Specter Of The Rose

  • 1946
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Comedy, Dance, Thriller

Over-the-hill ballerina Anderson is the doyenne of a dance troupe in this backstage suspense film filled with famed cinema scribe Hecht's acerbic barbs and ripostes. Chekhov is the company's somewhat effeminate impresario whose tendency to petulance is fostered by the strange doings on and off the stage. Kirov--a talented dancer making his screen debut--is...read more

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Over-the-hill ballerina Anderson is the doyenne of a dance troupe in this backstage suspense film filled with famed cinema scribe Hecht's acerbic barbs and ripostes. Chekhov is the company's somewhat effeminate impresario whose tendency to petulance is fostered by the strange doings on and

off the stage. Kirov--a talented dancer making his screen debut--is somewhat deranged; the ballet "Spectre de la Rose" invokes strange images in his mind: "The rose has a thorn," he whispers to himself, wielding a wicked-looking knife. Kirov has already "thorned" a former wife prior to the

picture's opening. Young dancer Essen, believing Kirov to be cured of his affliction, falls in love with the dancer and marries him. Stander, a balletomanic hanger-on, is a rough-hewn, would-be poet whose quips and aphorisms reflect the screenwriter's reflections. During a performance, Kirov's

hallucinations recur and he is only barely prevented from killing his ballet partner/bride. Loyal to the last, she takes him to a hotel room, hoping to nurse him free of his strange affliction. After several days of constant nurturing care, the exhausted Essen falls asleep. The music sounds in

Kirov's mind; he rises and begins his fateful solo, hovering near Essen with his blade. At the very last moment, he makes a virtuoso ballet leap, crashing through the window of the small room to be dashed to his death on the pavement far below. One of high-paid scripter Hecht's several ventures

into Orson Welles-like total control over product, THE SPECTER OF THE ROSE, like the others, was the result of Hecht's disaffection with his treatment by major studios. In his autobiography, A Child of the Century, the writer vented his spleen against producers: "A movie is never any better than

the stupidest man connected with it. There are times when this distinction may be given to the writer or director. Most often it belongs to the producer." With a free hand, except for financial restraints--the film's cost, reportedly, was a mere $160,000--Hecht wrote, directed, and produced an

entertaining mixed bag here: part drama, part comedy, part suspense film, with an unusual background. Republic, a studio more accustomed to westerns, picked up the product for release, probably on the strength of the writer's reputation. Campily entertaining, and with some surprises, the picture

received mixed reviews, with some critics finding it pretentious and arty. Author Saul Bellow said he would rather eat ground glass than sit through it a second time, but many others enjoyed its arch humor and cinematic inventiveness.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Over-the-hill ballerina Anderson is the doyenne of a dance troupe in this backstage suspense film filled with famed cinema scribe Hecht's acerbic barbs and ripostes. Chekhov is the company's somewhat effeminate impresario whose tendency to petulance is fos… (more)

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