Matinee Monday: Astaire and Rogers


Confession time – I love musicals and rom-coms. I may be a cantankerous curmudgeon, but I melt during a good MGM musical. Heck, I’m okay with a mediocre one, truth be told.

This is going to be an easy one to write. I have loved Astaire and Rogers my entire life. Yes, I’ve participated in many a debate about who was the better dancer, Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly. I think both were great, but I, like many others plump down for the elegant grace and smoothness of Astaire. Kelly was athletic, energetic, but Astaire just glided across the floor (or ceiling, as the case may be.)

The studio paired Astaire and Rogers in supporting roles in Flying Down to Rio (1933), and some executive realized that they were magic together. So the next year, the studio paired Astaire and Rogers in the Broadway hit The Gay Divorcé, and cinematic history was made.

It didn’t take long for lightning to strike. Sometimes, it takes a couple of actors a couple of shows or episodes to hit their stride. However, their dance to the Cole Porter tune, Night and Day, shows that chemistry was instantaneous. As you watch this clip, focus on Rogers’ face. The dance is a seduction, and her reaction from resistance to acceptance plays out in her expressions.

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