Davis, de Havilland, Flynn, Cagney, Bogart ...

Davis, de Havilland, Flynn, Cagney, Bogart ...

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Best 7 Minute, 49 Second Movie You'll Ever See


I intended to work on the next post in my series, Overlooked at the Oscars, Part 2 -- but I didn't feel like it.  That's all.  No good reason.  Just didn't.  (Ah, what a great example of pithy writing ...)  Actually, I am in a dreamy mood, and this little post fits the bill tonight.

So I went to YouTube and found my favorite 7 minute, 49 second film, "Let's Face the Music and Dance."  I call it that because it is a musical mini-drama which stands on its own within a movie.  You don't even have to watch the movie, which is good, because Follow The Fleet (1936) is not my favorite Astaire/Rogers plot.  It actually bores me to tears.  But oh, the song by Irving Berlin, the fabulous dance at the very end ...  It's worth sitting through the rest of the show, although thanks to modern technology (and YouTube poster, iumuggle *thanks!*), I don't have to.  As a devoted Rogers/Astaire fan, I believe without doubt that this is the best work they ever did.  That's hard to say, because "Cheek to Cheek" is so perfect; however, this is not just a dance.  It's a film equivalent of a short story, with their partnership at its greatest.  Pay attention at the beginning, because you will see a very young, platinum-blonde Lucille Ball.  We also get to see one of Ginger's most gorgeous gowns, a bugle-beaded treasure of a costume.  It's lovely, looks ethereal, and was so heavy that one of the sleeves whacked Fred across the face and really hurt!  My friend and fellow blogger, Christian of Silver Screen Modiste (see the link to his marvelous blog in my sidebar blogroll), mentioned in one of his articles about Hollywood gowns that the dress weighed about 30 pounds.  At this point in her life, Ginger doesn't look like she weighs a whole lot more than that!

I hope you have 7 minutes and 49 seconds to see the best at their best, with, I must say, the most sophisticated, dramatic exit of all the great dance endings they ever did!






Overlooked at the Oscars, Part 2 coming soon....

31 comments:

  1. OMG! A blond Lucy! She is the one leaning in Fred's right shoulder, isn't she?
    I haven't watched Follow the Fleet, but I love Irving Berlin's music. I recently watched Blue Skies and was mesmerized by Bing's voice and Fred's dance.
    I put the comment you sent me by e-mail and linked it to your blog, as a normal comment would do. Sometimes blogger is a little crazy!
    Kisses and happy New Year!

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    1. Yep, that's Lucy! Platinum is not her style! I agree that Irving Berlin was an amazing man, and Bing and Fred really did well with his songs. I'm glad you were able to put my comment on your Divas article! Happy New Year to you too!

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  2. Oh, Becky - this is my most favorite of all Fred & Ginger numbers. It really plays like a music video because it has absolutely nothing to do with the story of the movie. They had a great song and a great concept and just added it because it was too fabulous not to include. Have a very happy new year, my friend!

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    1. Chick, it doesn't surprise me a bit that this is your favorite, too. Fabulous is the word for it! I hope you have fun at the New Year holiday, and a wonderful 2013!

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  3. Becks I have to give a shout out to Mark Sandrich's direction, and David Abels camera work. I like this film, Heck a musical with Randy Scott has to count for something. Next time look for Betty Grable , and Tony Martin, both are in the film, and No I won't tell you where they are.

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    1. Good shout-out, Paul! The camera work for dancers is so challenging, and it was just perfect in this. Now don't have a cow, but I'm not much of a Randolph Scott fan -- there, I said it, and I'm not sorry! (I've never watched the film closely enough to see Betty or Tony. You are so mean not to tell me!) LOL!

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  4. I'm crazy about "Follow the Fleet". I like the down-to-earth characters Fred and Ginger play, and Harriet Hillard's Cinderella make-over and Astrid Allwyn and Lucy, and sailors, and "I'm Putting All My Eggs in One Basket" and, of course, that noirish dance at the finale. Oh, who am I kidding - I just plain think of it is a Randolph Scott movie!

    You provided the perfect clip for New Year's Eve. Let's make 2013 the best!

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  5. Oh CW, how you must have lifted your fists to the heavens and cursed me for my cavalier treatment of a Randolph Scott movie that you love! Gee, I feel terrible -- NOT! Muwahahaha!

    Happy New Year, woman -- I'm glad you liked this little piece.

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  6. One my all time favorite lines "You would do it for Randolph Scott .Randolph Scott"

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    1. Paul, I don't get the quote reference. What is that from?

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  7. This could be an overlooked by the Oscars entry, as Fred and Ginger just didn't receive the love that they should have from Oscar. While a handful of their films were nominated, so much wasn't. Oh well. This number is breathtaking, so thanks for sharing this!

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    1. Very good point, CFB! I didn't put it together, but you are so right about the Oscar thing. I'm glad you like this number as much as I do!

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  8. What You did not know thats from Blazing Saddles?

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    1. Oh good heavens! As a rabid Mel Brooks fan, I am covered in shame!

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  9. Well Becks, Shame is better than what you could be covered in (from another Mel Brooks Film. do I have to go any further?)

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    1. No, no, Paul! No need to go any further! I know just what you mean...LOL!

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  10. You could tell that to Fred that dance was effortless. You could see that Ginger had to really concentrate to get the moves right. He just makes it look so simple.

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  11. That look of effortlessness was Fred's trademark, but those dance numbers were anything but. Ginger always did seem to be concentrating more, perhaps because she usually looks downward when they do their big romantic numbers. I love the saying about her: "Everything he did, she had to do backwards and in high heels." I'm always surprised to see such a slender man strong enough to sling her around, pick her up, all of those moves, as if she were weightless.

    From what I read, they did 23 takes of this dance to try to overcome Ginger's heavy sleeve slapping Fred around. But then they ended up using the first one anyway, because it was the best. Ah, the movies!

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  12. Becky, see I would have always pegged you as a Randolph Scott fan. You learn something new every day. Anyway, the clip was a fine way to start the new year. A belated Happy New Year to you, your family and your readers.

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  13. Kevin, it could be that when I was a kid, the Randolph Scott movies I saw on TV were westerns, and I was never that big a fan. He certainly is good looking enough, no problem there! I'm glad you liked the clip, and I hope for a great 2013 for you and yours!

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  14. Becks, two films that may change your mind about Randolph Scott is My Favorite Wife with Irene Dunne and Cary Grant, and of course Ride The High Country. Both are well worth your time, and I know you'll love My Favorite Wife

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  15. I completely forgot about My Favorite Wife -- I do love it, and he was cute in it. OK guys, I'll look for Ride the High Country and watch it -- scout's honor!

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  16. Becks,
    This was a great find. The very beginning reminds me a bit of the musical score in Bringing Up Baby for some reason.

    It's hard to top Cheek to Cheek as you mentioned but this was a fun 7 minutes.
    Page

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    1. I just love this number, Page -- it's so romantic, original dancing, and that great ending -- real Astaire/Rogers drama! Cheek to Cheek always makes me cry a little bit by the end -- I guess it's just so beautiful, and that's my usual reaction.

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  17. Your better Becks. Questions about the film will be on the midterm. Besides it has an amazing performance by Joel Mc Crea( One of his best IMO) and a very young James Druy and Warren Oates.

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  18. I will -- I'll watch for it every month on TCM, and I promise I will keep my eyes on my own paper during the mid-term!

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  19. Thanks for highlighting this scene Becky - one of the glories of classic cinema. My great aunt made Ginger's gown - but Fred didn't like it because he would get slapped by the long, deep, and heavy bugle-beaded sleeves. But at least he didn't have to dance in this 40 pound gown. One has to pay for one's art.

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    1. Christian, you probably saw that I credited you with the little piece of info about the gown -- I didn't remember (or didn't realize) that your great-aunt made that gown! It was 40 pounds? That's 10 pounds worse than the 30 I thought it was! But you are so right -- it was worth it!

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  20. Thanks for the credit Becky. Gingers gown was made entirely of glass bugle beads, with the fur collar added. Because of the extra wide skirt bottom and wide sleeves, this added several hundred extra beads that likely made the gown closer to 40 lbs rather than 30. Ginger suffered for her art too.

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  22. Great old movies make great history. We can see clearly in a matter of minutes how sophisticated this movie is.

    Kelly of HomeTheater Austin


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