A strange book. Large format like the kind of book you would give to children but the language of the author is quite complex; he also doesn’t hold back on his opinions.Whizzes through Astaire’s career at lightning speed. Lots of black and white photos. The quality of the book seems somewhat dated now. Contains extensive listings of all of his stage shows, films and audio recordings.

Your reading activity
Dates 31 May 2013 – 25 June 2013
Time spent reading 3 hours, 44 minutes
Highlights 6
Comments 2
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The scripts were still feeble–the most perceptive and profound of all Astaire’s critics, Arlene Croce, has said of the dialogue in The Gay Divorcee that it gives the impression that ‘the two stars have somehow fallen among a gang of mental incompetents’

‘where Astaire achieved dance films with stories, Gene Kelly made story films with dances.’

It turns out to represent, more or less, the plot of every one of the Astaire–Rogers pictures. He falls for her; she is indifferent or even hostile; he convinces her of his sincerity/attractions/affections by dancing her dizzy; she is beguiled by the sweetness of the partnership; true love dawns; end of picture.

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

I think the author is overlooking the Story of Vernon and Irene Castle...

In Top Hat all the classic lineaments of the Fred-and-Ginger charade are mustered; in later pictures certain elements might be improved, but never was the sum of the parts to add up to so sublime a whole.

He has described how one day in 1948 he was at home playing a recording by Lionel Hampton of ‘Jack the Bellboy’ and knocking himself out when the thought suddenly occurred to him that he ‘might as well be doing this someplace where it counts’.

Andrew Doran Andrew Doran

Doing what?! Lost in translation, I suspect!

Fred is not what you’d call the most sociable person. He doesn’t have a big circle of friends, and he hates to go to parties, big parties. It’s considered the social feat of the year to get Astaire to come to a party. And sometimes he gets roped in and complains no end about it. If he goes to a party and some woman asks to dance with him, he is very kind and polite, but it kills him inside. He could die.