Tuesday, February 17, 2009

They Can't Take That Away from Me

Shall We Dance is the seventh of the ten Astaire-Rogers musical comedy films. Astaire was not enthused by the proposal to blend ballet with popular dance, and it shows. Neither, it appears, was George Gershwin—who had become famous for blending jazz with classical forms—as he makes no reference to this concept in any of the songs. The extremely convoluted plot and the curious absence of a romantic partnered duet for Astaire and Rogers—a hallmark of their musicals since The Gay Divorcee (1934)—contributed to their least profitable picture to date—a clear indication that audiences might be tiring of the Astaire-Rogers' magic. Ginger, in particular, looks tired in the picture and had already requested a break from musicals.

Astaire often appears either dismissive or uncomfortable with the central ballet/popular dance idea. While he made further attempts—notably in Ziegfeld Follies (1944/46), Yolanda and the Thief (1945) and Daddy Long Legs (1955) it was his rival and friend Gene Kelly who would eventually succeed in creating a modern original dance style based on this concept. Some critics have attributed Astaire's discomfort with ballet (he briefly studied ballet in the 1920s) to his oft-expressed disdain for "inventing up to the arty". Nevertheless this film managed to produce another timeless musical number "They Can't Take That Away from Me."


"They Can't Take That Away from Me": The Gershwins' famous foxtrot, a serene, nostalgic declaration of love—one of their most enduring creations and one of George's personal favourites—is introduced by Astaire in one of the film's few genuinely touching and romantic moments. Rogers' reactions are a testimony to her considerable dramatic abilities. As with "The Way You Look Tonight" in Swing Time (1936), it was decided to reprise the melody as part of the film's dance finale. George Gershwin was unhappy about this, writing "They literally throw one or two songs away without any kind of plug". Astaire subsequently acknowledged the error, and finally put matters right in The Barkleys of Broadway (1949), his final reunion with Rogers, creating one of their most admired essays in romantic partnered dance, and it remains the only occasion on film when Astaire permitted himself to repeat a song he had performed in a previous film. George Gershwin died two months after the film's release, and he was posthumously nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song for this song at the 1937 Oscars.
Related Posts with Thumbnails

Who is the mysterious TCManiac?

First, I'll tell you who I am not. I am not affiliated with TCM. I am not some superbot created by software developers. I am not being paid by TCM or anyone else to dedicate my time to tweeting. I am a real flesh and blood human being. I am a real maniac for TCM. I really do keep my TV tuned to TCM 24-7. I created the TCManiacs twitter as a result of my sincere passion for watching Turner Classic Movies.

How I got started?
Well, I've been a fan of TCM since its inception. As I lay flat on my back recovering from a disabling health crisis unable to do little more than watch TV and surf the internet, I found refuge watching TCM round the clock. I soon developed an obsessive habit of keeping a browser tab open for the TCM schedule and beating Robert Osbourne's introductions to finding out facts for upcoming movies. My entire day and night became defined by the TCM line-up. At the beginning of 2009 I decided to check out twitter and lucked up on some fellow TCM fans to friend. During the 31 days Oscar I decided to dedicate a twitter just to share my TCM obsession by tweeting about every movie every day of February. I was totally overwhelmed by the number of fellow TCM maniacs that became my following. Its been a WIN WIN in everyway for me. I have had the opportunity to share fun stuff with some incredible fellow classic movie lovers and bloggers. With so many followers I became committed to maintaining the twitter schedule and finding fun stuff for upcoming TCM movies.
How may followers show appreciation?
As I mentioned before, I am not employed by anyone nor being paid for my time maintaining tweets and blog. However, you may express your appreciation for my labor of love by dropping a token of your appreciation in the hat. Simply click the Donate button below. Any amount your heart moves you to give no matter how small will be graciously accepted.
What you mean to me?
Even if you decide to skip tipping the hat, please take the time to comment or send a message with your thoughts and suggestions. Send ideas on more fun stuff you would like featured. Send me links to your own classic movie websites. I just want to hear from you! Let me know what sharing my little obsession is worth to you. Every follower is priceless to me!

Total Pageviews

Web Graphic Design by designables.net. Header background image compliments of MERiCG.DEViNART.com
 
View blog top tags