Thursday, June 08, 2006

Wish I Could Dance Like That

"Fred Astaire, whatever he may do in whatever picture he is in, has the beat, the swing, the debonair and damn-your-eyes violence of rhythm, all the gay contradiction and irresponsibility, of the best thing this country can contribute to musical history, which is the best American jazz."

--Otis Ferguson, film critic at The New Republic 1936-1942, quoted in a review by Clive James of Philip Lopate's encyclopedic collection of film criticism. James admires the placement of the word "violence," but this seems wrong to me -- that "damn-your-eyes" has been ringing in my ears all week.

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