Sunday, May 10, 2009

Fred and Ginger

Several months ago, I scoured the web for every Astaire-Rogers dance I could find. Sure enough, I tracked them all down but within days of posting the videos were disappearing one by one. I resolved to restore these myself, by selecting the scenes I wanted, paring them down to the essentials, and posting them in the place of those deleted You Tube clips. Now the job is done, so I invite you all to revisit (or just plain visit) the Astaire-Rogers ouevre. If you don't feel you have enough time to watch very many, at least treat yourself to "Night and Day" - it's the third clip down, and is one of the sublime moments in musicals - indeed, in movies.

In other news, someone beat me to the punch and posted the 1987 Rankin-Bass Wind in the Willows on You Tube. For those curious enough to see the movie I discussed in February, you can watch the whole thing here. I will probably be putting up my own version eventually - the VHS tape which is missing a few scenes but contains all kinds of goodies in addition to the film itself, from claymation commercials to Donahue and Ralph Nader jamming with Muppets to TV cameos by Keenan Wynn and James Earl Jones.

7 comments:

manwithoutastar said...

Hey there,

I saw this post the first time round but just thought I'd leave a comment here to say that it's a monumental thing that you've done here- quite a treasure!

Ben.

MovieMan0283 said...

Glad you like it, Ben - it took a while but it was worth it (and much more satisfying than the original post).

Plus I got to screen-cap that great still which, if I'm not mistaken, is the first time I've done so for the blog. Harbinger of things to come...!

Sam Juliano said...

This is simply an astonishing project, and all of these numbers of course are priceless. Yes, Movie Man, NIGHT AND DAY is indeed one of the most sublime moments in musicals (and movies) ranking with the likes of "Isn't It Romantic?" from Mamoulian's LOVE ME TONIGHT and the title sequence in SINGIN IN THE RAIN among others. The dance component here is peerless, and we also have some of the greatest song numbers.

I just had a discussion a few days ago with a friend, and we tried to come up with the greatest 'songs' of the past hundred years, written directly for Broadway shows or films (combined). Although I hold steadfast to be belief that WEST SIDE STORY and SHOWBOAT are the two greatest musicals ever written, my choice for #1 is Jerome Kern's "All The Things You Are" (lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II) which was written for a 1939 show that was rather a flop, "Very Warm For May."

But unrealized at the time, was that the score yielded perhaps the most perfectly written and beautiful son in the annals of popular music.

Movie Man: Your sublime lineup here is a true show of passion! As a fello musical lover, I say "Kudos to you."

MovieMan0283 said...

Sam, thanks for the praise. Just yesterday I downloaded the Astaire/RKO version of "Night and Day" (the others just didn't come close to comparing). I do love music (Bergman considered movies his mistress and theatre his wife, sometimes I consider movies my wife and music my mistress, though if so I've been pretty faithful for the past few years, perhaps too faithful).

However, my knowledge and interest lies almost entirely with rock music, particularly of the 60s. One thing the Astaire-Rogers musicals have done is remind me of the joy of 30s songwriting and perhaps they will put me down the path of exploring in greater depth the annals of Gershwin, Porter, Berlin, et al.

Sam Juliano said...

hey Movie Man, you certainly could do far worse that 60's rock. I grew up with that, so I have an affinity as well. I'm sure we will have some interesting discussions on this common love in the future.

Dancinghotdogs said...

I love it. There is no one like Fred and Ginger. After watching that clip I want to start dancing.

Marilyn said...

You have done a great service. Thanks, MM!