Wednesday, December 31, 2008

#90 Swing Time (1935, Astaire/Rogers)

Apparently Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers did some 10 movies like this together, but this is the first one I've seen. Aside from talking about the movie itself, it gave me two interesting insights into cultural change in the past 70 years.

1. Gayness. If Fred Astaire were alive and doing his thing today, he couldn't have gotten away with being straight. He would likely have been consumed by the overzealous gay culture. He's a real ladies' man, an actor, a singer, and a dancer. Okay, strike that. Justin Timberlake can get away with it, I guess Fred probably could, too.

2. Specialization. As there are more than twice as many people in the US as there were at the time of this movie, there has been a greater need for everyone's talents to become pigeonholed. The only ones who get away with doing everything are those who are marketed well in one thing and get oodles of money for it, then do a lot of other things badly with their brand, yet mucous-brained Americans everywhere love them for it. These cats could sing and dance and act, and did it all in one movie.

There are some efforts today, like Julia Stiles in Save The Last Dance, but these are merely actors learning how to dance well enough for the screen, not professional dancing. For that, we have to watch Dancing with the Stars. This movie puts it all together in one spot with people who are talented in many things. It was a simpler time.

Oh, and I checked out the modern-day value of the $25,000 Fred Astaire needs in the movie, and it would be almost $400K today. Quite a bit for a bride, don't you think?


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