Tuesday, November 17, 2009

top hat, white tie, and tails

I was feeling a little guilty after that whole "ohhh I love Gene Kelly, he's the dancing man for me" debacle, so I'm here to re-claim my love for Fred Astaire and convince everyone else of it, too.

Born in 1899, Fred began working a show business at the age of 5 with his older sister Adele.
His first screen test noted, "Can't act. Can't sing. Slightly bald. Dances a little."
Honestly, I find Fred's extreme widow's peak and premature balding to be very sexy.
Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire co-starred in 10 movies together.

Top Hat is my personal favourite (and first) Fred Astaire film. The above scene shows Fred's true romantic side. Many of his films are about him falling in love with a girl who despises him. By the end, she's absolutely infatuated with the man (who can blame her?). This particular scene shows how put off Ginger is with Fred. By the end, you can see the love in her eyes. I know this is a long-ish clip, but you will not be disappointed if you watch it. The dancing is brilliant, the song is classic (Cheek to Cheek), and look at Ginger's dress!!

His ever so famous ceiling dance in Royal Wedding. Love makes you do strange, sometimes remarkable, things.
Such style! I wish more men dressed like him - that is proper gentleman garb.

I do not condone smoking. He just looks darn adorable (and a little more casual) here.

Fred recieved AFI's Lifetime Achievement Award in 1981. I've never actually watched this whole clip, but I find his sticky-out ears to be ridiculously endearing. (p.s. He looks less bald in his old age) Fred passed away from pneumonia on June 22, 1987, after a 76 year long career. He made 31 musical films and has been named the 5th greatest male star of all time by the American Film Institute.
Maybe you can now see why I'm so infatuated with this brilliant man. And maybe you feel yourself falling a bit, too? I highly recommend that everyone watch even just one Fred Astaire film. He's inspiring, charming, adorable, and heck, just worth your time.


monica burnett said...

these pictures are deliciously vintage!


lacee swan said...

what a fun post! tempted to curl up and watch old movies all day!

love the photo on your header. so pretty.

Faux Naif said...

yarr you commented on my blog like 32490 years ago and i'm only just getting back to you *virtual slap.* thanks for your nice words! oui oui oui, fred astaire! i know what you mean. i wish men like him never aged.

Anonymous said...

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fayeee said...

You've just brushed up my knowledge on Fred, I knew about him vagley but didn't know this much
and yes I agree, why can't all men groom theirselves like him?
thanks for commenting me, want to hear form you more!

Mary Em said...

I love Fred and Gene. I think they are two men that people don't know enough about, so thanks for sharing!

Chloe said...

Ahhh! Mr. Astaire here always makes me happy! Never fails. My holiday-season honestly isn't complete until my mom and I have 'ooohhhed and ahhhhed' over a Fred flick.


Mel said...

I love Fred Astaire! He's wonderful! Have you seen his films with Rita Hayworth? They're wonderful, especially You Were Never Lovelier. I heard Rita Hayworth was Fred's favorite dancing partner! Haha I read Ginger Roger's autobiography years ago, and I read that her ostrich dress in that scene from Top Hat was so annoying that feathers kept flying everywhere in the scene (you can see them on the floor and everything), and Fred kept getting mad because the feathers were flying in his face!

Melanie's Randomness said...

What a fabulous tribute. I love Fred Astaire & Gene Kelly. I love the "Dancing cheek to cheek" song. The coolest thing Astaire I think did was dance with the coat rack. He was so talented. Great post!!

Anie said...

I think I just fell in love <3