Dynamic Duo: Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly
Cyd Charisse, the leggy beauty whose balletic grace made her a memorable partner for Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly in classic MGM musicals. Over the years, Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly have been compared and contrasted endlessly. The dancers were featured together in. "There was Gene Kelly, there was Fred Astaire and I did dance with Baryshnikov and Nureyev for five minutes – or seven minutes actually – at.
He took her under his wing and encouraged her. Under his tutelage, Debbie succeeded in her dance numbers. Fred balked at first, but agreed to do the movie if he did not have to dance.
However, once they got together there was no stopping them from dancing.
Who's Greater: Fred Astaire Or Gene Kelly? | Here & Now
Gene would pick him up for dinner because Fred did not like to drive at night. For only the second time in their storied careers, the men danced together. Watching them dance together is like watching the end of an age. Fred Astaire died in He was a good, dear friend and a lovely man. Together the men achieved acclaim in their lifetimes and after. Eventually, he signed with David O. Selznickagreeing to go to Hollywood at the end of his commitment to Pal Joey, in October Prior to his contract, he also managed to fit in choreographing the stage production of Best Foot Forward.
Becoming established in Hollywood[ edit ] Gene Kelly dances with Jerry of Tom and Jerry in Anchors Aweighan iconic performance which changed at least one critic's opinion of Kelly's skills. Selznick sold half of Kelly's contract to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for his first motion picture: Kelly claimed to be "appalled at the sight of myself blown up twenty times.
I had an awful feeling that I was a tremendous flop. His first opportunity to dance to his own choreography came in his next picture, Thousands Cheerwhere he performed a mock-love dance with a mop. He achieved a significant breakthrough as a dancer on film when MGM loaned him to Columbia to work with Rita Hayworth in Cover Girla film that foreshadowed the best of his future work.
Despite this, noted critic Manny Farber was moved to praise Kelly's "attitude," "clarity," and "feeling" as an actor while inauspiciously concluding, "The two things he does least well—singing and dancing—are what he is given most consistently to do.
Naval Air Service and was commissioned as lieutenant, junior grade. He was stationed in the Photographic Section, Washington D. That iconic performance was enough for Farber to completely reverse his previous assessment of Kelly's skills. Reviewing the film, Farber enthused, "Kelly is the most exciting dancer to appear in Hollywood movies.
In Ziegfeld Follies —which was produced in but not released until —Kelly collaborated with Fred Astairefor whom he had the greatest admiration, in the famous "The Babbitt and the Bromide" challenge dance routine. Living in a Big Way. The film was considered so weak that the studio asked Kelly to design and insert a series of dance routines; they noticed his ability to carry out such assignments. This led to a lead part in his next picture, with Judy Garland and director Vincente Minnelli — a musical film version of S.
The Pirate gave full rein to Kelly's athleticism. It is also notable for Kelly's work with The Nicholas Brothers — the leading black dancers of their day — in a virtuoso dance routine. Now regarded as a classic, the film was ahead of its time but flopped at the box-office.
Leslie Caron and Kelly in the trailer for An American in Paris MGM wanted Kelly to return to safer and more commercial vehicles, but he ceaselessly fought for an opportunity to direct his own musical film. He was due to play the male lead opposite Garland in Easter Paradebut broke his ankle playing volleyball. He withdrew from the film and convinced Fred Astaire to come out of retirement to replace him.
This musical film persuaded Arthur Freed to have Kelly make On the Townin which he partnered with Frank Sinatra for the third and final time. A breakthrough in the musical film genre, it has been described as "the most inventive and effervescent musical thus far produced in Hollywood.
I needed one to watch my performance, and one to work with the cameraman on the timing When we came to do On the Town, I knew it was time for Stanley to get screen credit because we weren't boss—assistant anymore but co-creators. Kelly went much further than before in introducing modern ballet into his dance sequences, going so far in the "Day in New York" routine as to substitute four leading ballet specialists for Sinatra, Munshin, Garrett and Miller.
In real-life incidents upon which this film is based, it was the Mafianot the Black Hand, who functioned as the villain. Even inhowever, Hollywood had to tread gingerly whenever dealing with big-time crime, it being safer to go after a "dead" criminal organization than a "live" one.
In his book "Easy the Hard Way," Joe Pasternakhead of one of the other musical units within MGM, singled out Kelly for his patience and willingness to spend as much time as necessary to enable the ailing Garland to complete her part. Donald O'ConnorDebbie Reynolds and Kelly There followed in quick succession two musicals that secured Kelly's reputation as a major figure in the American musical film.
First, An American in Paris in and—probably the most popular and admired of all film musicals— Singin' in the Rain in As co-director, lead star, and choreographer, Kelly was the central driving force in both of these films.
Johnny Greenthe head of music at MGM at the time, said of him, Gene is easygoing as long as you know exactly what you are doing when you're working with him. He's a hard taskmaster and he loves hard work.
Gene Kelly - Wikipedia
If you want to play on his team you'd better like hard work, too. He isn't cruel but he is tough, and if Gene believed in something he didn't care who he was talking to, whether it was Louis B. Mayer or the gatekeeper. He wasn't awed by anybody, and he had a good record of getting what he wanted.
The film also marked the debut of nineteen-year-old ballerina Leslie Caronwhom Kelly had spotted in Paris and brought to Hollywood. Its dream ballet sequence, lasting an unprecedented seventeen minutes, was the most expensive production number ever filmed at that time.
Ziegfeld Follies: Only Collaboration of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly
Bosley Crowther described it as, " Though the film did not initially generate the same enthusiasm as An American in Paris had produced, it has subsequently overtaken the earlier film to occupy its current preeminent place among critics and filmgoers alike.
The decline of the Hollywood musical[ edit ] At the peak of his creative powers, Kelly made what in retrospect some see as a mistake. Only one of these pictures was a musical, Invitation to the Dancea pet project of Kelly's to bring modern ballet to mainstream film audiences. In July, he directed her in the Ziegfeld Follies, a variety show that included, among other numbers, an Esther Williams's water ballet, Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly's only dance number on film.
Unlike other directors, such as Mark Sandrich and George Stevens, who allowed Astaire to devise his own routines and photographed them as unobtrusively as possible, Minnelli shaped the Astaire material with his own imprint.
- Gene Kelly
- The dark side of Singin’ In The Rain star Gene Kelly
For better or worse, lost was the impromptu spontaneity of Astaire's RKO work. Despite being a new addition to the Freed Unit, Astaire was given four numbers in Ziegfeld Follies; the other performers got only one each.
The number was filmed in intriguing fashion: Rather than shooting the dance against a theatrical backdrop, Minnelli envelops Astaire in a dizzying three-dimensional swirl of sweeping camera movements.
The setting and Astaire redeem the number by performing the cart-wheeling, fan-flicking fantasy sequence with superb panache.
Astaires refusal to satirize the material lends a moving touch to the cardboard concept. Its the first and only screen collaboration with rival dancing ace Gene Kelly.
Bleeding feet and Gene Kelly's tongue: how Singin' in the Rain nearly broke Debbie Reynolds
Introduced by Astaire and his sister years earlier, in Funny Face, this vignette would have been more intriguing if it contrasted Kellys and Astaire's stylistic differences, pitting Kelly's muscular acrobatics against Astaire's elegant agility.
Instead, the duo merge styles for a spree of slapstick frivolity and light-hearted tap. Leaving the number to Astaire and Kelly, Minnelli was fascinated to watch how the two pro and competitors went about their jobs. He couldnt help but notice the cautious and guarded relationship between Kelly and Astaire. Minnelli regretted that Astaire and Kelly danced together only once, in Ziegfeld Follies. For his part, never working together again was both a shame and a loss for moviegoers.
Minnelli tried to interest both in a future project but it didn't work. Before Hollywood, Minnelli's innovation with scenic tints and textures had startled Broadway.FRED ASTAIRE Y GENE KELLY bailan y cantan juntos
Astaire's color debut in Ziegfeld Follies gave Minnelli a chance to use his palette to dazzling effect, but his obsession with dcor overwhelms the dances. Assigned to direct Astaire again in Yolanda and the Thief, Minnelli gladly morphed into pure Technicolor phantasmagoria. Though Edens is co-author, this delightfully wacky sketch bears the unmistakable stamp of Thompson, Judy's new mentor.