Friday, March 21, 2008

A Ticket to "Heaven"

Although it didn’t end up in the top two of JA’s Make Me Watch A Musical survey, I wanted to give a special ‘shout out’ to the gorgeous Top Hat, one of my favorite Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers musicals. While JA won’t be watching it this weekend, I hope he’ll put it in his queue for future viewing.

In thinking about this lovely cinematic confection, my mind leaps to a moment in another great film, Woody Allen’s The Purple Rose of Cairo. Nathaniel has written about it very eloquently in the past and I must say I share his passion.

The specific scene I’m thinking of beautifully captures the transformative power of movies. Mia Farrow’s character Cecilia, dejected and disappointed, seeks comfort in those images on the screen. She finds that solace in Top Hat.

While Fred and Ginger can’t change the world around her, they can--at least temporarily--take her outside of herself and to another place.

Here’s the wonderful “Cheek to Cheek” scene from the film. I must warn you that if you haven’t seen it before, you may want to save this for another time since it’s the highpoint. But those of you who choose to indulge will probably have a wistful look on your face by the time this clip is finished. Enjoy:

And that’s why I love movies. What transports you?


Deborah said...

Actually, what transports me is that scene. In all of filmdom, that scene transports me with more certainty than anything else. I think that feathered dress is the greatest costume in film, too.

gabrieloak said...

I recommended Top Hat and Singin' in the Rain to JA. Both these films sre more magical to me than West Side Story.

Jason Adams said...

Don't worry, Top Hat lovers! I opened some flood gate within my boyfriend by bringing up Fred Astaire and he's going to make sure I see Top Hat very soon.

As for right this minute... I am sitting here with West Side Story in my hands and TREMBLING WITH FEAR.

Dr. S said...

My mom always used to tell me about that scene--how Fred Astaire made them practice it so many times that Ginger Rogers's shoes were filled with blood and feathers. And yet it's still beautiful. But Singin' in the Rain utterly transports me, start to finish--and particularly the fantasy sequence with Cyd Charisse, holy cow. And the ease and liquidity of the title song scene.

And some of WSS's dance sequences--"America," the dance at the gym, "Cool"--are simply stunning, simply astounding. I have pretty much always wanted to grow up to be Rita Moreno.

gabrieloak said...

JA--Also consider watching Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Great athletic dancing with a memorable Lonesome Polecat number.

Anonymous said...

Though Top Hat in itself is one of my favorite musicals, that scene in particular remains one of my favorite romantic scenes in any film. I'm not sure who is swooning more during it. The characters or me.