The AFI 100 film series—a selection of 100 great movies chosen by the American Film Institute—continues this New Year’s Eve at the GE Theatre at Proctors with a title featuring one of the screen’s greatest dance teams, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
If the Busby Berkeley musicals from Warner Bros. dazzled Depression-era audiences with their abstract beauty and scale, the Astaire-Rogers musicals from RKO brought intimacy and grace to musical comedy. Some wag famously remarked that Astaire gave Rogers class, and Rogers gave Astaire sex. It’s true, as far as it goes; Astaire’s sophistication and Rogers’ earthy appeal blend perfectly. But she was no dummy, and he was no cold fish. This was a balanced partnership.
The engine that makes the Astaire-Rogers films “go” is the music. For Swing Time, composer Jerome Kern and lyricist Dorothy Fields served up a bouncy standard (“Pick Yourself Up,” pictured), an Oscar-winning ballad that doubled as Astaire’s biggest hit record (“The Way You Look Tonight”), and a couple of big production numbers. “Never Gonna Dance,” the film’s climactic tune, is a real show-stopper.
Swing Time will be screened Monday (Dec. 31) at 2:30, 4:45 and 7 PM at the GE Theatre at Proctors (432 State St., Schenectady). Tickets are $5. For more info, call the box office at 346-6204.