Ciné-club : An interview with Hannah Hyam about her book "Fred and Ginger" par Patricia Guinot
Ginger Rogers was an American actress, dancer, and singer. . Rogers was known for her partnership with Fred Astaire. This was personally grating to her and had effects upon her relationships at RKO, especially with director Mark Sandrich, whose purported. Their unique on-screen and offscreen relationship. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers don't just dance in Top Hat's famous “Cheek to Cheek” ta Olden, Ginger's former live-in personal assistant, exclusively tells Closer. In "Ginger: My Story," Miss Rogers describes her films with Astaire as Revelations about her personal life are guarded, and the prose is plain and direct , Harold Ross, Mervyn LeRoy, Fred Astaire (one date in New York in the Because Miss Rogers is so determined to discuss these relationships with.
She was also the perfect height and build for him, unlike some of his later partners. In her autobiography, Rogers said: So they always cried.
No no, Ginger never cried. Ginger Rogers was a feisty woman, on and off the screen, and she wasn't afraid of hard work. She loved rehearsing, and could cope with anything and everything Astaire demanded of her. She was most unlikely to burst into tears in any situation! The way she also uses her own body, her dresses and so on, in their duets.
Fred and Ginger: The truth
It's one of my favourite themes! Rogers' dresses are a vital part of the visual appeal and impact of their romantic duets, and she uses them with great skill and imagination. Look at the dress she wears for the Waltz in Swing Time, with its layer upon layer of frills, and watch the way she twirls it around as they dance. It's like a third partner, creating shapes that are as important to the impact of the dance as the choreography itself.
Or watch how she transforms the gorgeous black gown she wears for Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: She knew exactly how to make the most of her costumes for whichever dance they were performing.
You mentioned the songs earlier, and you devote a whole chapter to them. Can you explain why you think they deserve so much attention? As I said, the songs in these films, by some of the top composers of the day - Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin - are among the finest in the Hollywood musical, and indeed among the finest songs ever written.
Many of them have become classics, and most of them were introduced by Astaire. He was an outstandingly fine singer, so much so that Irving Berlin said he would rather have his songs introduced by Astaire than by any other singer, because 'he can put over a song like nobody else'. It wasn't that he had an outstanding voice, but he had a great musicality, and his delivery and diction were exemplary, perfectly suited to musical film where the songs are an integral part of the action and virtually an extension of speech.
She was also a fine singing actress in her own right, able to deliver a song such as 'The Yam', from Carefreewith great style, and she was a perfect match for Astaire in the duets they sing together.
According to you, why did she accept another film with Astaire, The Barkleys of Broadway, inso long after their last film together in the s?
After 10 years, it was risky for her, she had not danced for many years We have Rogers' own word on the subject - she says in her autobiography that she was delighted to be offered the opportunity to do another film with Astaire. She had always loved working with him, and while it wasn't the easiest thing for her to get back into her dancing shoes after 10 years she welcomed the challenge.
As she says, "it felt good to be putting myself through these rigorous activities. I began to feel like I could jump to the moon. Moreover, Stephen Harvey, in his book on Astaire, comments: The self-conscious drive with which Astaire often attacked his lines disappears here, as Fred and Ginger blend with and interrupt each other with a seamless intimacy that is heartwarming to witness.
I agree about the innate understanding and seamless intimacy, but I don't know what Harvey means by Astaire's "self-conscious drive" in earlier films. His acting is entirely natural and unaffected in his films with Rogers in the s - Swing Time and The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle are particularly fine examples. You must have spent months and years analysing all their films?
What is your favourite number? Astaire's dance partner was Petula Clarkwho played his character's skeptical daughter. He described himself as nervous about singing with her, while she said she was worried about dancing with him. The film was a modest success both at the box office and among critics. Astaire continued to act in the s, appearing on television as the father of Robert Wagner 's character, Alexander Mundy, in It Takes a Thief and in such films as The Towering Infernoin which he danced with Jennifer Jones and for which he received his only Academy Award nomination, in the category of Best Supporting Actor.
Astaire also appeared in the first two That's Entertainment! In the second compilation, aged seventy-six, he performed brief dance linking sequences with Kelly, his last dance performances in a musical film.
Fred Astaire played Dr. Inhe co-starred with Helen Hayes in a well received television film A Family Upside Down in which they played an elderly couple coping with failing health.
Astaire won an Emmy Award for his performance. He made a well publicized guest appearance on the science-fiction television series Battlestar Galactica inas Chameleon, the possible father of Starbuckin "The Man with Nine Lives," a role written for him by Donald P.
Astaire asked his agent to obtain a role for him on Galactica because of his grandchildren's interest in the series. This episode marked the final time that he danced on screen. His final film role was the adaptation of Peter Straub 's novel Ghost Story. This horror film was also the last for two of his most prominent castmates, Melvyn Douglas and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
Working methods and influence on filmed dance[ edit ] Further information: Fred Astaire's solo and partnered dances Astaire dancing on the walls and ceiling for "You're All the World to Me"  from Royal Wedding Astaire was a virtuoso dancer, able to convey light-hearted venturesomeness or deep emotion when called for.
His technical control and sense of rhythm were astonishing. Long after the photography for the solo dance number "I Want to Be a Dancin' Man" was completed for the feature The Belle of New York, it was decided that Astaire's humble costume and the threadbare stage set were inadequate and the entire sequence was reshot. The documentary That's Entertainment!
III shows the two performances side-by-side in split screen. Frame for frame, the two performances are absolutely identical, down to the subtlest gesture.
Astaire's execution of a dance routine was prized for its elegance, grace, originality, and precision. He drew from a variety of influences, including tap and other black rhythms, classical dance, and the elevated style of Vernon and Irene Castle to create a uniquely recognizable dance style which greatly influenced the American Smooth style of ballroom dance and set standards against which subsequent film dance musicals would be judged.
He termed his eclectic approach his "outlaw style," an unpredictable and instinctive blending of personal artistry.
His dances are economical yet endlessly nuanced. As Jerome Robbins stated, "Astaire's dancing looks so simple, so disarming, so easy, yet the understructure, the way he sets the steps on, over or against the music, is so surprising and inventive. Working out the steps is a very complicated process—something like writing music.
You have to think of some step that flows into the next one, and the whole dance must have an integrated pattern. If the dance is right, there shouldn't be a single superfluous movement.
It should build to a climax and stop! This is particularly true in the case of his principal collaborator, Hermes Panbut given the consistency of Astaire's dance style in subsequent films made with or without the assistance of Pan, and the fact that he choreographed all the routines during his Broadway career with his sister Adele, dance historian John Mueller is of the opinion that Astaire acted as lead choreographer in his solos and partnered dances throughout his career. Later in his career he became a little more amenable to accepting the direction of his collaborators, however this was almost always confined to the area of extended fantasy sequences, or "dream ballets".
Occasionally Astaire took joint screen credit for choreography or "dance direction" as it was known in the s and s but, as was the custom in musical films of the period, he generally left the screen credit to his collaborator. This can lead to the completely misleading impression that Astaire merely performed the choreography of others.
Later in life he admitted: They would spend weeks creating all the dance sequences in a secluded rehearsal space before filming would begin, working with a rehearsal pianist often the composer Hal Borne who in turn would communicate modifications to the musical orchestrators. His perfectionism was legendary; however, his relentless insistence on rehearsals and retakes was a burden to some. When time approached for the shooting of a number, Astaire would rehearse for another two weeks and record the singing and music.
With all the preparation completed, the actual shooting would go quickly, conserving costs.
Hollywood love story: The six-year secret of Ginger and Fred - Times Of Oman
Astaire agonized during the process, frequently asking colleagues for acceptance for his work. As Vincente Minnelli stated, "He lacks confidence to the most enormous degree of all the people in the world. He will not even go to see his rushes He always thinks he is no good. I think she must have realised the impact that stare was having and decided that some explanation was required. The lady had to come first, and she felt it perfectly reasonable that "Mr Astaire", as Ginger referred to him throughout our chat, gave way to her demands.
Needless to say, that was not how Fred saw it. He was the one in charge.
- Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers
- Ginger Rogers
- Fred Astaire
He worked on the routines as though he were planning a military operation. Every step that he intended to take was mapped out on paper by him in advance, and then on a blackboard. The battle was won when he swept her into his arms in a final triumphant surrender. Indeed, that was the way their films were, too - he stalks her out, she runs away, he runs after her, she ultimately melts.
The truth was, she resented it. What she wanted to do, she told me, was her own thing - and preferably in high dramas, such as Kitty Foyle, in which she played to the horror of her fans, more used to seeing her in those flowing white dresses an unmarried mother - and won an Oscar for her trouble.
When the time came to separate, Fred was as delighted as she was. It would help, he thought, to remove from the popular image the notion of their togetherness. But by then, everyone thought of them as that partnership, or even worse a "team".
His first regular partner had been his sister Adele, with whom he went to dancing classes. She was a year older. Together, they became the toast of both Broadway and London's West End. His first film was Dancing Lady, in which he had just a minute spot dancing with Joan Crawford. But already, RKO were planning a picture for the new "team" they were about to introduce to the world.
It was such a success that the studio immediately wanted a whole series with the two of them.