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Fred Astaire as SOTM December 2013


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_December 4th_

FLYING DOWN TO RIO (1933)

THE GAY DIVORCEE (1934)

ROBERTA (1935)

FOLLOW THE FLEET (1936)

THE STORY OF VERNON AND IRENE CASTLE (1939)

SECOND CHORUS (1940)

 

_December 5th_

THE SKY'S THE LIMIT (1943)

 

_December 11th_

YOU'LL NEVER GET RICH (1941)

YOU WERE NEVER LOVELIER (1942)

THE BAND WAGON (1953)

SILK STOCKINGS (1957)

THREE LITTLE WORDS (1950)

THE BELLE OF NEW YORK (1952)

 

_December 12th_

YOLANDA AND THE THIEF (1945)

ZIEGFELD FOLLIES (1946)

 

_December 18th_

THE BARKLEYS OF BROADWAY (1949)

THE BAND WAGON (1953)

BROADWAY MELODY OF 1940 (1940)

EASTER PARADE (1948)

ROYAL WEDDING (1951)

A DAMSEL IN DISTRESS (1937)

FINIAN'S RAINBOW (1968)

 

_December 25th_

TOP HAT (1935)

SWING TIME (1936)

SHALL WE DANCE (1937)

CAREFREE (1938)

THE BARKLEYS OF BROADWAY (1949)

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Fred Astaire's movies all just kind of run together in one big fuzzy blur, but to each his own. And after getting Alfred Hitchcock, Kim Novak, Vincent Price, Burt Lancaster and the Story of Film series along with tons of great silents from September through early December, at this point I wouldn't complain if the SOTM were Annette Funicello.

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I watch a lot of Freds dancing routines every time I see them on TCM. They are some of the best ever filmed and maybe the best ever danced in the history of the world. He and Ginger dancing is the best I?ve ever seen in films. They move together as if they are physically attached to one another, even when they aren?t touching. It?s magic.

 

But I think when TCM has some off-beat Stars of the month, we get to see those people, such as character actors, such as Hattie McDaniel, plus we get to see a lot of stars who were in the movies they were in. So a character actor STOM is a double treat.

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  • 2 months later...

>Viewership is probably down in Dec. due to holiday events, so Fred is probably a good economical choice for SOTM as his films are readily available. I have all the Fred and Ginger films on DVD...

 

I think its the other way around. Kids are home from school and family comes to visit. I think TCM wants to be on as many tv's during this period as possible. So they show something known to be popular.

 

There are some really good films on after tomorrow's marathon. Lots of murder, for those tired of carefree Astaire films lol

 

Something for everyone , I guess.

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What does it take to kill this sterotype that young viewers don't watch TCM?

 

TCM has a diverse audience encompassing the spectrum of age and color.

 

You can see it in the promos for the Cruises and the FFestivals.

 

You can see it in the photos that TCM puts on those microsites that young people, old people, 20 and 30- somethings, middle aged and senior citizens all watch TCM.

 

You can see it on the various TCM sites on Facebook, there is a thread dedicated to TCM at TVwithoutPity which is hardly a bastion of AARP viewers as well as other sites.

 

You can see it in the people who entered the Ultimate Fan Video Contest. Many of them are young people, including the winner.

 

When the channel celebrated its 15th anniversary, one of the Fan Programmers was a young man still in high school. The majority of the remaining Fan Programmers were in their 30s and 40s and a handful were barely over 50 at the time.

 

I suspect we will see a diverse age group when the channel celebrates its 20th anniversary in April with 20 more Fan Programmers.

 

In surveys they have done, their largest demographic is the 18-53 years olds.

 

We've had young high school and college students on these boards over the years that also attests to the fact that not just the post-55 crowd watches TCM.

 

So, if you think young people don't watch TCM, you might need to reconsider that idea.

 

Edited by: lzcutter on Dec 4, 2013 1:03 PM

 

Edited by: lzcutter

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For TCM's first 5 years, the December SOTMs were "Best of '94", "Best of '95", "Best of '96", "Best of '97", and "Best of '98". Does anyone know what that meant? Sounds to me like "new" movies, but I guess it depends on what they meant by it.

 

Anyway, after 1998, the December SOTM's have been more traditional:

 

1999: Burt Lancaster

2000: Lauren Bacall

2001: The Marx Brothers

2002: Montgomery Clift

2003: David Niven

2004: James Stewart

2005: Bing Crosby

2006: Gary Cooper

2007: Irene Dunne

2008: Joseph Cotten

2009: Humphrey Bogart

2010: Mickey Rooney

2011: William Powell

2012: Barbara Stanwyck

 

About the only common thread there is that there aren't any Eleanor Parkers or Alexis Smiths. IOW no cult stars, just mainstream marquee names. The most "forgotten" star today from that list is probably David Niven, but even there you wouldn't have to dig down very deep into the ranks of casual "Classic" film buffs to find plenty of fans of his movies.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Last night I saw for the first time (amazingly - don't know how I ever missed it before) *Broadway Melody of 1940*.

What a treat. As with almost all Fred Astaire movies I watch, I had a smile on my face throughout.

 

Why do I love these Astaire dance movies so much? I was trying to figure this out last night.

It's certainly not about the plot.Nor clever dialogue. Nor even the comedy. These particular features are not the stars of Fred Astaire films (albeit there can be clever dialogue, and certainly lots of gentle comedy.)

 

We all know that Fred Astaire musicals are about dancing. Music and dancing. It's a given that if you don't care for that kind of music and dance, you're not going to get much out of a Fred Astaire film.

 

The reason I love his movies so much is because they capture a kind of grace, the grace of creating something perfect - an elegant and beautiful piece of art, a gift to anyone who cares to watch it.

 

*Broadway Melody of 1940* is by no stretch one of Astaire's best films. But it shows just how good he was, that even a second-tier Astaire musical is pure delight.

(No offence to anyone who regards this as one of his best -this post isn't really about that, anyway.)

 

The scene in *Broadway Melody* that amply demonstrates this "state of grace" I'm talking about is the one where Fred and Eleanor spontaneously start to dance together at their stolen lunch hour. The music in this scene is not remarkable (possibly not even Cole Porter), but the dancing sure is.

I love the way dance is used to show how right they are for each other, how in tune and in step they are. I know this dance really took hours and hours of practice to get it to look so graceful and effortless, but every hour was worth it.

What we finally get is a little piece of that perfect elegance, that "grace" I was talking about, that elevates an ordinary, even slightly silly story, to a few minutes of excellence and joy..

 

That's what I get when I see a dance like that in a movie- something so sweetly executed, it transcends the ordinary and reveals to us that state of grace we get to experience, vicariously, when something is created out of hard work, talent, dedication, and music, and becomes art.

 

(Sorry if all this sounds pretentious...maybe I got carried away.)

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misswonderly, I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this very much. When you mention Fred and Ginger spontaneously dancing at their stolen lunch hour, was that just before they arrived (late) to rehearsals? When Fred was admiring her steps and copying them commenting that "you can travel with it, too." as the gracefully floated across the floor?

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