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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This evening I will watch the second half of a genuine "white tie" movie, the Astaire-Rogers Shall We Dance? So far, not one of their better efforts -- there are only two full-scale numbers in the first hour, and the connective tissue is weak, as it is in most of their films. A Busby Berkeley musical such as Footlight Parade with James Cagneyis more fun to watch as a movie, because the non-musical material is grittier and less insipid.
 

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Nightmare Alley. Tyrone Power looks absolutely smashing in white tie, even blindfolded:
 

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Chariots of Fire

Several white tie scenes that I recall, including the performance of HMS Pinafore (amatuer theater with all of the performers dressed in whit tie, with hats alone as costume), and the scene when the heros attend the theater in London.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Tyrone Power wears some awesome outfits in Nightmare Alley, I absolutely agree:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Keeping in mind that this is a thread not just about "white tie" movies, but the general movies thread in the new "White Tie" sub-forum -- although both interpretations are delightful! -- here are the last four movies I watched at home:

1. Strange Impersonation, Anthony Mann, 1946 -- Little B-grade thriller from Mann's apprentice period, with some nice visual touches but rather inferior acting. Borderline noir thematically.

2. Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, Paul Schrader, 1985 -- Extremely impressive interweaving of scenes from Yukio Mishima's life and novels; not an easy film, but cineastes should love it. Great cinematography (John Bailey) and score (Philip Glass).

3. Plan 9 from Outer Space, Edward D. Wood Jr., 1959 -- As a rainy Sunday afternoon diversion, I finally caught up with "the worst film ever made." Believe me, I've seen worse. This is actually quite entertaining in its demented way.

4. All That Heaven Allows, Douglas Sirk, 1955 -- Sirk's reputation for directing great social commentaries in the guise of glossy soap operas is entirely deserved. This movie is one of the most pointed takes on the mores of the Fifties actually made during the decade, and offers a gorgeous aesthetic "surface" as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I finished watching Shall We Dance last night. I am about halfway through my Astaire-Rogers project (I organize everything in projects), and this is definitely one of the weaker efforts. It has the best score of any of them, courtesy of George and Ira Gershwin, but the songs are not well used. There are only two Astaire-Rogers duets, "They All Laughed" and "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" (a novelty number on roller skates that was a trial to film), and neither is really "killer." Astaire sings two excellent songs to Rogers in exactly the same manner -- "Beginner's Luck" and "They Can't Take That Away from Me" -- which has a cancelling-out effect. The "Shall We Dance" finale is ho-hum and only has about 30 seconds of Rogers. So the best number is Astaire's inventive solo "Slap That Bass."

Edward Everett Horton and Eric Blore are even more tedious in this movie than usual; the in-between stuff is exceptionally boring. When Arlene Croce writes in The Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers Book of the "essential seriousness of the Astaire-Rogers movies" (as compared to Gene Kelly's lesser efforts!), I truly do not have a clue what she is talking about. For all her considerable writerly gifts, it seems to me that Croce engages in a lot of pure projection in her writing on Astaire. None of the Astaire-Rogers movies I have seen so far is a patch on films like Kelly's It's Always Fair Weather, On the Town, or Singin' in the Rain. Astaire himself is sublime, Rogers is appealing, but once you've seen their movies through once, you only want to return to the dance sequences themselves.
 

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...3. Plan 9 from Outer Space, Edward D. Wood Jr., 1959 -- As a rainy Sunday afternoon diversion, I finally caught up with "the worst film ever made." Believe me, I've seen worse. This is actually quite entertaining in its demented way...
You got to be tough to sit through this one...
 

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I love all of the Astaire-Rogers films for rainy or snowy Sunday afternoons, when all one has to do is luxuriate with a cup of tea, or whatever suits your fancy, and remain oblivious to the telephone. Regardless of the plot, they give me a real lift. The plots, such as they are, are more to support the music and the dancing.
 

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I agree - the movies don't hold up well, but the scores . . .

. . . and the dances stand the test of time.

Your reaction to "Shall We Dance" was the same as my reaction a few months ago watching "Follow The Fleet", which has, as its finale, "Let's Face the Music and Dance", a classic. However, most of the movie is junk, though fascinating junk for those of us old enough to remember "Ozzie & Harriet" - Harriet Nelson, nee Hilliard (at least professionally) was the second female lead (she must have been a child when she did it - she certainly looks young!).

I finished watching Shall We Dance last night. I am about halfway through my Astaire-Rogers project (I organize everything in projects), and this is definitely one of the weaker efforts. It has the best score of any of them, courtesy of George and Ira Gershwin, but the songs are not well used. There are only two Astaire-Rogers duets, "They All Laughed" and "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" (a novelty number on roller skates that was a trial to film), and neither is really "killer." Astaire sings two excellent songs to Rogers in exactly the same manner -- "Beginner's Luck" and "They Can't Take That Away from Me" -- which has a cancelling-out effect. The "Shall We Dance" finale is ho-hum and only has about 30 seconds of Rogers. So the best number is Astaire's inventive solo "Slap That Bass."

Edward Everett Horton and Eric Blore are even more tedious in this movie than usual; the in-between stuff is exceptionally boring. When Arlene Croce writes in The Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers Book of the "essential seriousness of the Astaire-Rogers movies" (as compared to Gene Kelly's lesser efforts!), I truly do not have a clue what she is talking about. For all her considerable writerly gifts, it seems to me that Croce engages in a lot of pure projection in her writing on Astaire. None of the Astaire-Rogers movies I have seen so far is a patch on films like Kelly's It's Always Fair Weather, On the Town, or Singin' in the Rain. Astaire himself is sublime, Rogers is appealing, but once you've seen their movies through once, you only want to return to the dance sequences themselves.
 
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