Disco’s been dead for decades, yet disco bashing never seems to go out of style. The sleazy fashions, the soulless music, the lumpenproletariat streaming ‘cross bridge and tunnel to shake their sweaty, polyester-clad booties like cut rate Travoltas… it’s over, and yet it isn’t.
But even the most savagely anti-disco rocker should allow that its lead practitioners were possessed of a certain glamour and grace, their highly refined dance moves executed with the precision of Fred Astaire.
It’s a point a German film buff known on YouTube as “et7waage1” drives home by setting a mix of screen siren Rita Hayworth’s most memorable dance scenes from the ‘40s and ‘50s to one of disco’s best known anthems, ’ “Stayin’ Alive.”
It’s easy to imagine Rita and any of her co-stars (including Astaire) would have parted the crowds at Brooklyn’s legendary 2001 Odyssey, the scene of Saturday Night Fever’s famous lighted Plexiglass floor. Her celebrated stems are well suited to the demands of disco, even when her twirly skirt is traded in for pjs and fuzzy slippers or a dowdy turn-of-the-century swimming costume.
Here, for comparison’s sake are the stars of Saturday Night Fever, John Travolta and Karen Lynn Gomey, cutting the rug, urm, flashing floor in 1977 to the Bee Gees’ much more sedate “More Than a Woman.”
Hayworth films featured in the disco-scored revamp are:
“Down to Earth”: 0:00 / 1:03 / 2:46 / 4:20
“You’ll Never Get Rich”: 0:14 / 0:24 / 0:28 / 0:46 / 2:35 / 3:16 / 3:49
“Tonight and Every Night”: 0:20 / 1:11 / 1:22 / 1:36 / 1:54 / 1:55
“Cover Girl”: 0:34 / 0:38 / 1:13 / 1:48 / 2:13 / 3:07 / 3:29 / 3:31 / 3:54 / 4:06 / 4:31
“You Were Never Lovelier”: 0:50 / 2:20 / 2:42 / 3:00 / 4:10 / 4:38
“Gilda”: 1:17 / 2:04
“Miss Sadie Thompson”: 1:38 / 1:46 / 4:28
“My Gal Sal”: 1:42 / 3:23 / 3:35
“Pal Joey”: 2:00 / 3:20 / 3:41
“Affair in Trinidad”: 2:05 / 2:52 / 3:04
Disco Saves Lives: Give CPR to the The Beat of Bee Gees “Stayin’ Alive”
The Origins of Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk: Vintage Footage of Cab Calloway, Sammy Davis Jr., Fred Astaire & More
James Brown Gives You Dancing Lessons: From The Funky Chicken to The Boogaloo
Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. Her play, Fawnbook, is now playing New York City. Follow her @AyunHalliday
Excuse me, but how dare you dismiss a whole scene in such an unpleasant manner. I was waiting for the paragraph about, we all know now that the “disco sucks” Kandinsky Park rally was a thinly veiled racist and homophobic response to a scene which featured some utterly incredible music. Unsubscribing from Twitter feed.
I think you mean Comiskey Park in Chicago. Unless you are referring to some baseball stadium in Moscow. Disco was great, everything is great, don’t be disagreeable.
David – to clarify, I was attempting to show the various categories the usual objections fall into, not espouse them myself. I was 13 at the height of disco…and as viewed primarily through the lens of the Seventeen magazines arriving at my home in Indiana, it seemed like a pretty glamorous, wonderful thing to me!
Hopefully this explanation will cause you to resubscribe to the Twitter Feed.
This video appears to be doing the rounds with a number of different soundtracks. Bit lazy to be honest.
Poorly written article…You relate viewpoints of a by gone era as if you actually lived through it..quite frankly DISCO was incredible..Fashions we GREAt and Outrageous! and all the rage was how to dance to it…Rita Hayworth never was an icon of the dancing Disco ..She Danced Tap , Jazz and Ballroom..Ask her to waltz was like scalding her with hot water while she wanted to be chilling doing jazz or tap!