If there are people out there who can watch Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dance and somehow not be transported to another plane for three to four minutes, well…there’s no other way to put it: I feel sorry for them.
This particular number–“Night and Day”, by Cole Porter–is from The Gay Divorcee, the second film Astaire and Rogers made together, but the first in which they co-starred as equals.
It’s essentially a 4 minute and 47 second long seduction that ends, appropriately enough, with an offer of a cigarette. Fred woos her with song for the first 1:43; Ginger then tries a number of times to make her exit but Fred blocks her way and tries to ingratiate himself; at 2:01, he grabs her wrist, twirls her into his arms and the dance is on. It’s magical to watch them; any adjectives I could choose to describe the way they move have already been used, doubtless many times over. It’s a terpsichorean antidepressant. And it all appears effortless. [Check out Fred’s ‘finger flickers’ at 2:30 (right hand) and 4:35 (left hand)].
Happy Birthday to JAG, lifelong Fred fan!