Adolph Bolm, dance director of "The
Men in Her Life" Columbia picture starring Loretta Young,
is well known locally for the work he has done at the Hollywood
Bowl and in films, as well as in special local productions.
Several years ago he was brought to Los Angeles to do the
ballet scenes for John Barrymore's Warner Brothers film, "The
Mad Genius". Since that time, with the intermission of
four years when he was Ballet Director for the San Francisco
Opera company during the season, he has made his home in Hollywood,
always believing that eventually motion pictures would recognize
the value of the ballet and dancing for film use.
Bolm made ballet history in Los Angeles with his production
of his "Mechanical Ballet" in the Hollywood Bowl
several years ago. Since then, every ballet troupe has had
some version of this powerful modern-in-feeling number. When
Max Reinhardt produced his version of "Faust", Adolph
Bolm was the logical choice to produce the ballet, always
a high spot in a Foust production.
When the San Francisco Opera came to Los Angeles, the film
capital had the pleasure of seeing Bolm's lavish production
of "Le Coq d'Or" from Rimsky Korsakoff's celebrated
opera. Bolm, years before, had produced another version of
it, and the first one in the United States for the Metropolitan
Opera in New York.
His ballets for "Carmen" in the Bowl, with the
San Francisco Opera, revived the original "bullfight"
ballet, originated by Bolm for the Metropolitan, and also
widely copied by others since.
When Igor Stravinsky produced his "The Fire Bird"
at the Hollywood Bowl a year ago, Bolm was the logical man
to produce the ballet, as Bolm and Stravinsky had worked together
in the Diaghilev ballet troupe years ago, in Europe and America.
Bolm's triumphs in the first season of the Ballet Theatre
in New York, in 1940, were great; at that time he created
the ballet of "Peter and the Wolf" from Prokofief's
music; this too has been copied and repeated since. He revived
his old role of the clown in "Carnaval", one in
which he had great popularity during his dancing career; critics
cite it as the greatest single piece of pantomime ever done.
At this time he also revived his "Mechanical Ballet"
to the music of "The Iron Foundry" by Mossulov,
Adolph Bolm comes to us from a great and full career which
began in Russia, where he was a star of the Imperial Ballet
of Petrograd. Anxious to break away from the stilted formalities
of the older ballet forms, Bolm early organized the first
European tour of the Russian ballet outside of Russia. Anna
Pavlova and Bolm danced together as stars in that first trip,
with Bolm acting as choreographer and manager of the venture,
as well as performing.
With Pavlova he joined Sag de Diaghilev's fabulous Ballet
Russe as first dance, choreographer and ballet master. It
was Bolm who prepared the entire repertory of the Diaghilev
company in America. After two succeeding tours in which he
alternated with the tragic Nijinsky in the starring roles,
Bolm made the United States his home, being one of the first
of the expatriate Russians to take out citizenship papers
at that time. His career is synonymous with the history of
he ballet, since he entered it. He introduced Russian ballet
to New York through the Metropolitan Opera, and through Florenz
Ziegfeld for whom he produced ballets. He introduced the idea
of prologues, doing his first of these at the famous Roxy
theatre. For seven years, Bolm's name was in lights on Broadway.
In Chicago, Bolm again made ballet history with his work
for the Chicago Civic Opera, and in his own Ballet Intime
company. In this he used his talented pupil, Ruth Page.
His activities were always of the highest standard; he is
a dancer's dancer; the great in his own field come to him
to learn and to admire humbly the great art of a man who is
the most significant figure in the world of the dance today;
the only one to whom he can be compared is his co-worker from
the Imperial Theatre, Michael Fokine of New York.
Naturally enough, when Gregory Ratoff, director and also
from the Russian Theatre world, sought to make his film based
on the life of a ballerina, he selected Bolm to be dance director.
The flavor of the old-time ballet, the expert management of
the dancers, and the planning of the dances themselves, have
been excellently achieved in "The Men in Her Life, by
Bolm and Ratoff working together, both understanding so well
the problems of the dance in the theatre, and adapting them
to the screen. Ratoff himself is a balletomane; his wife,
Eugenie Leontovich, was a ballerina before her distinguished
career as an actress began.
Published here with permission of Rosalind deMille, daughter
of Rosalind Schaffer.