|"The Farmers and the Cowmen Should Be Friends"
This routine runs a mighty close second to "Kansas City" as my favorite song and dance routine. Not
only is there some great dancing, swirling colorful dresses and great board-stompin', there's hand
clapping lyrics and music that sometimes approach the heroic. The orchestration is great, with delightful
little piano and string riffs rippling through the whole routine. And, naturally, it features Liz in a
light-as-a-feather hop up on Will's hip, followed by a very ladylike curtsy in response to his bow. Just
before her routine begins, she watches for her cue with an such intensity that it is almost physical -- such
is her professionalism. The Todd-AO version has a nice overview where the sidelines catch her tripping
across the stage so lightly that it reminds you of a stone skipping across the water. One constant trait I
noticed about her throughout this whole exercise is that she favors her dance partner with either a
head-thrown-back killer smile or a worshipful glance. It must have been wonderful to work with her,
although I would have been an enamored wreck at the end of the day.
Another scene the girls and an uncredited dancer are featured in is the sing-song comic-relief during the
fight between the farmers and the ranchers with the girls' lilting voices urging that "The farmers and the
cowmen should be friends".
UPDATE 10-10-06: IMDb poster doroberts-1 identified the other dancer as Nancy Kilgas, who had a
good run up until the 60s.) When the fight breaks out, the camera pans back to give an overview of the
melee and on the far right you will catch Liz making unscripted (IMHO) delighted little schoolgirl hops
-- the kid just doesn't slack up for a moment.
UPDATE 07-05-08: Lizanne said that director Zinneman told her to "Be happy. Cheer them on." She
said the jumping up and down just came naturally as she put herself in the "O boy! A fight!" mode.
Afterwards, the second of her one-liners pops up here when she asks Mr. Skidmore (Jay C. Flippen) who
the auctioneer for the picnic baskets will be, and in doing so, bounces up like an excited little girl -- it
doesn't seem like she is acting at all but actually living the part. Great stuff.
I ended up taping the sound track of these dance routines and played them back on my daily commute
to work. I damned near ran off the road the first time I visualized Liz kicking Will's hat off in the
"Kansas City" bit. (I'm much better now.)
|While Jenny Workman
laughs, Nancy Kilgas
and the girls urge that
the farmers and ranchers
should be friends
while the two groups
continue pounding each
|Will center stage, with brightly-costumed
Liz and Jane in the background.
Liz has fired up the boilers and is preparing
to unleash her spiffy little routine,
once again doing a flawless transition
from hoe-down dancing to a sprint
to a nicely-timed hop up on Will's hip.
|Here she comes, answering all bells
and making 30 knots,
ready to give Will an armful of spunky loveliness.
The director always seemed to make a point
of calling attention to her, even in group scenes.
No other dancer was treated so favorably,
and I feel that she amply rewarded those
who had placed such faith in her.
|Liz flashes that killer smile, "floats like a butterfly" and alights on Will's hip,
then rewards his gentlemanly bow with a ladylike curtsy.
The scene lasts only a few seconds in real time but is a delight to watch - crisp, saucy, and professional.
|"Who will be the auctioneer, Mr. Skidmore?"
Liz bubbles, giving an excited little hop
and projecting that childlike quality
that's so effective.
She must have been in her late teens
or very early twenties in this movie,
but she carried off the part to perfection.
Note that even in a non-dance situation
she manages to instinctively exhibit
that ballet-like extention.
Whoever trained this little lady did a great
job. Then again, they had some great natural
talent to work with.
UPDATE 03-02-07: Liz was 23 at this time.
Orest Sergievsky, trained in
classical ballet, was her instructor.
|UPDATE 01-25-07: While
watching this routine for
the umpteenth time in
slo-mo, I ran across
this interesting vignette
that spans only about two
seconds in real time.
Just like panning for
gold, occasionally another
nugget is found.
UPDATE 05/19/07: I went to a local stage production of this movie, and of course the "Goon Girls"
weren't in it, but if I closed my eyes, I could envision a certain little blonde pixie skipping through the
routines. Luckily, it was dark so no one noticed the goofy smile on my face. What I found interesting
though was that in two places where Lizanne would have been, they used a Margaret O'Brien-type little
girl (offering a bouquet to Dream Curley and in the aftermath of the dance routine in "Farmers and
Ranchers".) When the little girl squeaked "Who will be the auctioneer, Mr. Skidmore?" I nearly came
out of my seat as she sounded just like Liz. It was a great testament to Liz's acting talent in projecting
that "little girl" persona so perfectly that they had to use a REAL little girl in the play.