Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers – They Can’t Take That Away From Me


Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

 
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"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs." --San Antonio Express-News

An evening pause: Another movie pause tonight, this time showing the films themselves. This clip includes two performances of this song, from two different Astaire & Rogers films. The first, from Shall We Dance? (1937), has Astaire singing the song, knowing that the Rogers character is leaving him. Of course she ends up not going.

The second clip is from The Barkleys of Broadway (1949), their last film together and done after a split of ten years. They knew then this would be their last film, and now the words have a meaning far greater than the story in the film. When they exit at the end of this song, they know it is pretty much for the last time.

Hat tip to Phil Berardelli, author of Phil’s Favorite 500: Loves of a Moviegoing Lifetime.

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7 comments

  • Phil Berardelli

    Nicely expressed, Bob. Thanks for posting. BTW, Astaire and Rogers did dance publicly one more time. It was 18 years later at the Oscars. Though very brief, you could tell the audience was thrilled. As Frank Sinatra once said, “You know, you can wait around and hope, but I tell ya, you’ll never see the likes of this again.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y86Thi6-gBU

  • Col Beausabre

    One best ones I ever heard was “Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did – wearing high heels and going backwards”

  • Col Beausabre: When I watch them dance, it always to her I am drawn. He is great, but together she is better.

  • Edward

    Ginger Rogers made a lot of films without Fred Astaire. She was a marvelous actress as well as dancer.

    Robert,
    In dance, the primary job of the man is to make the woman shine. She is the show, and his job is to show her off. Astaire was great because he made sure that his partners were better.

    He also preferred long shots so that audiences could see that the dancing was real rather than being little snippets of dancing between rest breaks.

    Col Beausabre,
    It is a good saying, but the truth is that the majority of Rogers’s dancing with Astaire was side by side. She shined better that way.

    The real work for Astaire’s partners was in the practice and rehearsals, producing plenty of blood, sweat, tears, and blisters.

  • Phil Berardelli

    Sometime, maybe track down the “Never Gonna Dance” number from “Swing Time.” Notice that when Rogers and Astaire reach the top of the stairs there’s a cut, with the new shot showing them complete the number in spectacular fashion. That’s because it took them 47 takes to complete that part of the routine. The shooting continued well into the night. By the 46th take, the crew was exhausted and Rogers’s feet were bleeding out of her shoes. The director wanted to shut down for the night, but Rogers insisted on trying one more time. They went for take 47, she nailed the routine, and as the couple exited the scene everyone on the set broke into applause and cheers. If for nothing else, Ginger Rogers should be remembered forever for that minute of screen time.

  • mivenho

    I didn’t realize that Fred Astaire could sing that well.

    And that dance routine was magic.

  • Edward

    mivenho,
    Astaire apparently surprised a lot of people at the studio. His first screen test did not go well, and his evaluation did not reflect his true talents.

    https://quoteinvestigator.com/2014/08/07/bald/
    Can’t act. Can’t sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.

    Well, a full head of hair isn’t exactly a talent.

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