Easter Parade, The Band Wagon, Royal Wedding… what’s your favourite Fred Astaire movie? As someone who has made a career, in part, by singing the songs he brought to the screen, I thought it was about time I sat down and watched some of them.
Fred and Ginger’s first movie together was 1933’s Flying Down To Rio, followed by The Gay Divorcee, Roberta, and Top Hat, which is a hoot. Today, I watched Carefree which is remembered for Irving Berlin’s beautiful Change Partners and Fred’s clever golf routine which took him two weeks to rehearse.
Although I wish there was more dancing, it is a lovely movie, and interesting to see a few plot lines which probably wouldn’t make the cut these days. For example, when Fred’s wondering how to sedate Ginger, it’s agreed he should “smack her in the chops”. This is shortly after she goes on the rampage with a double-barrelled shot gun, trying to kill Fred and barely missing bystanders. Fred saves the day by telling a semi-conscious Ginger that he loves her, so they get married, jilting her fiancee, who also happens to be Fred’s best friend. Nice. We don’t know what happens to him, but who cares, when Fred and Ginger are smiling, arm in arm down the aisle?
Next on the list is The Sky’s The Limit, which includes One For My Baby, a song which Sinatra made his own, but like so many standards, was written for and introduced by Fred Astaire. You can get some lovely insights into Fred Astaire’s life with this interview I did with his daughter, Ava.
So, what’s your favourite Fred Astaire movie? Any recommendations?