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Around minute 10:50 in the Lecture Video for Lecture #5: Cabin in the Sky (1943) with Vanessa Theme Ament and Richard Edwards, https://learn.canvas.net/courses/2206/pages/week-2-monday-an-historical-overview-of-the-second-decade?module_item_id=218041 Dr. Edwards brought up this subject - I believe it was Vincent Minnelli who brought editing into dance numbers to highlight certain moves. I remember something that Fred Astaire once said and emphasized about his own dance routines which is that often editing a routine was a way to "cheat" and that when those close-ups are shot it is not live but just that particular sequence and was "lazy" so to speak. So he, himself, insisted that his dance routines were shot in full frame and done as one continuous piece. So frankly, in my own humble opinion, I do not think that that "innovation" was something positive. To this day, I can't stand when they cut away to "body parts" during a dance. And while it might be true that this was something that could be done on film and not in the theater, remember that movies were a way of bringing the theater or Broadway experience to audiences who did not live in New York or large metropolises that would have the possibility of seeing those shows live. How do others feel?
So "Shall We Dance" is on now to be followed by "Swing Time" (my personal favorite of their pairings). Our wonderful instructor keeps alluding to the outsized size of the clubs and apartments, and she isn't kidding. I think this is an essential element of the musical....space. Sets are spectacular and impossible in reality for these films. I adore it all, and I wonder what folks make of the device of impossible spaces in musicals. This goes beyond Astaire and Rodgers straight through to the musical dream sequences in The Big Lebowski. Is it because it's all just a little to fantastic? What say you all?
This is my favorite dance routine of all time. All time. I know she had bloody feet doing this one. It was worth it. Swoon! What's your favorite dance routine of all time?