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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

THE BEST DANCE SEQUENCE EVER?

I had a showing of my apartment this afternoon.  On this hump Wednesday, I thought I'd then go to "Anchorman:  The Legend Continues," for that flick kind of reminds me of a camel.  Over the top?  Certainly.  An insult on your intelligence?  Probably.  You can come up with a thousand similar comparisons.  Rotten Tomatoes had Anchorman 2 at 77% reviewer and 81% audience ratings.   However, I just happened to finish reading the newspaper, and noticed that "Broadway Melody of 1940" was soon to show on TCM, at home, for free.  Plus, I was born in 1940.

Wasn't this the movie that some critics have said had the best dance sequence ever in the history of films?  Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell with Cole Porter's "Begin the Beguine."  Here is an 11 minute clip.  I opened a bottle of Stanford Alumni Brutocao Chardonnay, which just arrived, had most of it with an artichoke, a bit of foie gras, some Castello blue cheese, Bugles, endive and radicchio.  Go ahead, click on that clip, go to full screen and turn up the volume.  It never seems to end, thankfully.  This will be the best eleven minutes of your day.

Eleanor Powell was in Broadway Melodies of 1935, 1936 and 1938, and the 1939 Honolulu, where she danced a hula.  Well, here are Astaire and Powell, the first and last time they danced together in a movie (B the B first sung by mezzo-soprano Lois Hodnott, and later by The Music Maids):


She held her own with him...and more.  Some say they never danced again because of Astaire's ego.  Also, too, Eleanor Powell married actor Glenn Ford in 1943, and, well, retired.  Here is a Tribute to Fred Astaire in 1981, 41 years later, with Eleanor Powell.

Returning to the movie, this is one of those dance routines that never ended.  At the finish there was to-be-U.S. Senator George Murphy to the left below joining them.  He pre-dated Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger in national politics.  You kind of have to see the movie to appreciate this finale.


Followed on TCM was the 1948 Easter Parade with Fred Astaire and Judy Garland, perhaps the best musical ever made featuring 17 songs by Irving Berlin.  However that will be for another day.

Yes, retirement can be enjoyable.

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