Hidden Gems is a series bringing to light little known filmic gems and rarities.
Loosely based on Georges Arnaud‘s novel Le Salaire de la Peur (The Wages of Fear) which told the tale of four truck drivers and their dangerous mission to transport tankers of nitroglycerine through South America. Emile Ardolino‘s Danse lascive (Dirty Dancing) is the story of a naive Jewish teenager and her dangerous mission to transport a watermelon up a flight of stairs.
Lauded by critics upon it’s original release but flopping at the box-office, Danse Lascive slowly developed an underground cult following with VHS copies changing hands for as much as $1000 but on December 1st2013 it will finally be released on DVD and Blu-Ray as part of the Criterion collection.
“It’s probably the most allegorical film of the 1980s,” said New York Times Chief film critic A.O. Scott.

Obviously being set in the summer of 1963 a few months before the Kennedy assassination many writers have suggested that the character of Baby represents America, and her loss of innocence parallels the country’s loss of innocence that terrible November day when JFK was murdered by aliens. Personally I think that’s bullsh*t because between the 15thcentury massacres of the native population to the racial motivated Birmingham Bombings of early 63 you’d struggle to find a single occasion that America had any innocence to lose. In my opinion what Danse Lascive is really about is the post-war relationship between Israel and America. Baby (Israel), is young, unsure of herself but ready to jump in bed with the charismatic and cocksure Johnny Castle (America). At first Castle is the dominant figure in the relationship but as Baby gains more confidence the tables are turned and Castle becomes Baby’s thrall.

The Criterion version is rumored to feature 20 minutes of additional footage including the infamous ‘Argentinian Tango’ scene which was cut from the original due to it’s heavy handed representation of the recent Falklands conflict and overt Argentine bias.
Danse Lascive is due for release by Criterion on December 1st 2013.
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