In the early 1950’s, young men and women took dance lessons to learn formal ballroom steps and some rigid ground rules for securing a partner. However, as that decade reached its midpoint, new, more energetic and less structured dances became popular. One in particular, the “TWIST”–the subject of an entertaining documentary–went way beyond a teen fad to become a virtual engine of industry in America. It also served as a transition from a period of relative innocence and high spirits in popular music to one of moral anarchy. Canadian producer-director Ron Mann has cleverly interspersed vintage footage with fascinating interviews. The Twist grew out of the free-style dance steps of black performers of rhythm and blues which evolved into rock and roll. Things begin to look ominous as TWIST winds to a close with some shots of the first wave of the cultural and sexual revolution of the late 1960’s.
TWIST stops well short of extoling or even showing any of that bitter decline in popular culture. The story it tells is mostly upbeat and frequently very funny, especially during some hilariously awful TV programs and commercials from the 1950’s and early ’60’s. The film is marred by some mild innuendo and a brief photo shot of a woman modeling a topless swimsuit.
(S, N) Mild innuendo by one musician during interview and very brief view of photo of model in topless swimsuit.