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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?
Oh, man, I'm in Heaven now as TCM plays Fred & Ginger Movies. I could die happy now! Those 1930s fitted sheath dresses sure make a woman look taller and slinkier! (Ginger was only 5'4" but, of course with 3" t-strap or ankle strap heels, she was 5'7" to Fred's 5'9.") And naturally the full skirts or dresses with bottom flares are simply divine and perfectly suited for doing chaine' turns. Ginger's dresses for their "big numbers" by Irene and other costume designers were constructed of shiny satin, silver (or gold?) lame', sequins or with ostrich feathers, of course, for the fabulous "Cheek to Cheek" so that when the lights hit it, they realllllllly looked luxurious. (Ostrich are the long, skinny, delicate feathers, turkey feathers are the wider ones usually used in huge boas for draping over arms.) Watching "Shall We Dance," I see Ginger's jacket is made of white "monkey fur" that she wears before the finale dance. It's interesting to note that Fred danced twice with a gal in ostrich feathers - Harriet Hoctor being the other one, though her part was mostly done as a featured solo. I don't think I've ever seen anyone else dance on Pointe in a backbend like Harriet - ha! I can't imagine how that would throw one's balance off as the blood rushes to your head ha. I've heard that often a pastel colored dress was substituted for white as the early black white film produced a WHITE that was verrrry reflective for the camera. The chorus dancers in these movies really had a lot of costume changes, too. From a line of "blondes" in all white, a line of brunettes in all black and the same for the boys, to mixing half black & half white outfits, from long dresses to satin "shorties." The line dance formations, "peel-off's" and "dive" moves were great with the variations of rhythm introduced to make the numbers longer. Though I'm now old and disabled and can't stand for long, I still sit and watch these numbers and mimic the tap steps Fred and the chorus girls do! LOVE IT! I'm sure you all, like me, just love the high contrast deep black and white film format of this decade of musicals - that made the Big ALL White Sets have even more impact on screen. Even the "Boiler Room" on the ocean liner in Shall We Dance is a fabulous if totally unrealistic all white set. Did ya notice how Fred wore white shoes in the Boiler number so it made his feet even more visible against the shiny grey (white?) floor?)And wasn't Fred fabulous as he turned all around that walkway - oh, my goodness, as a dancer I know how hard that would've been and the practice it would have taken-ha! The set design by Van Nest Polglase is so sleek and modern (for those times) and I think it's what comes to mind when people think of the Art Deco era. Ahh, those glamourous black or grey mirrored floors in the nightclub scenes were wonderful. Makes one want to dress up and go out to a night on the town!!! The sculptures, vases, lamps/light fixtures, couches, beds, wall and door and even dance floor artwork, etc all had those wonderful arched corners or geometric or chevron designs. I always felt I was born 20 years too late as I would've loved to have lived in such a stylized era. Even the dance floor F & G dance on for the “Pick Yourself Up” number is round! And don't ya just love the spats he's wearing on his shoes and the lines on the back of her stockings. (At 65, I still remember wearing those with garters)! As a young adult, I so adored Fred and Art Deco that I had my artist boyfriend paint designs on the front and backs of all the doors in our apartment and added palm trees to the corners and round mirrors and end tables with blue cobalt mirrors, just like in F & G's films ha. (a bit "obsessed," you say - yea, I know, hah!). The feeling I/we get from watching the "Waltz in Swingtime" is so magical. I used to think if "aliens" ever landed, we should show them that number for surely that is Pure Joy and maybe would make them smile too! I saw these films as a kid and always wanted to be in them. During that Golden age of Movies, the studios would scout for talent and give potential stars singing, dancing, acting lessons but by the time I grew up, the studio system was over and if you wanted to be a Singer/Dancer, you had to provide the training yourself. I loved the cast of thousands, fabulous costumes and huge sets of these movies and since they weren't making them like that anymore, the closest thing I could find to huge spectacular shows was dancing in Las Vegas hotel production shows. Unfortunately, now in 2018, even all of those old Showgirl shows are gone, replaced by "Cirque du whatever" shows consisting of aerialists, acrobats, contortionists, swimming, trampoline and other novelty acts, no more big shows with actual dancing and kicklines except for the Rockettes at Radio City. I'm thankful I had the chance to dance when I did. And thank God for TCM so I can relive it all through our favorite classic movie Musicals! I uploaded Ginger's dresses and big white set .jpg files successfully to my "conversation attachments" folder on my M. about M./canvas account but for some reason, this page says there's a processing error when I tried to upload or insert them here. Sorry. Still can't see the lecture videos or doses of delight, any news for us, Mr. Edwards?