Thursday September 14, 2023
Astaire, Rogers Not Known for Astaire-Rogers Movies, Says IMDb
Our sister-in-law Jayne stayed with us last week and we all watched “Shall We Dance,” the 1937 Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers movie where he plays ballet dancer Peter P. Peters, aka “Petrov,” and she plays tap dancer Linda Keene, and the songs include such Gershwin numbers as “They All Laughed” and “Let's Call the Whole Thing Off,” and we get that insane roller skate dance in Central Park. And for some reason, in the middle of it, I looked up Fred Astaire on IMDb. I forget what I was checking. Because I got distracted by this:
Right. Not an Astaire-Rogers movie in the mix.
One Astaire-Rogers, their final RKO picture together, which was a bit of an anomaly. Per Wikipedia:
... there is none of the usual “screwball comedy” relief provided by such actors as Edward Everett Horton, Victor Moore, or Helen Broderick, it is the only Astaire-Rogers musical biography, the only one on which Oscar Hammerstein II worked, the only one of their musicals with a tragic ending, and the only one in which Astaire's character dies.
And not exactly the first Astaire-Rogers movie I think of. That would be “Top Hat,” or “Swing Time,” or “Shall We Dance.” Apparently I'm not alone. If you sort Astaire's feature films by user rating, it goes exactly that way, with “The Band Wagon” fourth. I love “The Band Wagon,” by the way, it's his other “Known For”s that are the head scratchers—particularly when you consider that billing supposedly matters in the Known For algorithm. Astaire-Rogers movies, he's usually top-billed. For “Towering Inferno”? He was fifth-billed (Newman, McQueen, Holden, Dunaway, and everyone else alphabetically), and third-billed for “On the Beach.” He did get Oscar nom'ed for “Inferno,” so that probably pushed it up. But to No. 1? (Good trivia question: Who won the Oscar the one time Fred Astaire was nominated for an Oscar? Answer: Robert De Niro for “The Godfather Part II.” Worlds colliding.)
Her No. 1, “Kitty Foyle,” was also an Oscar turn, for which she won. Her only nom.
So our biggest movie website says the most famous dance team in movie history isn't known for dancing with each other. I expected nothing less from IMDb.