Felix In Hollywood

A Blog for the Smart Set

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Great Big Thank You To 'King' Cole.

Today, a moment of appreciation for the all too unsung genius of choreographer/director
Jack Cole (1911-1974). 

Jack Cole, 1930s
He began as a Denishawn dancer and then moved on to nightclub work.  But it was film that captured his brilliance for all time.

He informed all those that would follow from Michael Kidd to Bob Fosse.  Gwen Verdon was his assistant for seven years.

In addition to his incomparable dance directing, his art direction of color palettes and sets his camera angles (most of these, by the way, going uncredited) make for some spectacular frames of film.  In an interview before her death Jane Russell said that during the dance numbers on "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes"  Howard Hawks was rarely even present!

His last work was teaching at UCLA up until two weeks before his death.

Jack Cole 1971

He made 'em Sparkle:

He made 'em Sizzle:

And sometimes, inexplicably:

He made 'em make you wanna make 'em!

As always I have combed many different sources before assembling this post, but if you want more info on Mr. Cole, one place stands above the rest.  It's Debra Levine's fine 'arts * meme'.  You will find it Here.


Jon said...

A brilliant tribute! I have always loved that bizarre Mitzi Gaynor routine too... Jx

paul said...

What creativity! Monroe's version of "Diamonds" and Hayworth's performance have become iconic. All this due to a man who most of us know nothing about. Because of this post he is getting some recognition.

Jake said...

What a great and diverse career from one of the all-time greats! Thanks for highlighting this!

Craig Wingard said...

Thanks for the great post, the Blame Mame number is my all time favorite.