Fred astaire and ginger rogers relationship

Not such a fine romance - Telegraph

fred astaire and ginger rogers relationship

Astaire and Rogers by Edward Gallafent Columbia University Press, pp., $ THE PLACE of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers as the American BUT DESPITE their amicable relationship and the undeniable success of. POETRY IN MOTION Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers Off screen, as a new book reveals, it was a stormy relationship, beginning with a. but away from the cameras Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were a lot factor to the coolness of their relationship appears to be Fred's wife.

On screen they were immaculate, poetry in motion. We were only a couple on film.

fred astaire and ginger rogers relationship

Although he was a natural scene stealer, he was perfectly happy to be considered one of a duo as long as it was with his beloved sibling. Ginger Rogers was a poor substitute for Adele in his mind.

Ginger Rogers - The RKO Story #2 (Fred Astaire, Hermes Pan, Pandro Berman)

Katharine hepburn remarked that to the Fred and Ginger partnership, Ginger brought sex and Fred brought class. Yet after making their films they separated, never again to be reconciled as a professional dance partnership.

Their differences centred on personality, ego and ambition.

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers

Astaire was a dancer and a singer while Rogers was an actress who, in spite of her lack of professional training, could dance. Their heyday was I will not have it Leland. Miss Rogers, though, was not so keen. Indeed, when they made the ninth and last of their series of RKO films, inThe Story of Vernon and Irene Castle, about a pre-First World War dancing couple, Fred asked the real Irene Castle to use her influence to get someone else to play her part.

She did and the studio firmly turned her down. One contributing factor to the coolness of their relationship appears to be Fred's wife, Phyllis, who was to die of a brain tumour in She was distinctly jealous and resented Ginger's continual association with her husband. Nevertheless, Fred and Ginger were never linked romantically.

Mrs Astaire saw to that.

fred astaire and ginger rogers relationship

In fact, she seems to have successfully banned the idea of their ever kissing together on screen - except once. But that kiss was extended in slow motion to make it seem longer than it actually was. Such were the requirements of censorship in the s. That never stopped - he never got over the feeling that he was being forced into being a member of a team, which was the last thing in the world that he wanted.

Indeed, he was such a perfectionist that after doing 54 takes of one shot on the Castles film, the cleaner polishing the dance floor noticed a stream of red sticky liquid leading to where Ginger was sitting. It was from her blooded shoes, the results of burst blisters.

It was, she said, simply because she was as much of a perfectionist as he was. They could never tire me out.

fred astaire and ginger rogers relationship

The only time I ever stopped was when my hair was wet - dripping down my back. Very polite, but you'd think they had just met. After the years of association, the years of the closeness, you'd think there would be a real rapport.

As for Fred, "I never fought with any girls I worked with. Rogers only appeared in the film by chance, as a replacement for another actress who had dropped out to get married, and neither she nor Astaire was ever intended to have a starring role.

She was familiar to movie audiences by this time, having already appeared in 19 films, whereas Astaire, a star of the stage, had only appeared in one film which was released just a month before Rioin a relatively minor role.

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So it's not surprising that Rogers was billed above him. From then on they had equal top billing in all their films except Roberta where Irene Dunne was the top starthough Astaire's name always appeared first. Their first dance on screen for this movie Carioca was a real success. Why did they make the difference?

Not such a fine romance

The Carioca is not an outstanding dance by Astaire and Rogers standards, but it was a breath of fresh air in Before then, no really distinguished dancers had appeared on screen, and dance routines were clumsily filmed and directed - until Busby Berkeley came along and began to create his spectacular formations, which were really more to do with visual effect than choreography.

When Astaire and Rogers got up to dance The Carioca it was the first time movie audiences had seen anything like it - a man and a woman dancing together with style, elegance, humour, apparent spontaneity and obvious rapport. It's not surprising they were an instant hit.

fred astaire and ginger rogers relationship

Astaire et Rogers first meeting on screen To analyse their partnership, you have divided your book into thematic chapters instead of adopting the usual film-by-film approach, and you concentrate mainly on their acting together their complementaritytheir singing, and their dance duets - their playful and romantic duets. Their dancing together in these seven films represents only 50 minutes.

You said that "they were partners in romance". Hermes Pan declared that "There's never been the same electricity that has happened as when Fred and Ginger danced together". Can you develop this idea?

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First, let me stress that their complementarity - the rapport between Astaire and Rogers and the emotional richness of their on-screen relationship - is not limited to their acting together, it's a feature of their partnership as a whole, and especially their dance duets.

Yes, it's rather amazing that their dances represent such a small proportion of the time they appear on screen - usually just three duets in each film, of about two or three minutes each. Romance is the key to the relationship between Fred and Ginger, and it's this that distinguishes the series of seven films I focus on from the other three.

Some of their best duets are dances of courtship, in which Fred wins over a reluctant Ginger - for example Night and Day from The Gay Divorceeor Isn't This a Lovely Day from Top Hat - but most of them are romantic in essence, whether they're playful or more serious in mood. Astaire of course danced with a great many women after his partnership with Rogers ended, and some of them were extremely fine dancers, but they all lack to some degree the qualities that made Rogers such a perfect partner for him, and especially such a perfect partner in romance.

That electricity that Hermes Pan refers to stems partly from the wonderful rapport between Astaire and Rogers, but it's unique also because of all Astaire's partners Rogers was the most gifted dancing actress, able to convey quite brilliantly anything from mischievous humour to ecstatic joy to the deepest despair. Among the romantic duets, some of them are amazing.

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In Robertain Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, there is the famous gesture where Astaire cradles Rogers' head, in Carefreein Change Partners, you describe the particular moment where Astaire hypnotizes Rogers and you comment "they glide slowly across the floor, lost in each other. I think I've partly answered this in the previous question, but there is a lot more to be said about the romantic duets. They are supremely expressive, rich in emotional content and dramatic and romantic interest. The romantic duets are also, of course, set to some of the finest songs in the Hollywood musical, and we shouldn't underestimate the importance of the music, and the orchestral arrangements, to their success.

But a large part of their appeal is purely visual - Astaire and Rogers just look so beautiful dancing together in romantic mood, and you don't even need to hear the soundtrack to appreciate the superb visual spectacle.

When Astaire was able to take control of the filming of his dances, almost all the dances were filmed in one continuous shot. Why was this so important?

Previously, dances had been filmed with distracting cuts and clumsy devices such as inserted shots of dancers' feet. Astaire's choreography isn't just a matter of legs and feet - he uses the whole body, and so he insisted on showing the dancers in full figure, with a minimum of editing or shots from different angles to interrupt the continuity of the dance. The viewer is therefore able to concentrate on the dance and the dancers, with no distractions, and the visual and dramatic impact is immeasurably enhanced.