Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers – Never Gonna Dance

An evening pause: We’ve had a lot of 1970s pop songs and dance recently. Here’s an example of one of the greatest movie dance numbers, from the 1936 movie Swing Time. Note how smooth and ballet-like it is, unlike the staccato and gymnastic styles that began to dominate dance after the 1960s.

Note also the remarkable lack of cuts. The dance is performed with only one cut, which means Astaire and Rogers had to get it perfect, the whole way through each of these two shots. It took 47 takes before they succeeded.

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

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.