- ► 2018 (109)
- ► 2017 (159)
- ► 2016 (172)
- ► 2015 (127)
- ► 2014 (118)
- ► 2013 (124)
- ► 2012 (147)
- Victor Heermann | Animal Crackers
- Irwyn Franklin | Harlem Is Heaven
- Thornton Freeland | Flying Down to Rio
- Mark Sandrich | Top Hat
- Roy Del Ruth | Broadway Melody of 1936 / Norman Ta...
- Victor Fleming, George Cukor, and Mervyn LeRoy | T...
- Michael Curtiz | Yankee Doddle Dandy
- Andrew L. Stone | Stormy Weather
- Busby Berkeley | The Gang's All Here
- Charles Walters | Easter Parade
- Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger | The Red Sh...
- Stanley Donen | Royal Wedding
- Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly | Singing in the Rain...
- George Sidney | Kiss Me, Kate
- Vicente Minnelli | Brigadoon
- Michael Curtiz | White Christmas
- Richard Quine | My Sister Eileen
- Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly | It's Always Fair We...
- H. C. Potter | Three for the Show
- Fred Zinnemann | Oklahoma!
- Walter Lang | The King and I
- George Abbott and Stanley Donen | The Pajama Game
- George Abbott and Stanley Donen | Damn Yankees
- Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise | West Side Story
- Morton DaCosta | The Music Man
- Carol Reed | Oliver
- Allan Dwan | Robin Hood
- ▼ July (27)
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Stanley Donen | Royal Wedding
FRED ASTAIRE, THE CEILING DANCE
by Douglas Messerli
Alan Jay Lerner (story and screenplay), Stanley Donen (director) Royal Wedding / 1951
Perhaps the most famous of all film dances, the so-called "Ceiling Dance" of Royal Wedding, is less a spectacular feat of dancing—although Astaire performs with his usual panache—than it is a technical wonder, so well it is achieved by both dancer and designers that it is, at first, difficult to even conceive how the overjoyed Tom Bowen (Astaire), could move from the flat floor of his hotel room up the wall and onto the ceiling, to gradually dance back down again, and up once more, balancing his body on paintings, wall-hangings, and even the chandeliers.
In reality what we are seeing is a room enclosed in a framed wheel that is gradually turned, with the dancer timing his leaps within the slow movement of the rectangular room. The furniture and other trappings are clearly attached into position and, accordingly, are unable to move, allowing Astaire to pretend to balance his head on the back of a chair, climb the desk up the wall, etc.
Some claim the idea was Lerner's, others insist it was Astaire's. But the fact is that it could not have been achieved without Donen's near flawless direction and Astaire's perfect timing, appearing to leap as brilliantly as Spider Man might today. But Spider Man, after all, has his webs to help him, ropes and pulleys. Astaire had only a machine which created a delusion within which he tapped, twirled, jumped, and turned upon his legs.
Los Angeles, September 7, 2011