Wednesday, December 4, 2013

TCM Star of the Month December 2013: Fred Astaire

Wednesday nights in December see a new Star of the Month on TCM: Fred Astaire. He made enough movies that the Astaire films contine into Thursday mornings; good news for those of you who like musicals. Astaire is probably best remembered for all those musicals made with Ginger Rogers. There are ten of them in fact; nine in the 1930s and The Barkleys of Broadway ten years later. Five of those movies kick off the salute to Astaire in tonight's prime time lineup. (The other five won't be airing until Christmas night.) Their first screen appearance together, in Flying Down to Rio, is on at 8:00 PM this evening.

As for my favorite of their movies, I think I'd have to pick The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle, which you can see overnight, or early tomorrow morning depending on your perspective, at 4:00 AM. What I like about it is that, being a biopic, it actually has a mature plot, where films like The Gay Divorcee (10:00 PM tonight) have fairly dopey plots that are little more than hooks for dance numbers. Granted, the dance numbers in Flying Down to Rio are spectacular, and it's got some nice pre-Code dialog, but it's still a standard-issue love story.

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