Saturday, December 06, 2008

Watching Fred and Ginger in lieu of painting

Did you happen to watch "Swing Time" last night?

It and "Top Hat" are thought to be the twin peaks of the Astaire/Rogers partnership and although I only caught the end of it, I did replay the final dance number about eight times. The words absolutely stunning don't begin to do it justice. 47 takes, by the way, is how the legend goes.

This one came earlier in the film:



Manomanoman, to be able to paint like that.

A couple of items:

a) The best Astaire/Rogers numbers always begin with Ginger slightly befuddled or protesting in one way or another. Watching her, in the first fifteen or twenty seconds, transform herself from the unwilling participant into a partner who's every step the match for Big Fred is one of the great joys of life. For you obsessives, in this particular clip, this exact moment occurs at the :45 mark (exactly 20 seconds into the dancing part), when she hitches up her skirt for the first time, as if to say "Game on, Freddie." There's an unfortunate cut back to "Mr. Gordon" moments later, but from there on it's like drinking a Guiness Float. Possibly better.

b) Did you see the end of the number as they leap that fence and just keep walking out the door? That's how I leave the studio every night.

c) On a personal note, Ginger Rogers is why I think I dream in black and white.

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