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5 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Jul 23, 2002)
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$62.99 $20.41
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Award winning director Ron Mann (Grass, Comic Book Confidential) takes the viewer on another hilarious, hip-swinging journey into pop history. More than just 'the dance craze that swept the nation', the twist symbolized an era of transition between Eisenhower's 50s and the counter-culture's 60s - from innocent youths to socially conscious hippies. A superb orchestration of archival footage, performances and interviews, Twist is as much fun as it is culturally intriguing. Home Vision Entertainment is proud to present this award-winning documentary on DVD for the first time.

Non-enthusiasts may wonder how a documentary on a single outmoded dance might hold a viewer's attention for an entire 78 minutes, but Twist is really about the birth of freestyle dancing. Director Ron Mann (Grass, Comic Book Confidential), who could probably make a fascinating documentary on fingernail clippings, creates a sense of fun by dividing his film into dance "lessons," using actual instruction tapes. He sprinkles each section with vintage clips, overwrought headlines from the '60s, and interviews with the songwriters, singers, and American Bandstand dancers who started the craze. "Twist" songwriter Hank Ballard's version of the dance was considered too risqué for TV, but when Chubby Checker "made it nice" on American Bandstand, the move swept the nation, leading to other steps like "The Monkey," "The Potato," and eventually the do-your-own-thing of today. All of this is recorded with plenty of music, dancing, and fond testimonials, making it as fun a documentary as you'll ever see. --Kimberly Heinrichs

Special Features

  • "Let's Learn to Dance" step-by-step dance instruction
  • Deleted scene: Lulu's concert montage (anamorphic widescreen)
  • Interview with Ron Mann

Product Details

  • Actors: Cholly Atkins, Frankie Avalon, Hank Ballard, Gary U.S. Bonds, Chubby Checker
  • Directors: Ron Mann
  • Producers: Ron Mann, Ann Mayall, Don Haig, Sue Len Quon
  • Format: Black & White, Color, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Home Vision Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 23, 2002
  • Run Time: 74 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000067IY8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #219,669 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Twist" on IMDb

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Kitten With a Whip on October 26, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
I never get tired of watching this great documentary on "The Twist" dance craze in the early 60's. The film covers the years leading up to it, the height of the craze, and the years afterwards, finishing up with how the twist evolved into go-go "freestyle" dancing.
The movie is broken up into eight different "Lessons", and contains documentary and newsreel footage in between interviews with singers such as (among others) Dee Dee Sharp, Cholly Atkins, Hank Ballard, and of course, Chubby Checker. They also interview some dancers from American Bandstand, and one of the go-go dancing waitresses at the Peppermint Lounge, who says they had the fringe on their skirts "clocked at 130 mph" when someone timed it once (how exactly they measured this, I don't know, but in the footage you see, it doesn't look too far off the mark).
I just can't put into words how much fun this movie is. If you love to dance, you'll understand and maybe get a little emotional like I did in parts. You can hear the passion in most of the dancer's voices when they talk about how dancing made them feel and/or how it changed their lives. Even without the narration, some of the footage speaks for itself- watch the faces of some of the couples doing the jitterbug and swing-dancing early in the film. I don't think I've ever seen bigger smiles on anyone in my life- they look like they're having so much fun they would have to look down to see cloud 9.
This movie is not only a great documentary, but educational. I learned the names of some of my favorite go-go dances (I had the The Frug confused with The Watutsi...
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Blahblahblah on February 19, 2003
Format: DVD
Like Ron Mann's other films ("Grass", "Comic Book Confidential", etc), "Twist" is full of much more fun, colour, movement and wit than the average documentary, and provides an equally entertaining and educational look at 20th century pop history. And, as in his other documentaries, he looks at the broader background and sociological implications behind the main subject matter.
One of the more interesting historical aspects explored in this film is the politics and social engineering behind the '50's dance crazes. The twist itself grew out of the more blatantly sexual, bump and grind dances popular in black music halls. Knowing that it was impossible to wipe out their children's interests in black culture (let's face it, African Americans not only invented rock and roll, but put out far superior music to the watered-down white artists who were more radio-friendly), white adults decided to instead try to replace the dances their children were imitating with something "safer" and more "wholesome" by doing for dance what Pat Boone and company did for rock. Funny clips are shown of whites demonstrating the "proper" technique for twisting with absolutely no hip movement! But they only partially succeeded.
The Twist is not the only dance examined. Mann shows how it evolved from other dances, and how others later tried to cash in on its success by releasing songs with built-in new dances. Witness such Macarenas of the past as the hilarious The Elephant where kids use their arms to imitate an elephant's trunk! (Unfortunately, Mann does not include footage of the Neil Sadaka non-craze, The Jellyfish!!)
All the people most instrumental in creating the dance craze who were alive at the time of filming are interviewed, many of them demonstrating their own twist (pun intended) on the dance.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Carolyn on April 9, 2005
Format: DVD
"Twist" is a documentary about the dance craze of the sixties which also includes the dances that led up to the "twist" and those that followed. It really brought me back to the days of doing the "swim", "monkey", "mashed potato", "watusi", in addition to the main attraction - the "twist". The interviews and film clips were very entertaining and down right FUN!
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By Dr. R. R. Dartt on September 25, 2013
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I grew up with all of this music as it spread across the United States, especially "Joey Dee and The Star-lighters". So it was fun for me to go back in time and enjoy what I danced to so long ago by watching this tape.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Linda Ann on August 8, 2015
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Product came quickly. Very satisfied with this rare VHS Tape which was hard to find. Thank you for making it available.
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