Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Watch us on Youtube Join the Archive Mailing List Read our Blog

UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Hugh M. Hefner Classic American Film Program present

Fosse, Fosse, Fosse! A Retrospective

All That Jazz
July 28, 2018 -
August 26, 2018
Alan Heim, Kathryn Doby, Wolfgang Glattes, Mark Olsen (7/28); Sam Wasson (8/10; 8/12); Debra Levine (8/25).

Read a letter from Liza Minnelli.

Los Angeles Times interview with Bob Fosse collaborators Alan Heim, Liza Minnelli and Shirley MacLaine.

Remembered today for his spectacularly entertaining films and dance sequences, Bob Fosse (1927-1987), in his work from the 1950s to the 1980s, revealed his world to be a place of bright lights and deep shadows, with his subject often show business itself. Spending his life as an entertainer, he recognized both the positive and negative powers of entertainment. The world of Bob Fosse is perhaps most of all a world in tension: spectacular pleasure versus cynicism, exploitation, alienation and hypocrisy. Lying at the heart of his work, that tension was Fosse’s ongoing, evolving comment on the postwar U.S. of the 1960s and ‘70s. In an age that preferred smooth movements and grand gestures, Fosse’s choreography—a repository of American popular dance history—often referred back to dance of the first half of the 20th century. Recalling the eccentricities he had seen from vaudeville performers, his dancers would often slouch or exhibit strange postures and shapes, emphasizing small gestures and movements, which were typically repeated. These gestures were borrowed directly from everyday life, as well as from the worlds of work, of machinery, of sports, of puppetry and ventriloquism, even of the military, often turning his dances into a kind of social satire of the U.S. after World War II. All of these movements that he would import, quote and transform remind us that dance and the body are embedded in both in history and in the society around us, and vice versa. Fosse’s choreography is always both a celebration and a critique. Even as he criticized entertainment as mere “razzle dazzle,” meant to distract and misdirect, he never stopped trying to show us how musical entertainment could also reveal to us this very alienation. Fosse introduced the idea of a gap between the body and the self, showing that dance is not always the expression of the self; it can be ironic, or the exquisite expression of a no-self.—David Pendleton

Fosse, Fosse, Fosse! is dedicated to film programmer David Pendleton (1964- 2017), who worked for UCLA Film & Television Archive from 1994-2007. This program was made possible through a close collaboration with Harvard Film Archive.

All notes adapted from text written by David Pendleton, except where otherwise noted.

Special thanks: Alyson Adler, Steven Anastasi and Michael Feinstein; Haden Guest and Karin Kolb, Harvard Film Archive; Hannah Prouse, British Film Institute.

Past Programs & Events

Title Date and Time Location
The Little Prince

The Little Prince

Sunday, August 26, 2018 - 3:00 pm Billy Wilder Theater
Kiss Me Kate

Kiss Me Kate  /  My Sister Eileen

Saturday, August 25, 2018 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater
White Christmas

White Christmas

Saturday, August 25, 2018 - 3:00 pm Billy Wilder Theater
The Pajama Game

The Pajama Game  /  Damn Yankees

Saturday, August 18, 2018 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater

Star 80  /  Lenny

Friday, August 17, 2018 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater
Liza with a Z: A Concert for Television

Liza with a Z  /  Cabaret

Sunday, August 12, 2018 - 7:00 pm Billy Wilder Theater
Sweet Charity

Sweet Charity

Friday, August 10, 2018 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater
All That Jazz

All That Jazz

Saturday, July 28, 2018 - 7:30 pm Billy Wilder Theater