Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse in Central Park … bringing back graceful dance.

This is an extract from the film The Band Wagon (1953). Notice how the music starts way before the couple begins dancing, and even then, they don’t make contact until over a minute and a half into the song. The anticipation and gracefulness is absolutely stunning and reminds me, yet again, why I love Classical Hollywood Musicals.

P.S. If you want to get into film studies and this topic in particular… you MUST check out Rick Altman’s book The American Film Musical.

“Filmed dance is doubly difficult to evoke in words, for Hollywood’s directors have become unusually adept at making the camera dance along with the actors.” (Altman, 40)

Ginger ‘Snap’ Rogers – the feisty blonde of Classical Hollywood.

This is a short extract from Stage Door (Gregory La Cava, 1937) featuring Ginger Rogers and Katharine Hepburn. I’ve developed an obsession with Rogers: she dances with Fred Astaire, she banters with Hepburn, and she exudes a beauty beyond her platinum blonde hair. I’m a fan of fast, witty dialogue – especially when delivered by great actresses.

If you’ve never seen her films, here are some personal recommendations, from me to you:

42nd Street (1933)
Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)
Top Hat (1935)
Shall We Dance (1936)
Kitty Foyle (1940)
The Major and the Minor (1942)
Monkey Business (1952)

“Sure [Fred Astaire] was great, but don’t forget Ginger Rogers did everything he did backwards…and in high heels!” — Bob Thaves 1982 © NEA Inc.

PLUS, She also has her own website: www.gingerrogers.com