The Dance Scene That Fred Astaire Blew The World's Mind With -- Before CGI!

Submitted by: squrlz4ever 5 months ago in Entertainment

In one of the greatest dance scenes of all time, Fred Astaire captures the crazy, head-over-heels experience of being in love with this gravity-defying dance routine in the 1951 movie "Royal Wedding." I won't tell you how it was done or what to look for. Just enjoy it for yourself and imagine the jaw-dropping response of audiences who were born at the tail-end of the Victorian era, many decades before the dawn of computer-generated special effects.

There are 25 comments:
Male 39,544
Fred is all right but he's no Gene Kelly....... obvious trolling
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Male 5,749
Gerry1of1 If he was it would be kind of hard for him to star in " The Babbitt and the Bromide" Dance sequence in Ziegfeld Follies.
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Female 2
wondrous.  but consider this, all of astaire's female dancing partners did the same moves as he did, backwards and in high heels!  (wish i could take credit for that line, but i can't.  i saw it on a t-shirt once!)
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Female 7,995
chickenfarts - you beat me to it LOL!!
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Male 5,749
chickenfarts To IAB welcome ~offers tentacled hand to shake~
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Male 4,388
chickenfarts Yes, mad props to Ginger, Rita, Judy, and all the rest of the great song-and-dance ladies from this era.
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Male 1,049
chickenfarts ha, good one!
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Male 1,614
They don't make dancers like this anymore
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Male 5,749
casaledana Yep, not sense the genetic factory was destroyed in the mid 1960's
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Male 4,388
casaledana I'm with you 100% there, Casa.
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Male 4,099
If you like Fred Astaire's dancing, check out the Nicholas Brothers.

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Male 4,388
richanddead I was looking at that one and considered posting it (not knowing Lala already had). In the end, I went with the Astaire scene because I imagine there's a whole crop of teens and 20-somethings who haven't yet been exposed to it nor know of the Hollywood magic that made it possible.

Tell you one thing: If you look at some of the great dancers from generations past, you can't help but come to the conclusion that most of today's entertainers are putting in maybe 30% of the effort. You can see it in the way the bodies' of the past greats moved. There is a lightness, fluency, and grace that seem to emerge only after you've been doing tap and other dance styles for about 10,000 hours or so.

To get an idea of what I'm talking about, here is another clip of Astaire, this time with Rita Hayworth. (Be sure to watch it full-screen if you really want to appreciate the footwork.) You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone in music or movies today who can move like this.

(And yes, I'm aware I sound like Grampa Squrlz right now.)
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Male 4,099
squrlz4ever

Hey I'm not complaining, it's a good post. Thanks for the link, not only was his dancing good in that, but that was sort of a catchy tune too. I agree with you almost completely about the effort thing, Michael Jackson definitely put in the effort though I thought, although he's dead now so I guess it's fair to say we can't call him one of today's entertainers. But I guess one would say as a "modern entertainer," he was pretty good... as far as dancing, singing, and crime drama's go. Not sure he was good with the other stuff.

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Male 4,388
richanddead I agree that MJ was an exception to the rule: he was, indeed, one of the few recent entertainers who worked at his dance moves for countless hours and it showed.

There's another similarity between MJ and some of the great song-and-dancers of Hollywood's Golden Age: They were raised by entertainers to be entertainers and started very early. Fred Astaire began at the age of 6; Rita Hayworth at 3-1/2; and MJ at 5.

I know both Hayworth and Jackson later lamented their lost childhoods. In MJ's case, I've got to think that his bizarre upbringing may have been what caused him to deteriorate so rapidly as an adult.

Hmmm. All this has me tempering my enthusiasm for some of the fantastic dancers from the past. There was a cost and in some cases, that cost was pretty steep.
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Male 4,099
There's another similarity between MJ and some of the great song-and-dancers of Hollywood's Golden Age: They were raised by entertainers to be entertainers and started very early. 

I didn't think about that, but it seems your right. Looking into the Nicholas Brothers, it seems they were attending vaudeville acts and learning to dance at the age of 3. Kudos, good call.

There was a cost and in some cases, that cost was pretty steep.

No doubt, I remember learning that in certain clubs during that time, if you didn't know how to dance, other dancers would kick at your ankles to try to break them and get you off the dance floor. Hell, look at Jelly Roll Morton for instance. He wasn't a dancer but a jazz artist, yet in 1923 when his trombonist, Zue Robertson, was getting sleepy after a full day and night of recording he started messing up. Jelly stopped his playing, stared right at Robertson and pulled out his pistol and placed it on top of his piano. Jelly said it was his way of letting Robertson know that he had one more chance and his life depended on it. Odd to think that the entertainment industry could really be life or death back in those days.
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Male 1,049
richanddead lala posted the video of this about 6 months ago...I remember 'cos it's one of my favourites, I already had the same video bookmarked....

link to the post is here
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Male 4,099
buttersrules
Oh wow, it even contains Fred Astaire's remarks about them. Thanks for sending me a link, I missed that post and kudos to @lalapancakes for making it. Love Cab Calloway too, so much talent back then. How the hell did we go from true dancing like this to twerking and the stanky leg?
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Male 720
Fairly sure that everyone knows how it was done.  See 2001: A Space Odyssey for another take.  Several more recent movies come to mind, that also used the rotating room or hallway effect to disorient or suspend disbelief.

Its exceptionally effective, for a practical effect.


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Male 4,388
punko Shhhhhh. I was trying to keep the magnetic shoes a secret from the 20-somethings out there.
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