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Striptease: The Greatest Exotic Dancers of All Time
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Striptease - The Greatest Exotic Dancers of all time - a buxum visual feast from a bygone era. The exotic dances and performances of the burlesque legends. Collected here are Gypsy Rose Lee, Sally Rand, Tempest Storm, Bettie Page, Lili St. Cyr, Dixie Evans, Josephine Baker, Rose La Rose, Genii Young, Rosita Royce, Kalantan, Myrna Dean, Sheree North, Patti Waggin, Betty Rowland, Marie Voe, Naoma Silverheels, Cherry Knight and many more.
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One caveat--as with many clips of old burlesque footage, many of these dancers are shown to different music than the dancers were actually performing to. The enormous cost of using the original music often results in this kind of clip, which makes it difficult to evaluate just how good these performers actually were. Maybe some of them were much better than they appear to be, some worse--but no doubt they could hit a beat now and then!
STRIP TEASE is essentially a documentary display of the "exotic dancers" of the late 1940s and 1950s, offering vintage clips of a dozen or so of the forgotten and famous as they ply their trade. Easily the most famous is Gypsy Rose Lee (1911-1970), who was more widely admired for her wit and ribald personality than her actual disrobings--and who performs one of her distinctly comic routines for the Hollywood camera. Sally Rand (1904-1979) is a truly legendary performer, the creator of both the "fan dance" and the "bubble dance," a remarkably graceful creature with an elegant body.
Tempest Storm wasn't famous because she could dance; the New Orleans-based Kalatan, also known as "The Heavenly Body," could dance indeed. Bettie Page is very famous, but she was a pin-up model rather than a stripper. Dixie Evans was sassy and twisty--the "Marilyn Monroe" of the burlesque world. And then there is Lili St. Cyr, who didn't so much dance or strip as strike poses in fancifully high-tone settings. Others include Rosita Royce, Naoma Silverheels, Myrna Dean, Cherry Knight, Patti Waggin, Marie Voe, Betty Rowland, Rose La Rose, Tarza Young, and Josephine Baker--a major star in France but scarcely known in her American homeland. There's even a brief glimpse of the original Little Egypt, who shocked staid Americans with her belly dance at the 1893 World's Fair.
The emphasis is on "tease" instead of "strip," and by today's standards the acts are tame. Although some fully expose their breasts, most make use of pasties, and while panties may come off they are inevitably backed by g-strings. Given the changes in both morality and ideas about feminine beauty, very often the result is more camp than erotic; nonetheless, it was all pretty hot stuff at the time--and part of its heat arose from the fundamental innocence involved. The DVD also contains a bonus in the form of about fifteen minutes of short films, wherein unidentified strip teasers bump, grind, and shake as much as possible.
It is an interesting bit of nostalgia. Even so, STRIPTEASE doesn't really show off its performers to their best advantage. Clips are clearly cut from longer material, so we don't really get to see the performers for any substantial length of time, and there are several strip tease artists you'd expect to be included but who aren't, with Blaze Starr, Ann Corio, and Candy Barr cases in point. Recommended, but this DVD only scratches the surface.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer