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Achievement in Camerawork: Fred Astaire and Stanley Donen, "You're All The World To Me", Royal Wedding

After all those years of threatening to look gravity in the eye and defy it, Fred finally achieves what we all knew he was capable of all along. He floats up and walks along the walls, the ceiling, hopping over the lights and balancing on his head. The "Squirrel Cage' or "Iron Lung", as the device is both known as, strapped the camera man steady while tilting the room. Everything had to be nailed down, and everything had to be carefully arranged. It is not only a marvel of invention, it is also a logistical triumph.

Achievement in Optical Effects: Fred Astaire, Hermes Pan, David Robel, Charles Lang, William E. Snyder, Stuart Heisler, "Puttin' On The Ritz", Blue Skies

Several numbers Fred did prior to this one involved a male chorus, but he professed that he didn't like it because the chorus limited him. He finally solved the problem in a spectacular way in this movie, by creating an entire chorus that could keep up with him.

The trick is both cinematographic and choreographic. Fred performed the dance in several different ways to the same track, timing everything to synchronise. He and Hermes Pan created a dance that showcased the chorus and emhasised the different movements. When they were ready they went before the camera several times to shoot the different dances. Finally it was optically combined to create the dance we see on film.

Achievement in Optical Effects: Fred Astaire and Hermes Pan, "Bojangles Of Harlem", Swing Time

Another optical trick, but this was the first of Fred's career. By first shooting Fred's dancing three times, then converting it to shadows and combining it with Fred dancing live, the unforgettable scene of Fred out-dancing his own shadows was created.

Achievement in Special Effects: Fred Astaire, Mark Sandrich and Danny Dare, "Say It With Firecrackers", Holiday Inn

In the script, Fred comes up with the number on the fly, improvising by grabbing some firecrackers. In reality, director Sandrich notes that it took him over fifty takes to achieve the correct effect. Explosives, triggered by the offscreen Danny Dare, were set in the floor and timed to Fred's movements. Fred used animation sparingly for the smoke effects and is richly rewarded with a realism that could not be achieved by animation alone.

Next Category: Best Partner (Dancing)

Last Updated on Monday, 12 October 2009 10:30