Not such a fine romance - Telegraph
Fred Astaire was an American dancer, singer, actor, . According to Hollywood folklore, a screen test. These elements made those Astaire Rogers duets masterpieces. The Gods of Music and .. Linda is uncertain as how to proceed with the relationship. This song . Ginger made the test and went unrecognized by any of the stage personnel. According to Hollywood legend, Fred Astaire's first screen test led a grumpy In the first four of five Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers musicals recently a Broadway couple in the midst of relationship turmoil, but while the sets are.
What would happen to him without her?
Not such a fine romance
First off, he fell in love and married a petite, year-old New York socialite named Phyllis Potter. Next, he headed for Hollywood and discovered his destiny. Astaire had been there once before but had failed to pass muster. Can dance a little. What was it about Astaire and Rogers that made their work so special?
Astaire had more than enough technique. What he needed was an eager and pliant response, a feminine other that his creative will could penetrate and control. They merged in the mutual gesture of the dance, and in the process each gained from the other. Katharine Hepburn got it just right: The emotion is released in dozens of moods and rhythms. According to legendproducer David O. Selznick was out of town when Astaire shot his screen test for RKO.
I will not have it Leland Working with producer Pandro Berman and director Mark Sandrich, Astaire graphed out the structure he would use for all of his films, down to the minute. In the short documentary On Top: Inside The Success of 'Top Hat,' Astaire biographer Larry Billman explains that Astaire drew a chart for each of his films to follow, specifying how many minutes could elapse between the beginning of the film and its first musical number, how many minutes of comedy, romance, and drama there should be between dance numbers.
Before Astaire hit Hollywood, musical movies were shot very differently, with lots of fast cuts and close-ups during dance sequences. When they move, bup You have 20 cuts. Fred went on to achieve success on his own on Broadway and in London with Gay Divorce later made into the film The Gay Divorceewhile considering offers from Hollywood. The end of the partnership was traumatic for Astaire but stimulated him to expand his range. Free of the brother-sister constraints of the former pairing and working with new partner Claire LuceFred created a romantic partnered dance to Cole Porter 's " Night and Day ," which had been written for Gay Divorce.
Luce stated that she had to encourage him to take a more romantic approach: Can dance a little. Bermanclaimed he had never heard the story in the s and that it only emerged years afterwards. Selznickwho had signed Astaire to RKO and commissioned the test, stated in a memo, "I am uncertain about the man, but I feel, in spite of his enormous ears and bad chin line, that his charm is so tremendous that it comes through even on this wretched test.
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In a review, Variety magazine attributed its massive success to Astaire's presence: He's assuredly a bet after this one, for he's distinctly likable on the screen, the mike is kind to his voice and as a dancer he remains in a class by himself. The latter observation will be no news to the profession, which has long admitted that Astaire starts dancing where the others stop hoofing.
He wrote his agent, "I don't mind making another picture with her, but as for this 'team' idea, it's 'out! The partnership, and the choreography of Astaire and Hermes Panhelped make dancing an important element of the Hollywood film musical. Six out of the nine Astaire-Rogers musicals became the biggest moneymakers for RKO; all of the films brought a certain prestige and artistry that all studios coveted at the time.Ginger Rogers - The RKO Story #2 (Fred Astaire, Hermes Pan, Pandro Berman)
Their partnership elevated them both to stardom; as Katharine Hepburn reportedly said, "He gives her class and she gives him sex appeal. Astaire was also given complete autonomy over how the dances would be presented, allowing him to revolutionize dance on film.
This gave the illusion of an almost stationary camera filming an entire dance in a single shot. Astaire's second innovation involved the context of the dance; he was adamant that all song and dance routines be seamlessly integrated into the plotlines of the film.
Instead of using dance as spectacle as Busby Berkeley did, Astaire used it to move the plot along. Typically, an Astaire picture would include at least three standard dances: Rogers was outstanding among Astaire's partners not because she was superior to others as a dancer, but because, as a skilled, intuitive actress, she was cagey enough to realize that acting did not stop when dancing began She faked it an awful lot.
She couldn't tap and she couldn't do this and that She got so that after a while everyone else who danced with me looked wrong. She made everything work for her. No loafing on the job on an Astaire picture, and no cutting corners. He negotiated with RKO to strike out on his own with A Damsel in Distress in with an inexperienced, non-dancing Joan Fontaineunsuccessfully as it turned out. While both films earned respectable gross incomes, they both lost money because of increased production costs, : Astaire was reunited with Rogers in at MGM for their final outing, The Barkleys of Broadwaythe only one of their films together to be shot in Technicolor.
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Fred Astaire - Wikipedia
June Learn how and when to remove this template message With Eleanor Powell in Broadway Melody of InAstaire left RKO to freelance and pursue new film opportunities, with mixed though generally successful outcomes. Throughout this period, Astaire continued to value the input of choreographic collaborators and, unlike the s when he worked almost exclusively with Hermes Pan, he tapped the talents of other choreographers in an effort to continually innovate.
His first post-Ginger dance partner was the redoubtable Eleanor Powell —considered the finest female tap-dancer of her generation—in Broadway Melody ofin which they performed a celebrated extended dance routine to Cole Porter's " Begin the Beguine. She really knocked out a tap dance in a class by herself. The former film is particularly remembered for his virtuoso solo dance to "Let's Say it with Firecrackers" while the latter film featured an innovative song and dance routine to a song indelibly associated with him: The first, You'll Never Get Richcatapulted Hayworth to stardom and provided Astaire his third on-screen opportunity to integrate Latin American dance idioms into his style the first being with Ginger Rogers in "The Carioca" number from Flying Down to Rio and the second, again with Rogers, was the "Dengozo" dance from The Story of Vernon and Irene Castletaking advantage of Hayworth's professional Latin dance pedigree.
He next appeared opposite the seventeen-year-old Joan Leslie in the wartime drama The Sky's the Limitin which he introduced Arlen and Mercer 's " One for My Baby " while dancing on a bar counter in a dark and troubled routine. This film, which was choreographed by Astaire alone and achieved modest box office success, represented an important departure for Astaire from his usual charming happy-go-lucky screen persona, and confused contemporary critics.
His next partner, Lucille Bremerwas featured in two lavish vehicles, both directed by Vincente Minnelli: While Follies was a hit, Yolanda bombed at the box office, and Astaire, ever insecure and believing his career was beginning to falter, surprised his audiences by announcing his retirement during the production of Blue Skiesnominating "Puttin' on the Ritz" as his farewell dance.
After announcing his retirement inAstaire concentrated on his horse-racing interests and in founded the Fred Astaire Dance Studioswhich he subsequently sold in While Three Little Words did quite well at the box office, Let's Dance was a financial disappointment.