Have you ever seen Fred Astaire on screen when he is not impeccably dressed? Perhaps not. You always see him in his well-tailored suit, his top hat and tie, always the gentleman. Thin and lanky, a friend pointed out how Astaire looks like an old fairy. But Astaire wasn’t gay, but a married man, devoted to his wife.
Anyways, the point is, the best Fred Astaire number I like is ‘We are a couple of swells’ from the film Easter Parade. In the song, Astaire and his dancing partner Judy Garland appear as street urchins, dirty, in rags, with a missing tooth and a head full of hair, and Astaire looks maddeningly charming. At his handsomest best, in the most rugged way.
Apart from the number, Easter Parade is just another musical, a throwback on the ‘Pygmalion’ theme, eminently watchable, but nothing great.