Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Astaire & Rogers in the 30's

Definitely one of the best dance teams ever to grace the silver screen. Fred Astaire started dancing in the early 1900s as kid on stage and Vaudeville and made his first movie in 1933 where he had a small role. The movie was Dancing Lady starring Clark Gable and Joan Crawford. Ginger Rogers made her first appearance in a 1929 short movie then made feature Pre-Code movies with Warner Brothers Pictures such as 42nd Street and Gold Diggers of 1933. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers made their first pairing in a movie in 1933, Flying Down to Rio. In Flying Down to Rio Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers had a supporting role, but was in the movie good enough, the main star was Dolores Del Rio. In 1934 Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers made the musical movie The Gay Divorcee which co-starred Edward Everett Horton, it was their first starring role in a movie, the movie also featured the Cole Porter classic song Night and Day. The song The Continetal was too a big hit song from the movie and was also the first song to win the Academy Award for Best Original Song in the 1935 Academy Awards Ceremony for 1934.

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers made two movies in 1935 Roberta which featured the song I Won't Dance and Top Hat which also co-starred comedian Edward Everett Horton. In Roberta, Fred and Ginger had a supporting role with Irene Dunne starring. In Top Hat, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers had a starring role. The whole movie had a Irving Berlin musical score with all new songs for the time. The most famous number in Top Hat is the Cheek to Cheek song and dance. It was also the first profitable movie RKO Radio Pictures made in the 1930s.

By 1936 Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were big box office names. That year they made another 2 movies together: Swing Time and Follow the Fleet which were both hits. Swing Time is the movie that introduced the song The Way You Look Tonight where Fred Astaire sang the song to Ginger Rogers. The stair dance scene was very hard for Fred and Ginger to get right the first time and took them a number of times to film which was the case in some of their movies. The big thing about Follow the Fleet was that it had a Irving Berlin music score (Irving Berlin was uncredited for writing music for this film for some reason). Follow the Fleet was also a appealing movie to most audiences like Swing Time.

1937 for Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers featured only one movie that year Shall We Dance which co-starred Edward Everett Horton. That was also a good movie to most audiences. Shall We Dance featured the song They Can't Take That Away From Me which, like many of the songs Fred and Ginger sang in their movies, became a big hit. The end of Shall We Dance featured a big musical stage show like lots of musicals at the time.

In 1938 like 1937 Fred and Ginger only made one movie together that year, Carefree. Carefree was originally going to be shot in color by Technicolor, but screen tests in color weren't successful, so that was out and they would just film Carefree in regular black and white, but eleven years later Fred and Ginger would make The Barkleys of Broadway a M-G-M color (Technicolor) musical. This movie also had a Irving Berlin musical score with only 4 songs, the least songs any Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movie had. Fred Astaire had refused to sing the song Yam because he thought it was silly so Ginger Rogers would sing the song and Fred danced with her.

In 1939 what is to be considered Hollywood's greatest Year Fred and Ginger only made one movie that year, The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle. This movie was a musical biography of ballroom dancers Vernon and Irene Castle. The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle was Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers last movie movie with RKO Radio Pictures and their last movie they would make with each other in ten years for the reason that Ginger Rogers wanted more Dramatic roles in movies. So Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers went their own way for ten years.

1 comment:

  1. Monty, Awesome review!!! Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, were magical together!!