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I am a huge Fred Astaire fan. He made so many innovations in the musicals of his day, especially with camera tracking and not cutting shots in the dances. I am surprised there is not more about his contributions to the film musical. One of the books I read about him said that the Night and Day sequence in Gay Divorcee is the first musical number in film to be integrated into the story - without that number, we don’t see Ginger fall for Fred. You can’t cut that number out without losing the plot.

Also, while I like Gene Kelly ok, he mugs for the camera a lot, and Fred seems to be much more brilliant about his staging, and more sophisticated in general. My opinion, of course. 



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He had an enormous influence on movie musicals, as Gene Kelly frequently commented. His presence also attracted some of the greatest songwriters of the time to film, including Irving Berlin, the Gershwins, and Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields. It's hard to imagine what the film musical and the American Popular song would be without him.

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