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Is everyone a fan of Fred and Ginger? smoking?


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Is everyone on here a fan of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers?

There's no denying their great but do everyone find them breathtaking?

Their wonderful but I can take them or leave them.

I go for single dancers more.

 

I wanted to get you all comments. Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly was smokers, right? I've seen him smoking quite a lot. How was he able to dance? Today they say smoking damages your lungs, makes you tried, shortness of breath but he didn't look tried dancing. Maybe he took vitamins or something to keep him in shape. A relative of mine smokes and is a dancer, she had to quit smoking because she was always short of breath and would get tried.

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I am not that fond of their movies, together or individually. I guess hearing all my life how my mother hates Ginger Rogers kind of influenced me, although there are a few of her performances that are OK. Astaire could dance but I always think he comes across as a little fey and unconvincing as a ladies man. I know I'll probably be taken to task over this but I can't help the way I feel.

 

As far as the smoking, maybe it was for the cameras. I don't know for sure, but I agree it would seem to be hard to keep up the pace, especially with Astaire's alledged intense rehearsing.

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How funny, brackenhe. I heard all my life how my father hated Ginger Rogers! Wonder what caused this dislike?

 

I like her, and enjoy watching the two of them, but don't love their movies, no. And yes, Astaire was never believable as a ladies man.

 

 

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Astaire was never a heavy smoker, and after the Surgeon General's warning, he quit altogether. He did advertise some cigarettes in the 1920s-40s (Chesterfields and perhaps some others), as did many stars.

 

His first wife was a chain smoker who died of cancer in 1954.

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Well, this thread has brought the non Ginger/Fred fans out, and so it is obvious that not everyone is a fan of their films. I enjoy them together and individually. I think Ginger can get annoying when she plays a "little girl" with her baby speech ( in The Major and The Minor, and Monkey Business )but I try not to let it detract too much from the story. I still love them.I can see how not everyone will like them though. The smoking I don't know much about, a lot of very active people I know smoke. My cousin is a track star and smokes. I don't how that works. It must just catch up towards the end of their lives in some cases.

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Without knowing any better, because I hadn't seen any of their films until I became a TCM junkie, I wasn't even interested in ever watching a Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers films (together or apart).

 

However, after seeing that Maltin's guide gave "Top Hat" a four star rating, I decided to check it out. Wow! I was not only impressed by the dancing & songs, but really ended up enjoying the light humor with Edward Everett Horton and Eric Blore as well. So, I started taping/watching their films such that I've seen most, if not all of them by now.

 

I think what's great about classic movies is the plethora of genres available. Sometimes I have to be "in the mood" to enjoy a particular one, but I find that I can "get into" most any type of film and, if it's well done, I'm entertained.

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I love fred astaire. I can see that he is not much of a romantic lead but boy could he dance. I also get annoyed of ginger's baby voice but they are both cute movies so i dont mind so much. I dont love but i do like fred and ginger movies when i just want to sit back and watch something fun.

 

and that whole smoking thing.. that has puzzled me for sometime now.

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Both Ginger and Fred paid their dues and became big stars

and deservedly so.

I tend to favor Ginger over Fred since I believe she is more versatile and her films and acting are more to my liking.

However as a dancing couple they can't be beat.

 

Smoking? There was nothing more sexy than Joan Crawford as Sadie Thompson with a cigarette hanging from her moist lips. And John Garfield, Clark Gable, Tyrone Power, Robert Taylor all had the ladies swooning as the smoke from their cigarettes billowed up about their handsome faces.

Not to forget Bette Davis whose co-star was usually a cigarette which she most certainly enjoyed as we enjoyed watching her go up in smoke. Good stuff.

 

Mongo

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As far as smoking in movies being "sexy", Mongo, well to each his own. I have never found smoking in films, or anywhere else for that matter, to be sexy in any way. I realize it's hard to imagine classic movies without smoking, as it is so absolutely prevalent in most of them. Cigarette smoke and Film Noir go together like Vanilla Ice Cream and Apple Pie, but for someone who has an aversion to smoking, it couldn't be more of a turn-off. I always thought Joan Crawford was sexy in her earlier films. That is, until she lit up, and then her sexiness was reduced by half. For me anyway.........

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Hi, KeithfromKC:

 

I agree with you about smoking. I have never found smoking sexy or appealing, but back in those days, people did find it appealing. I'm sure cigarette companies paid to have their products shown in the movies. The fan magazines were loaded with cigarette ads. I found one of my old magazines that had Rosalind Russell plugging (Lucky Strikes, I think) in an advertisement, talking about how your grateful throat will love these cigarettes. Considering Roz died from throat cancer, I found that especially ironic.

 

As for smoking in the movies in general, I ran across an article by actor Tommy Farrell in "Films of Golden Age" a few years back. Tommy was the son of actress Glenda Farrell, who died from lung cancer even though she didn't smoke, although almost everyone else in the movies did (with a few exceptions).

 

Farrell did say one thing I found interesting. When the guy mentioned seeing Glenda smoking in films, Tommy said, "Those were prop cigarettes." He went on to say a lot of the smoking you saw on the movie sets were done with prop cigarettes, which did not have tobacco in them. I guess it was cheaper for the studios to manufacture those prop cigarettes than buy cigarettes for the stars. There might have been fire regulations that came into play. I don't know.

 

However, I'm sure there were a lot of stars, like Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, and John Wayne who used smoked their own cigareetes while making a film. So, if one sees Fred Astaire smoking in a film, perhaps it was a "prop" cigarette. Mr. Farrell said they looked so much like the real thing, it was hard to tell unless one looked closely.

 

So, perhaps what one saw on the screen was Fred or Ginger smoking a prop cigarette. One never knows.

 

Deborah

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I started out not being a fan of Astaire or knowing that much about Rogers. Once my wife got me into the golden age of films I've become fans of both.

As for smoking, it bothers me in todays films, but not in the classics. They did not know as much as they do now.

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Suppose those same few are about to get bent & dismayed at my comment BUT, with all the miserable 'things' going on and about in this world why does smoking in films now & yesturday be such an issue? Why I remember flying in the 70 & 80's and smoking was wherever one sat--I remember NO ONE waving their hands,mock coughing and all the rest of that childishness It has got to be such cool thing now to blast smokers. And U know something, it's all genetic: if one catches a cancer or osteoporosis.

My motto: to each their own.

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I LOVE Fred and Ginger's movies.

 

To me they're time capsules of the glamorous 1930's. You have the great music written by the likes of Jerome Kern and the Gershwin's, along with Fred and Ginger dancing up a storm, with the most incredible art deco sets all around them. I've been watching their movies since I was a kid, and I'm ALWAYS entertained by them. I also love the great supporting actors that were usually cast, like Edward Everett Horton, Eric Blore, Eric Rhodes, Helen Broderick, Alice Brady, Victor Moore, etc.

 

And I'm actually surprised to read that some of you don't consider Fred Astaire a very good ladies man. Why not, because he was classy? Do you have to act like a tough guy to get a girl? I understand the point that some of you make, since he wasn't real built, and didn't have a very deep voice, but I think he does ok. I can certainly identify with him going after Rogers, since she was the perfect cute blonde. And look at it this way - if it was Clark Gable in his place, who was a REAL man's man, and got the ladies, then it would REALLY look odd, since I can't imagine Gable dancing like Astaire. And the dancing to that incredible music is what made the films. In fact, a lot of songs that became "standards" and are still recorded today were introduced in the Astaire/Rogers musicals. They're worth watching for the music alone.

 

I think they were wonderful together, and I know other people must agree, otherwise RKO wouldn't have featured them in NINE films together. And when they reunited in 1949 to make "Barkleys of Broadway" at MGM, it was a big deal, and a lot of publicity was done about it, since these two stars were working together again.

 

I can't wait for the DVD box set of their movies to be released! And hopefully TCM will do a festival of their movies to coincide with the release.

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moviejoe79, for me, as I said, I liked the Fred and Ginger movies, but they were always ABOUT Fred. I never got the impression they were anything but a showcase for him. I think back and the only other actor who stood out was Edward Everett Horton. Yes, he was indeed a delight, but they seemed to be a vehicle for Fred. Weren't they?

 

As to him being a good ladies man, nah, he seemed to be full of himself. His head was too big. And he had no, zero, zip sex appeal. I'd rather have gone with Edward Everett Horton than Fred, and I didn't find EEH attractive.

 

As to smoking, I loved it when a man and woman lit up together in an old movie. Now that was sexy!

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I'd always loved Astaire-Rogers movies, especially because of their great dancing, the wonderful art-deco sets, the clothes and the great standars written by Porter, Kern, Berlin and Gershwin.

 

I have never cared much about the lightweight plots. The same with Eleanor Powell's films, it's the musical numbers and the dancing what really matters.

 

My favorite films of them are "Swing Time" (glorious Kern score), "Top Hat" and "Gay Divorcee".

 

He gave her class and she gave him sex, or so they said:)

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Dear Feaito:

 

No one ever looked at those movies for any kind of plot. They looked at the movies to see Ginger and Fred dance and to listen to the music.

 

I've seen all ten of their films, and only two had any kind of plot. One was "Roberta," which was based on the Jerome Kern play of same name. Clifton Webb was among those in original stage play. The other is the "Story of Vernon and Irene Castle," which was about a real-life couple.

 

Other than that, the movies were pure fluff, and I love it. You're right in that their lightweight plots, Fernando. However, compared to the junk opening this weekened, their the height of intellecutalism.

 

Take care.

 

Deborah

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deborahwakid11, compared to ANYTHING opening recently, Plan Nine From Outer Space is akin to Gone With The Wind.

 

And you make another good point. As much as I didn't see sex appeal in Fred, so what? He provided another service. His dance scenes with Ginger were pure poetry. His rendition of 'Heaven' was lovely. The dance with the feathers flying all over the place was wonderful.

 

So, I apologize to Fred. You were as important to cinematic history as Charlie Chaplin, and at least I can watch your movies.

 

 

 

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That is very interesting prop cigarettes. Now when I'm watching classics, I'll be thinking is that real or not.

 

Maybe Fred didn't smoke or wasn't a heavy smoker or just did it for the movies but I often wonder when I see the dancers smoking how they weren't out of breath dancing.

 

Gene Kelly seem to always smoke. Or was that a prop cigarette? Judy Garland smoked but probably wasn't a heavy smoker. Ann Dvorak (a fine dancer) smoked, Betty Grable smoked, Joan Crawford, Rita Hayworth smoked, they danced well. Ginger Rogers said in her book, she smoked but quit. Ginger can be annoying at times but you gotta love her.

 

Your right, classic movies wouldn't be the same without the cigarette smoking. I read those articles to that has a classic star saying, these cigarettes are kind to your throat. I be like yeah right.

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I always find it a little ironic when people separate Astaire's sex appeal from his dancing; his dances with Rogers (and later with other partners) were often vertical lovemaking. "Night and Day" from The Gay Divorcee is perhaps the most obvious example, and, to tie in our smoking theme, he offers her a cigarette as she stares up at him in wonder after the dance!

 

To each his own, and I admit he's not a **** boy, but I find Astaire very sexy.

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That is an interesting observation, ayresorchids. By the way, what a steamy topic for these boards!

 

On continuing to think about this, it occurred to me that I found Astaire asexual. On the other hand, I found Gene Kelly and his dancing to be completely and utterly erotic.

 

Funny. I wonder, has anyone done a thesis on this? Sounds like a good topic.:)

 

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> That is an interesting observation,

> ayresorchids. By the way, what a steamy topic

> for these boards!

>

> On continuing to think about this, it occurred to me

> that I found Astaire asexual. On the other hand, I

> found Gene Kelly and his dancing to be

> completely and utterly erotic.

>

> Funny. I wonder, has anyone done a thesis on this?

> Sounds like a good topic.:)

 

LOL, I don't know about a thesis, Stoney, but lots of people discuss it! In Feb. there was a thread here about the Astaire vs Kelly question (I kind of hate to put it that way, though). Here's something I wrote then:

 

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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  • 12 years later...
On 3/25/2005 at 4:56 PM, moviejoe79 said:

I LOVE Fred and Ginger's movies.

 

To me they're time capsules of the glamorous 1930's. You have the great music written by the likes of Jerome Kern and the Gershwin's, along with Fred and Ginger dancing up a storm, with the most incredible art deco sets all around them. I've been watching their movies since I was a kid, and I'm ALWAYS entertained by them. I also love the great supporting actors that were usually cast, like Edward Everett Horton, Eric Blore, Eric Rhodes, Helen Broderick, Alice Brady, Victor Moore, etc.

 

And I'm actually surprised to read that some of you don't consider Fred Astaire a very good ladies man. Why not, because he was classy? Do you have to act like a tough guy to get a girl? I understand the point that some of you make, since he wasn't real built, and didn't have a very deep voice, but I think he does ok. I can certainly identify with him going after Rogers, since she was the perfect cute blonde. And look at it this way - if it was Clark Gable in his place, who was a REAL man's man, and got the ladies, then it would REALLY look odd, since I can't imagine Gable dancing like Astaire. And the dancing to that incredible music is what made the films. In fact, a lot of songs that became "standards" and are still recorded today were introduced in the Astaire/Rogers musicals. They're worth watching for the music alone.

 

I think they were wonderful together, and I know other people must agree, otherwise RKO wouldn't have featured them in NINE films together. And when they reunited in 1949 to make "Barkleys of Broadway" at MGM, it was a big deal, and a lot of publicity was done about it, since these two stars were working together again.

 

I can't wait for the DVD box set of their movies to be released! And hopefully TCM will do a festival of their movies to coincide with the release.

I love Fred and Ginger films also, they took part in helping to make the 1930s so wonderful, charming and glamerous. The 1930s was an amazing, magical time in film, which was helped made so by Fred and Ginger, Garbo, Davis, Hepburn, Crawford, Eleanor Powell, Robert Taylor, Jean Harlow, the Barrymores, Wallace Berry, Clark Gable, Vivian Leigh, Myrna Loy and William Powell, and Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell. They all helped create alot of wonderful beauty, charm, and that particular vintage 1930s style.

Also was the great 1930s humor brought to us by amazing Marx Bros, and secondarily The three Stooges and Laural and Hardy.

The 1930s were a wonderful amazing time.

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I am also a fan of Fred and Ginger, my favorite film of theirs (that I’ve seen) is “Swing Time.” 

 

As for the smoking, I don’t care. That was their choice at the time, and their smoking won’t make me smoke. I’ve never tried it and have no desire to try. 

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On 3/25/2005 at 7:36 PM, feaito said:

I'd always loved Astaire-Rogers movies, especially because of their great dancing, the wonderful art-deco sets, the clothes and the great standars written by Porter, Kern, Berlin and Gershwin.

 

I have never cared much about the lightweight plots. The same with Eleanor Powell's films, it's the musical numbers and the dancing what really matters.

 

My favorite films of them are "Swing Time" (glorious Kern score), "Top Hat" and "Gay Divorcee".

 

He gave her class and she gave him sex, or so they said:)

My favorite Fred and Ginger films are Top hat, Follow the fleet, Swingtime, and The story of Vernon and Irene Castle, the latter always seemed underrated, where the other mentioned three were always publicly recognized for being fabulous, which I wholeheartedly agree with. All 4 films are wonderful, which truly helped make Fred and Ginger such an amazing, glamorous part of the 1930s 

I was never sure who actually said "He gave her class, and she gave him sex", but I've definitely heard that one before. Like the lyrics in Madonna's song Vogue said "Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, they had style, they had grace", and those words coming from one of the biggest sex symbols of the 1980s and 1990s, they definitely mean something.

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