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Your Favorite Astaire or Kelly?

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In the spirit of Lana or Ava and Cyd Charisse or Ann Miller thought I'd throw these two into the pot-which is your favorite? Which do you think is the better dancer? See I've never thought of Astaire the same way I think of Kelly. I mean as fawning over Astaire like I would Kelly. However, there are some things that I don't care about how Kelly comes across in some movies personality wise, performance wise. What are your thoughts? And they both could dance to beat ninety. A toughie!

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Their dancing styles, are so different that I couldn't choose between them. I like them both.


Anyway my favorite Astaire movies are those classic RKO 1930's, in glorious black and white, in which he starred with Ginger Rogers and her Columbia pairings with Rita Hayworth. Also, her MGM movies with Cyd Charisse ("The Band Wagon" and "Silk Stockings"), the 1945 "Yolanda an the Thief", "The Broadway Melody of 1940" with Eleanor Powell and the glorious "Funny Face" with lovely Audrey Hepburn.


As for Gene Kelly, my faves are "Cover Girl" with Rita Hayworth, "The Pirate" with Judy Garland, "An American in Paris", "Les Girls", "Singin' in the Rain", "Brigadoon" and "It's always fair weather".

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Very hard to decide ... I'll have to give it more thought. I agree, feaito, that their difference in styles makes the choice almost impossible.


Of course, both Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly had talent to spare ... unique, unlike anything before or since ... no one like them exists today.


Both showed immense talent dancing with props and/or with partners, and they shared some of the same leading ladies too. And, I assume we're to ignore their singing for the purposes of this response as well;- )


It's really a coin toss ... but I'll mull it over some more. I look forward to reading others' responses as well!

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Around my house growing up, my mom was a Gene Kelly fan while my dad was firmly all about Fred Astaire. While both were undeniably icons, I have to go with Kelly I guess because I have seen more of his films. While at times Kelly does overact, he does seem a little more natural in drama and musical comedy. But I won't deny that Astaire was elegant and got to sing some great songs in a lot of musicals. He just didn't seem like a man girls would fall for like Kelly did (to me anyway.)

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Kelly is good, but IMHO, Astaire wins hands down. Always graceful, elegant, and the classiest of them all.


My favorite Astaire films...


BLUE SKIES (Paramount, 1946, with Bing Crosby)

EASTER PARADE (MGM, 1948, with Judy Garland)

THREE LITTLE WORDS (MGM, 1950, with Vera-Ellen)

THE BELLE OF NEW YORK (MGM, 1952, with Vera-Ellen)

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I do believe that Astaire was the best-showcased dancer in the movies. He did the formal ballroom stuff with beautiful female partners, he did the acrobatic stuff Gene Kelly was so famous for, he danced with props and special effects (but I don't think he danced with cartoon characters like Kelly did!), he tapped, and he did routines with male dancers. He was great at all of it. Other dancers simply didn't get this kind of exposure (Ray Bolger, the Nicholas Brothers, Donald O'Connor, etc.)


So my vote goes to Astaire.



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I think I would choose Astair, there is just an air about him and the way he acted and danced that glows. Of course Kelly was AMAZING too so it really is a hard decision, I love Kelly in An american in paris the one scene where he tap dances on the piano :) i dont know why I've just always love that.


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Fred was in fabulous movies and none of them get old for me. But Gene was it. He is notorious for bringing dancing to the people. Hollywood went from Astaire's tuxedos to Kelly's everyman. Why do you think Gene's name in so many movies is Joe?


No one will ever be able to win the argument over who was better, but for me it was Gene Kelly whose uncompromising strength and unique vision brought dance to where it was when he retired.


Also who could not watch a Gene Kelly movie and not smile your biggest smile through at least a half an hour of the movie. He, and his smile, were priceless.


(I will say this though. Bot Kelly and Astaire made some bad choices as their final films. I am no fan of Finian's Rainbow or Xanadu. Xanadu is way to corny and Finian's Rainbow seems to be anti-feminist.)

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  • 3 months later...

It is so hard for me to not be prejudiced by all the wonderful songs Fred Astaire sings, The Way You Look Tonight, Night and Day, Cheek to Cheek, those movie moments with him singing his heart out to a beautiful lady endear me to him. His dancing is so romantic,his partners seem to just float in his arms. His movies have a certain way of making you root for him to get the girl, sort of an underdog. I love him and I enjoy his dancing more (just feels so- well- when your watching you wish you were there in his arms!) , but I don't know if it is just his dancing or the whole package! So hard to seperate!

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Dear Shaina,


I agree. I have met many women who prefer Kelly's appearance--he's handsome, muscular, and powerful-looking. But I love Fred's slim figure and after watching him seduce the women I even find him handsome. I think the reason he appeals so much to men as well as women is that he's the non-heartthrob type, but then he throbs hearts (well, mine, anyhow). I don't even buy the argument that he needed Ginger (whom I adore) to make him sexy--he's just as magnetic with Rita Hayworth or Joan Leslie or Cyd Charisse.


As for the "tails-versus-sweatshirt" thing, people forget that Astaire most often played a fun-loving, ordinary kind of guy, definitely American and even a bit brash. His elegance in clothes made the everydayness unexpected and intriguing, like a great acting job from a person you've always regarded as a comedian. People always cite the coolness and formality of "Let's Face the Music and Dance," as typical of his style--but in the movie that number comes from, he's portraying a sailor, and in several numbers burns up the floor with jazz tap.


I also love Donald O'Connor, who just didn't get to play the romantic dance roles he was wonderful at (viz Call Me Madam) nearly often enough. And Gene Kelly is wonderful, incredibly talented. But my heart belongs to Freddie!

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Gene Kelly is wonderful, as is Donald O'Connor, by my heart belongs to Fred Astaire. He was my introduction to classic films when I was a little girl and I have loved him ever since. Maybe because he's so much a mix of the men in my life -- Daddy and Grandfather -- or because I admire his tapping toes and sparkling humor, or simply by having dazzled me with "Holiday Inn". It wasn't until years later that I really started expanding my classic films horizon to include any other actors/dancers -- Gene and Donald didn't even have a chance. =)

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Fred Astaire hands down.


I just recently watched(again) "Flying Down To Rio"

As far as I know this is the first time he danced with Ginger Rogers in a film.

Not one of thier best films but one can see greatness in the future for both of them.


By the way how many films did they make together?

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for mysasha915, Fred and Ginger made 10 movies together:












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Unfortunately, none of the Astaire-Rogers films has been released on DVD yet. It's hard for me to understand why, given that two of them (Top Hat and Swing Time) are on the National Film Registry! But I keep hearing we'll see them in digital soon, and fully restored to boot.


At least a third Astaire film on the Registry, The Band Wagon, is coming out on DVD next month!

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I think I heard something along those lines as well...but it could be that either I am making it up, or a friend has, to boast of such a thing.


as per the question:


as an actor I suppose I would say gene kelly, just because he is SO incredibly warm! He's really the guy everyone wants to know, and be with, and watch!


however! I suppose as a dancer...there is none so graceful as fred astaire. The orginal, and best.


(also would like to take this opportunity to say, I REALLY liked finian's rainbow. Im hopelessly biased, in that i had it on video probably before i even could understand what it was about. But it makes me happy. Though i suppose, some characters (namely the loose-moralled leprechaun Og) do not reflect very good values (what with singing such songs as "when Im not near, the girl I love") but he's SO cute! I think it was written as a broadway play in the 40's, I THINK...I like it. and even back to the point, to see how fred astaire STILL can dance at such an "advanced" age...is incredible.


also...I really appreciate the screen name-Liz Imbrie.)

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