Perhaps it’s because I first saw Fred Astaire in The Towering Inferno (when he was 75), the legendary screen hoofer always strikes me as an old man even when playing a young man, even in his celebrated 1930s musical comedies when he was not yet 40.
And perhaps that perception makes his dancing seem all the more remarkable. How could an old man move the way he does!?!? How could anyone for that matter have such a range of motion. Last night, I watched Easter Parade for the first time. And while I had seen clips of a good number of the scenes over the years, I had never previously seen the flick in its entirety.
While dated and with a predictable plot, the flick is a delight to watch, if primarily for Astaire’s dance numbers. Judy Garland merely supports him as his persona and performance dominate as soon as he starts singing a song and/or moving his feet.
It’s interesting how our initial impressions of people often color the way we see them. I’ll never be able to appreciate Fred Astaire quite as someone who first saw him on the silver screen in the 1930s when he and Ginger Rogers helped define the Hollywood musical comedy. But, even if I do see him as an old man who can dance, I’ll forever delight in his performances and marvel at his moves.