial subjects -- abortion and premarital sex -- that public high schools should avoid in class-time discussions.

However, writing compositions and term papers on such movies that they watch during their personal time can be worthwhile. Dirty Dancing is an thought-provoking movie for high-school students to watch, discuss and analyze. This study guide would help a high-school student write a paper intelligently.

The study guide would be helpful also for a teacher whose students submitted a paper about the movie. I assume that the Shmoop study guide is organized to apply literary concepts as they are taught in high schools.

I don't have experience teaching high-school students. Perhaps the Shmoop's jocular style is necessary for maintaining the interest of high-school students, even though I don't like that style. Below I provide some passages from the study guide, and there you can see the jocular style. The style would fit a book titled The Movie "Dirty Dancing" for Dummies.

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 The Shmoop study guide about the movie is organized as follows:
Introduction

Summary

Themes

Quotes

Cast

Behind the Scenes

Analysis

Questions

Trivia

Quizzes

Flashcards

Best of the Web
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The Introduction includes a sub-section titled "Why Should I Care?", which generally evaluates the movie as follows:
Dirty Dancing is a coming-of-age movie. ...

Coming of age often includes sexual activity as a defining moment in transitioning to adulthood. Baby's "first time," as icky as that phrase might sound, is part of Dirty Dancing, but this film redefines "loss of innocence" by keeping Baby in control of her sexual agency at all times. Baby doesn't "lose" her innocence. She examines it, realizes she wants to grow up, and makes a conscious decision to set it aside. ... Baby's the one who makes the first move.

Eleanor Bergstein, the film's writer, never liked the fact that people initially tagged the movie as just an "ugly duckling gets the guy" story:

I conceived of her and made her a fighter. A girl who just won't give up... and who doesn't expect the world to be handed to her. There's a lot she doesn't understand, but she works very, very hard.

Decades after the film came out, Bergstein got piles of mail from women who watched the movie as teens and thanked her for pretty much writing their lives. They related to how Baby, despite being scared to death, stood bravely up to her father, took risks (although, honestly, is Patrick Swayze a risk?), and learned to make her own decisions. These women never thought it was just a girl-gets-guy flick. They knew that Johnny may lead Baby on the dance floor, but Baby takes the lead everywhere else.....
That's a rather good encouragement for female students to care about the movie. Perhaps something should be added for the male students. The movie is about Johnny Castle too.

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The Summary summarizes the entire story, beginning as follows:
Lights, camera, action !

That was the summer of 1963, when everybody called me 'Baby' and it didn't occur to me to mind. 
This is the opening line of Dirty Dancing, and one of the greatest opening lines ever. Eat that, James Joyce.

Baby (Jennifer Grey) is traveling with her family to Kellerman's resort in the Catskills. Upon arrival, it appears to be your typical family vacation: boring dinners with the parents, silly activities, and Newman from Seinfeld annoying everyone.

Resort owner Kellerman himself tries to set Baby up with his smarmy grandson, Neil. While clumsily dancing with Neil, Baby's eyes are drawn to the professional dancers hired to entertain the guests: Penny Johnson and Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze). Their dancing, while not that dirty, intrigues her.
Then each scene is summarized in more detail. For example, the first two scenes are summarized as follows:
Scene 1

Our opening credits are set over a montage of people dancing.

They all look freshly showered and shampooed. Where's the dirty dancing?

After the credits, we're introduced to Baby Houseman, in the backseat of her parents' car in the summer of 1963.

They're heading to Kellerman's Mountain Estate for a summer getaway.

When they arrive, Baby's sister frets that she didn't bring the right shoes.

Her family tries to convince her there are greater problems in the world, like "monks burning themselves in protest."

They're interrupted by Newman from Seinfeld introducing the day's activities. Horseshoes, a water class, art class, volleyball, croquet.

Baby helps Billy, a member of the staff, get the family's bags from the trunk. He offers her a job. We wish all jobs were this easy to get.

Scene 2

Baby attends a merengue dancing class with her parents.

Maybe she thought merengue was a pie, because she's terrible at dancing.

The men and women dance in a circle before pairing off.

Baby ends up dancing with a little old lady in a sun hat. Not the summer fling she was hoping for.

That night, Baby leaves the cabin to go exploring the resort grounds.

She eavesdrops on a staff meeting at the big house.

The boss is giving the waiters a stern talking to, in which he tells them to show all the daughters a good time, "even the dogs." Charming.

This meeting is interrupting by a sunglass-wearing stud who is the head of the entertainment staff. Hello-o-o, Patrick Swayze.

Johnny's told to dance with the daughters and nothing else. All dancing, no dirty.
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The Themes section discusses four themes 1) Society and Class, 2) Principles, 3) Innocence and 4) Love. The discussions of these are too rambling, casual and vague. For example here is the discussion of the first theme.
A film called Dirty Socioeconomic Class Differences would never do well at the box office. It's not a catchy title. It wouldn't fit comfortably on a poster. And who would star in it? Martin Shkreli? No, too dirty.

We don't need a movie like that because Dirty Dancing is brimming with commentary on society. You've got the guests at the resort, who are obviously affluent enough to have a summer vacay in the Catskills, and the dancers, who have to accommodate their every request and deal with condescension and insults. Robbie's relationship with Penny is exhibit A in the class war: he can get away with bad behavior, and she and Johnny are presumed guilty.

We're still not sure what the Pachanga is, but maybe it has something to do with not looking down on someone because of their social class.

Questions about Society and Class

How are the staff and the entertainment at Kellerman's divided? How is each group treated differently?

How do Johnny and Penny initially see Baby? What does Baby do to change their minds?

Why would Baby rather mingle with the dancers than with other guests at Kellerman's?

Why does Baby's dad not want her to see Johnny? Do his reasons have to do with class or with something else?

Chew on This

Take a peek at these thesis statements. Agree or disagree?

* By separating the dancers from the rest of the resort, Kellerman emphasizes the attitude that the dancers are social outcasts.

* Baby doesn't see social class, but a big reason for that is that she's grown up with a lot of privilege. What she learns at Kellerman's is truly eye-opening, and she wants to change it.
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The Quotes section provides some quotes for each of the four themes. For example, on the theme of Society and Class there are three quotes, the first of which is:
KELLERMAN: There are two kinds of help here. You guys are all college guys, and I went to Harvard and Yale to hire you. And why did I do that? Why? I shouldn't have to remind you, this is a family place. That means you keep your fingers out of the water, your hair out of the soup, and show the goddamn daughters a good time. All the daughters. Even the dogs. Schlep them out to the terrace, show them the stars. Romance them any way you want.

[Interpretation] Kellerman divides his staff into two camps: the haves and the have-nots. The "haves" are the rich kids who have his permission to do whatever they want with the girls at the resort. The "have nots" are the poorer kids who are dancers and will be out of a job if they so much as touch any of the guests at a time when they're not doing the tango.
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The Cast section provides a character analysis for every significant character. For example, here is the character analysis for Lisa:
Character Analysis

She Feels Pretty

Baby's the sister who thinks about joining the Peace Corps. Lisa's the sister who says:
LISA: I should've brought those coral shoes.
Doesn't Lisa realize that there are starving children halfway across the world who would love to eat those shoes?

Baby and Lisa are typical sisters, although Baby sometimes uses her intelligence to insult her simpler sibling.
JAKE: Max, our Baby's gonna change the world.

[…] BABY: Lisa's gonna decorate it.
A Baby vs. Lisa battle of wits is unfair. Baby has an arsenal at her disposal. Lisa has a flip-flop.

Underneath it All

On the surface, Lisa is your typical comic relief character. She's ditzy, goofy, and a bad singer in an age before auto-tune. If you look beneath all that, though, you'll see a deeper character than Lisa leads you to believe.

Lisa knows that Baby's their father's favorite. Because of her jealousy, Lisa's happy when there's a rift in Baby and Jake's rock-solid relationship. She expresses this to Baby one night in the cabin.
LISA: Oh come on, you don't care about me. You wouldn't care if I humped the entire army, as long as they were on the right side of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. What you care about is that you're not Daddy's girl anymore. He listens when I talk now. You hate that.
There's a moment where we see Lisa attempting to take Baby's place. She talks about Vietnam and China with her father instead of talking about shoes and wigs with her mother.

However, everything Lisa does is in an attempt to get a boy. She wants to look pretty for Robbie, and since he fancies himself an intellectual—as anyone who reads Ayn Rand does—she tries to impress him with her smarts, too.

When Lisa discovers that Robbie's a scumbag, she learns a key lesson: you do you, girl. And the real Lisa turns out to be a kind-hearted big sister who wants to pass the same lesson onto Baby. She does it in a sweet scene before the talent show.
LISA: Baby, I'll do your hair. It would look pretty if… No. You're prettier your way. This way.
So we hope Lisa finds herself, and that this self doesn't want to be a singer. Because wow, she's awful.
Written for high-school students.

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The Behind the Scenes section provides brief essays about the Director Emile Ardonino, the screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein, the Production Studio, Production Design, Choreographers, Music, and Fandoms. For example, here is the essay about Bergstein:
Eleanor Bergstein

In a different world, Eleanor Bergstein would be on Dancing with the Stars. Not as a star, but as a pro. Her screenplay for Dirty Dancing is largely autobiographical. Her father was a doctor, and as a girl Bergstein vacationed in the Catskills with her family. Her family called her "Baby" until she was 22 (source). But back in Brooklyn, she "would do this really, really raunchy street dancing".

Pics or it didn't happen, Eleanor.

For ten years, Bergstein toted her script around Hollywood just like Baby carrying a watermelon. Although the film was an unexpectedly huge hit, Bergstein herself never had another success like Dirty Dancing. She wrote one other dance film, Let It be Me (1995) starring Flashdance's Jennifer Beals.

In 2004, Bergstein adapted Dirty Dancing into a musical for Australian audiences. A few lines were changed for Aussie audiences. "Spaghetti arms" became "digeridoo arms" and "Nobody puts Baby in a corner" is now "Crikey! Billabongs and bushrangers!" Actually, the show was a smashing success. People were probably hoping Patrick Swayze might make an appearance.
The rest of the study guide remains at this high-school level.

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The Analysis section addresses these subjects: 1) Symbols and Tropes, 2) Hero's Journey, 3) Setting, 4) Point of View, 5) Genre, 6) What's Up With the Title, 7) What's Up With the Ending, and 8) Shock Rating.

Here is the first part of the Setting analysis:
Setting

Kellerman's Resort, 1963

Bergstein probably based Kellerman's on Grossinger's, the now extinct Catskills resort where she spent summers with her family in the 1950s and '60s. (Although handful of resorts have claimed the honor of being the inspiration for Kellerman's.) Kellerman's is the quintessential Catskills Resort, and it defines a very particular culture, place, and time.

The Catskill Mountains in upstate New York were dotted with a thousand resorts in the '50s and '60s, from luxury hotels to boardinghouses and no-frills bungalows, that catered mostly to Jewish families escaping the hot New York city summers. Moms and kids might go for a few weeks, with dads showing up on weekends. In the first part of the 20th century, lots of hotels refused to rent to Jews, so they created their own communities. The area became known as the "Borscht Belt" because of its Jewish cultural connections, although anyone was welcome to stay there.

Working class families went to the bungalows and cooked their own meals or ate cheap camp food. Middle class families went to the more upscale resorts known for their ridiculous amounts of food, entertainment, and goofy activities. (It occurs to us that cruise ships are the new Catskills.) Some of the fancier places recruited famous musicians and comedians; Jerry Seinfeld and Woody Allen had gigs there early in their careers.

In a different movie, Kellerman's would be the stuff of nightmares, more like the Overlook Hotel from The Shining than a fun family retreat. It has all the makings of being the worst family vacation ever for a 17-year-old: being stuck with your parents and doing a lot of lame activities with people who have more wrinkles than a pug's face.
That is about a fourth of the Settings essay. The section addresses also the 1960s.

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The Questions section provides some good questions for high-school compositions. Here are four:
What drives Baby to be a dancer?

Johnny initially doesn't like Baby. What changes his mind?

Was having a storyline about abortion a big risk for the filmmakers at the time? What does it add to the narrative that something else couldn't?

Is Baby's relationship with Johnny authentic? Do you think part of it is rebellion against her parents and what they stand for?
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The Best of the Web provides some links to various websites and articles about the movie.

"Dirty Dancing" is a Subversive Masterpiece

The website XOJane includes an article titled Dirty Dancing Is A SUBVERSIVE MASTERPIECE And Here Are Four Reasons Why, written by Lesley Kinzel. The four reasons are:

1. Dirty Dancing is About Abortion

2. Dirty Dancing is Rife with Class Politics

3. Dirty Dancing Gives the Sheltered 17-Year-Old All the Sexual Agency

4. "I Carried a Watermelon"

All the reasons are worth reading, but the most worthwhile for me was the fourth -- "I Carried a Watermelon".

http://bust.com/movies/12863-recipe-for-the-kellerman-kooler-dirtydancing.html
Baby Houseman carrying a watermelon
in the movie Dirty Dancing
Reading much about Dirty Dancing, I occasionally have been puzzled when some people consider Baby's watermelon remark to be amusing, memorable and meaningful. I never got this until Kinzel spelled it out for me, as follows:
There are so many quotable lines in Dirty Dancing, most memorably, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner,” spoken by Johnny Castle when he takes Baby from her family’s dinner table at the end-of-season dinner for one final dance. But I am partial to “I carried a watermelon.”

Baby delivers this line very early in the movie, when she has helped Billy, another hotel employee and also Johnny’s cousin, to carry the aforementioned fruit to an after-hours party in the staff quarters. When Johnny, whom Baby has been watching with barely concealed fascination, notices she’s there, she explains, “I carried a watermelon.” Once he’s gone, she repeats it to herself in utter horror, “I carried a WATERMELON?!”

It’s possible there are people somewhere in the world who have never said anything ridiculous and inane to a person they found attractive, and have never felt the self-reproach and terror of having made such an impression, but I don’t actually want to know about those people. I want to live in a world where we can all recognize an “I carried a watermelon” moment and accept that we are weird and inept sometimes and that this is normal and even funny. This is such a perfectly human moment, and Baby is so brilliantly caught between attraction and embarrassment, it resonates.

I love Dirty Dancing for lots of reasons, but Baby's character is one of the main ones. She is often gawky and unsure, but she also knows what she wants, and is fearless about going after it -- because she straddles that line between the wobbly uncertainty of adolescence and the relative confidence of adulthood, which is actually how I remember myself and my friends at that age.

Baby is never truly innocent, so she can never be spoiled; she’s neither precious nor pure, she is just inexperienced, and so she defies many of the stereotypical portrayals of no-longer-a-girl, not-yet-a-woman characters. She has depth and purpose and wisdom and even when she doesn't know what she's doing, she pushes onward with courage and aplomb. For these reasons and more I consider Dirty Dancing to be one of the better movies to leave an impact on my formative years.
Now this watermelon remark's import is obvious, but somehow I never got it before.

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Another blogger, who calls herself "Laurie in Movies", wrote an article, titled Recipe For The Kellerman Kooler, about how she put on a Dirty Dancing party that featured a watermelon punch.

We're getting excited for our Dirty Dancing viewing party  this weekend, where we’ll be watching the 80s classic Dirty Dancing staring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. I was assigned the laborious task of carrying the watermelon, AND creating the signature cocktail for the evening, but I persevered, and came up with the Kellerman Kooler, aka the Dirty Watermelon Margarita, which is guaranteed to get everyone loosened up for the dance party!

Kellerman's Kooler

- 1 cup of seeded watermelon, cut into chunks

- 1.5 oz  of white tequila

- 1 oz of Aperol or Cointreu

- juice of one lime

- teaspoon of simple syrup or agave

- cup of ice

- fresh mint for garnish

- salt for rim (use a salt/pepper mix to make it extra Dirty)

Blend all ingredients in a blender.

Prepare salted glass rim by rubbing the lime rind around the rim and placing glass rim on a plate of salt.

Pour into salted glasses, garnish with fresh mint
I haven't tried the drink, but the recipe looks delicious.