Forum: Arts / Poetry

By RonPrice
On Thu Dec 16, 2010 08:43 PM
Edited by RonPrice (229147) on 2010-12-16 20:44:17 to add some words

Ginger Rogers reached her apogee in the film Swing Time.1 By now she had a dancer’s body as beautiful as any the screen has ever seen. The glimpses of her legs, with her calf-length skirts flying as they tap in “Pick Yourself Up,” are enough to make you gasp. Her spine can now arch and bend in many ways, all apparently full of feeling; the slenderness of her waist is always ravishing. The history of dance on film begins, some say, with Ginger Rogers and, of course, her partner, Fred Astaire.

Swing Time is considered by many aficionados of dance on film to be Astaire and Rogers' best dance musical featuring, as it did, four dance routines that are each regarded as masterpieces of their kind. "Never Gonna Dance" is often singled out as this partnership's most profound achievement in filmed dance; "The Way You Look Tonight” won the Academy Award for Best Original Song and went on to become Astaire's most successful hit record. In 1936 it was first in the U.S. charts. Their partnership, it is said, never again quite regained the creative heights scaled in this and previous films. The film, Swing Time, was released at the end of August 1936 and was popular throughout 1937.

Astaire and Rogers made ten films together including: The Gay Divorcee (1934), Roberta(1935), Top Hat(1935), Follow the Fleet(1936), Swing Time(1936), Shall We Dance (1937), and Carefree(1938). Six out of the nine Astaire-Rogers musicals became the biggest money-makers for the movie studio, RKO records. All of their films brought a certain prestige and artistry that all studios coveted at the time. Their partnership elevated them both to stardom. As Katharine Hepburn reportedly said, "He gives her class and she gives him sex."--Ron Price with thanks to 1Wikipedia.

Her ordinariness and spontaneity
made her attractive as she and he
became divinities, epitomizing as
they did: glamour and love, dance
and impulsive rapture…depth and
complexity---and just as humanity
was entering the outer fringes of the
most perilous stage of its existence2
and as an immense field beckoned
a few to gigantic tasks and sacred
obligations in a most holy enterprize.3

2 By 1936/7 the world was indeed gearing-up for another war “to end all wars,” WW2.
3 Shoghi Effendi, Messages to America: 1932-1946, Wilmette, 1947, p.8.

Ron Price
17 December 2010
Posted At:

(1) In 1999 Swing Time was one of Entertainment Weekly’s top 100 films. In 2004 it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". In the new America Film Industry's 100 Years…..100 Movies, 10th Anniversary Edition, it has been added at #90.


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