Home Video Picks & Passes 08.01.21

Dancing movies get a thumbs-up.

‘‘An American in Paris’ and ‘Strictly Ballroom’
‘‘An American in Paris’ and ‘Strictly Ballroom’ (photo: via Amazon)

An American in Paris (1953) — PICK
Strictly Ballroom (1992) — PICK

Two terrific films about dancing are among the latest arrivals to Blu-ray.

If Gene Kelly dancing to George Gershwin’s music with lyrics by his brother Ira isn’t enough to sell you on An American in Paris, what would be? 

How about an unforgettable story and terrific characters? Sorry, nope! This movie is all frosting and effervescence, no substance at all.

What you will get is fantastic music and some of the most dazzling cinematic choreography ever filmed, culminating in a groundbreaking climactic 17-minute ballet sequence that paved the way for the “Broadway Melody” sequence in Singin’ in the Rain, among others.

For an unforgettable story with terrific characters in a movie with music and dancing, look no further than Strictly Ballroom, Baz Luhrmann’s first and best film.

What starts as an edgy, in-your-face mockumentary satirizing the rigid pretensions of people who take competitive ballroom dancing way too seriously morphs by imperceptible degrees into a complicated tale of generations and families, ultimately turning in a crowd-pleasing fairy-tale ending that makes me weep for joy every time I watch it.


CAVEAT SPECTATOR: An American in Paris: Romantic complications. Fine family viewing. Strictly Ballroom: Some suggestive humor and brief sexual content (nothing explicit); skimpy dancing costumes; comic drunkenness; several instances of profanity. Teens and up.