Tag Archives: Fred Astaire

The Band Wagon: Now That’s Entertainment

GET ABOARD! As a kid, I remember being fascinated by the video for Michael Jackson’s ”Smooth Criminal”, released in 1988. Set in a dark and smoky bar, it has the star dressed in a white suit with a blue shirt and white tie squaring off with bad guys and dangerous dames; carefully choreographed, the video … Continue reading The Band Wagon: Now That’s Entertainment

Stanley Donen, 1924–2019

In the clip above, from the 1998 Oscars, Martin Scorsese presents that year’s winner of the Honorary Academy Award, Stanley Donen. There’s a lovely montage featuring some of the best scenes from Donen’s movies and then the man himself steps out, receives his Oscar and goes on to sing and dance! One of the best … Continue reading Stanley Donen, 1924–2019

My 12 Favorite Christmas Movies

We’re one week away from Christmas and everybody’s making lists of their favorite movies. As always, some are debating whether or not Die Hard belongs on the list. Don’t be silly, of course it does. What says Christmas more than “Now I have a machine gun, ho, ho ho”…? Here are my 12 favorites, a mix … Continue reading My 12 Favorite Christmas Movies

Holiday Inn: Where the Treetops Glisten

Contemporary viewers might find it curious to see the Fourth of July segment of this musical turn into a full-blown salute to every branch of America’s armed forces, highlighted by a loving picture of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Considering the lightweight, romantic story, it might seem completely out of place. Holiday Inn was released in … Continue reading Holiday Inn: Where the Treetops Glisten

Ziegfeld Follies

FLASHING…. SMASHING SCREEN ENTERTAINMENT! DAZZLING IN ITS BEAUTY… PACKED WITH GLORIOUS MELODIES! The king of Broadway, “the glorifier of the American girl”, Florenz Ziegfeld (William Powell) is getting bored up in heaven and conjures one last, grand “Follies” show. Powell repeated his acclaimed performance from The Great Ziegfeld (1936) in a brief intro – the … Continue reading Ziegfeld Follies

The Towering Inferno

ONE TINY SPARK BECOMES A NIGHT OF BLAZING SUSPENSE. Architect Doug Roberts (Paul Newman) arrives at the opening party of a new 138-story building in San Francisco, but parts of it are poorly constructed and when a fire breaks out the party becomes a death trap. Along with The Poseidon Adventure (1972), this is the most cherished disaster … Continue reading The Towering Inferno

Follow the Fleet: Facing the Music

FUN ABOARD! Director Mark Sandrich and stars Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers had a marvelous hit with Top Hat the previous year. Of course, RKO wanted more of that and the search for new material was on. However, the filmmakers eventually decided to bring back something that had already been done as a silent picture … Continue reading Follow the Fleet: Facing the Music

The Gay Divorcee: Happy to Be Rid of You

THE KING AND QUEEN OF “CARIOCA”! “The Gay Divorce” became a Broadway hit, but once it was time for the film adaptation the folks behind the Production Code (enforced for the first time that same year) objected. There could be people who were happy to get a divorce, they reasoned, that was acceptable… but labeling … Continue reading The Gay Divorcee: Happy to Be Rid of You

Swing Time: The Way It Still Looks

AMERICA’S DAZZLING DANCING STARS EXPLODE IN A GLORIOUS SONGBURST OF GAIETY AND GLADNESS! When Barack Obama delivered his Inauguration Address on January 20th, 2009, he emphasized the need to “pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off”, an obvious reference to the current economic crisis. The line was actually lifted from a Depression-era song, “Pick Yourself Up”, … Continue reading Swing Time: The Way It Still Looks

Top Hat: Getting Caught in the Rain

THEY’RE DANCING CHEEK-TO-CHEEK AGAIN! There was a time in the mid-30s when director Mark Sandrich and the star combo of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers simply owned the genre of musicals. They delivered the best movies, the grandest entertainment. And none of their collaborations were greater than Top Hat. Only Mutiny on the Bounty made … Continue reading Top Hat: Getting Caught in the Rain

Silk Stockings

Nina Yosjenko (Cyd Charisse), a super-strict Russian spy, is sent to Paris to convince a composer to go back home, but movie producer Steve Canfield (Fred Astaire) needs him and tries to charm the agent. Garbo classic Ninotchka (1939) gets its musical treatment, just like The Philadelphia Story was turned into High Society (1956). One of the last Astaire musicals but still … Continue reading Silk Stockings

That’s Entertainment, Part 2

The last film Gene Kelly directed was this sequel to That’s Entertainment! (1974). A few welcome changes to the concept have been made. The hosts have been reduced to only two – Fred Astaire and Kelly, the “aristocrat” and “proletarian” of Hollywood musicals. They do a lovely job and are also given the chance to prove that … Continue reading That’s Entertainment, Part 2

That’s Entertainment!

BOY! DO WE NEED IT NOW! A popular compilation of memorable clips from nearly one hundred MGM musicals, which serves the purpose of celebrating the studio’s 50th anniversary. No other studio in Hollywood managed to make musicals this good, which means this is a peek at the very best Tinseltown has to offer in the … Continue reading That’s Entertainment!