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Great Music From Chicago: Doctor Bat (Die Fledermaus) [1961]

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Film Identifier: F.2011-05-0177
Run Time
0h 53m 0s
Date Produced
"Die Fledermaus" (or "Dr. Bat") is a 3-scene ballet comedy choreographed by Ruth Page, with music by Johann Strauss, arranged and orchestrated by Isaac Van Grove. It was premiered with "Concertino Pour Trois" on January 9, 1961 in Rockford, IL. Costumes and scenery were designed by André Delfau. This film represents a made-for-tv version, filmed in December of 1961 specifically for an episode of the television show "Great Music from Chicago," which aired on WGN-TV on January 7, 1962. According to the canister label, the role of "The Costumer" is performed by Larry Long; the role of "Dr. Falke (the bat)" is danced by Charles Schick; "Eisenstein" is Kenneth Johnson; "Rosalinda" is Patricia Klekovic; "Adele (the maid)" is Dolores Lipinski; and "Otto (the valet)" is Orrin Kayan.
The film opens with a crane shot of a male narrator (Jim Conway) behind an old gas lamp; the camera moves down to eye level as Conway gives context to the place and time (Imperial Vienna, ~1860, a costume shop) of the ballet, Dr. Bat (adapted from Johann Strauss's "Die Fledermaus"), to follow; he also introduces the Ruth Page Ballet before the "Great Music from Chicago" screen cuts in. Conway announces that choreography is by Ruth Page, conducting by Neal Kayan, and directed by Richard Doerschuk. The screen goes blank (presumably for advertisements) for a few moments and then cuts back to Conway on the set, explaining that young Eisenstein and his fellow revelers are about to enter, followed by Dr. Falke and two girls, disturbing the proprieter of the costume shop. With this, the camera dollies into the elaborate shop set and the costumer awakens, wandering out his front door and doing a sleepy solo dance with a flower he picks. Suddenly, the group of young people stream in and surround the costumer with their dancing, two by two. Several invade the shop and fool around with his costumes, much to his dismay. The group then splits into a semi-circle of sorts, allowing for Eisenstein to dance a solo at center with faux-wings. When he stops, he believes he hears someone approaching, so he encourages his friends to scatter; Dr. Falke and his two female companions then arrive and dance a pas de trois. Then, Eisenstein entraps Falke into a bat costume and he begins a bat-solo, during which he is joined by some of the female revelers. Before he knows what has happened, however, Eisenstein has wrapped him in rope and ties him to a lamp post. The costumer, distraught over this, is also entrapped by revelers and carried back to his shop. Falke's two companions then reappear and tease him for a bit, eventually rescuing him but running off while he's still confused. At the end of the scene, Conway returns and introduces Act II, in which Falke plots his revenge. There in then a cut for commercials, followed by Conway's return. He offers a brief discussion of dance and the origin of ballet, after which he offers context for the second act, in the boudoir of Rosalinda Eisenstein. The maid, Adele, laments that she has nothing to wear to Falke's impending ball and the valet, Otto, suggests she wear the mistress's dress. She turns it down and begins to cry, but is cheered up when he offers up a feather boa; she dances a playful solo with it while Otto looks on. She ends the solo dejected, as she snaps back to reality, so Otto attempts to comfort her again--this time with fancy hats. The two commence a lighthearted pas de deux, disposing of the hats halfway through. After they complete it with a kiss, Rosalinda enters in her dressing gown and the maid attends to her. Rosalinda then performs a solo around her boudoir. Once she's completed it, her husband arrives and dances his greeting to her. They then dance a pas de deux, after which Adele brings the couple drinks, wiggling about in an attempt to get Mr. Eisenstein's attention. She eventually succeeds and pulls him off briefly before he returns and continues to dance with Rosalinda--halfheartedly, and stealing glances at Adele while doing so. When Rosalinda returns to her dressing table to make herself up, her husband dances a bit with Adele, hiding this fact from his wife when she turns around. Finally, the three dance a small pas de trois and Rosalinda exits. Eisenstein and the maid then steal a quick kiss, with Adele exiting just as Dr. Falke enters with invitations to his ball. He encourages Eisenstein to come with Adele instead of his wife, and the two dance a knowing duet together. Then Rosalinda and Otto appear, upset when Falke tells them about Adele and Eisenstein accompanying each other to the ball. They agree to go together, wearing masks, in revenge. Once they exit, Falke dances a happy solo in anticipation of his plan unfolding. The camera then cuts for advertisements before returning once again to Conway, who discusses Strauss and his music before introducing Act III, at Dr. Falke's ball. As he speaks, Falke dances a brief and merry solo before beginning to greet his various costumed guests. They all arrange themselves in the ballroom and embark upon a waltz in their couples. Next, Eisenstein performs a solo, after which Adele enters, wearing an elaborate train, and receives a great deal of attention from a group of men who dance with her and carry her around. This is followed by a flirtation between Eisenstein and other girls, then Eisenstein and Adele. When all come back together, Falke carries a girl on each shoulder and dances a pas de trois with them at center. It is at this point that Rosalinda and Otto enter, masked, and intrigue Eisenstein and Adele, respectively. Rosalinda then dances an enrapturing solo, as does Otto after her. The two then reprise with impressive numbers of turns, and Falke follows by bringing them together with their respective husband and fiancée, unbeknownst to Adele and Eisenstein. The Eisensteins then dance a long, infatuated pas de deux. As they complete it, the 6 other ballroom couples return to commence the finale, which features first Otto and Adele and then the Eisensteins; finally, Dr. Falke enters in a full bat costume and unmasks Otto and Rosalinda, thoroughly embarrassing their partners. But soon, all is forgiven and everyone performs the finale dance as an ensemble. The camera then goes dark for a moment, before switching to a "Dr. Bat" title screen, followed by "Ruth Page Ballet," then "Produced and Directed by Richard Doerschuk," a cast listing, "Choreographed by Ruth Page," "Music Adaptation by Isaac Van Grove," "Conductor: Neal Kayan," "Costumes by André Delfau," "Host: Jim Conway," "Written by Francis Coughlan and Richard Doerschuk," "Art Director: Robert Stebbins," "A WGN Television Production." The film ends there.
Main Credit
Doerschuk, Richard (is director)
Doerschuk, Richard (is producer)
Additional Credit
Coughlan, Francis (is writer)
Doerschuk, Richard (is writer)
Kayan, Neal (music)
Page, Ruth (is choreographer)
Strauss, Johann (is composer)
Van Grove, Isaac (music)
Actors, Performers and Participants
Long, Larry (is performer)
Schick, Charles (is performer)
Johnson, Kenneth (is performer)
Klekovic, Patricia (is performer)
Lipinski, Dolores (is performer)
Kayan, Orrin (is performer)
Conway, Jim (is narrator)
Related Place
Chicago (production location of)