Astaire and Rogers

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Author: Edward Gallafent

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Hard Cover

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers endure in the American imagination. The charm and grace of their dancing in the ten films they made together, including Top Hat and Swing Time, elicit nostalgia today. Most books about the Astaire-Rogers films focus exclusively on the music and dance scenes, but this book shows that the films are much more than the sum of those scenes, which after all only account for approximately one-third of their films' running times. Gallafent argues that, contrary to received opinion, the musical numbers are not discrete, generic moments dropped in to enliven the films. Instead, the music and dance routines advance the movies' themes. Gallafent shows how dialogue, plotting, and the audience's perception of this striking professional couple affect the context, and thus meaning, for the song and dance routines. The book examines how the Astaire-Rogers musicals, which were produced and originally viewed as a series, relate to one another and to other musicals of their day. Gallafent also provides an illuminating account of the films Astaire and Rogers made separately during the 1940s before their final reunion in The Barkleys of Broadway. Astaire and Rogers concludes by tracing the development of their star personas both together and apart, and shows how the films were designed around those personas.

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