Bump & Grind: The Story of Burlesque

Bump & Grind: The Story of Burlesque film still
  • Released

    September 14, 2009

Whilst most are familiar with the current crop of burlesque superstars that have dominated the resurgence of the art form, the long and rich history remains a mystery to many. This independent short documentary film written and directed by Alison Mercer aims to divulge the influences, the beginnings and impact that burlesque has had on popular culture. Instead of relying on interviews, this narrated documentary uses archive footage to explain the origins of burlesque which harks back to the immigrants in New York, 1920s speakeasies and when Hollywood stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Natalie Wood, Mae West and Jayne Mansfield brought to the mainstream.

The style has become so popular there are now specific burlesques clubs popping up along with dance lessons specialising in the art of tease making it and its stars such as Dita Von Teese a welcome antedote to sleazy, back street strib clubs and the never ending stream of knicker-less celebrities. Despite a shaky opening sequence that show some slightly unflattering entrants at London's Whoopee Club's Tournament of Tease and some obviously very low production values, the resulting film is very intriguing and entertaining, revealing some surprising elements and influences that created the style, and the effect it had on others. At 30 minutes, it ends rather abrupty given the feeling that it'd be more suited as a television documentary than a film but reveals just enough to keep you interested.

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