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The Nominees are.....

  1. Stanley Donen, Royal Wedding, Funny Face

  2. Rouben Mammoulian, Silk Stockings

  3. Vincente Minnelli, Yolanda and the Thief, Ziegfeld Follies, The Band Wagon

  4. Mark Sandrich, The Gay Divorcee, Top Hat, Follow The Fleet, Shall We Dance, Carefree, Holiday Inn

  5. Charles Walters, Easter Parade, The Barkleys of Broadway, The Belle Of New York

And The Winner Is.....

This was the most difficult category to choose. All the prominent directors have produced great movies and produced some duds. Vincente Minnelli's great artistic vision that produced The Band Wagon also resulted in the overblown Yolanda and the Thief. Mark Sandrich's careful planning, plotting and pacing that worked so well with a high quality script and high quality dances, as in Top Hat, falls apart when confronted with a bad script and uneven dances (Follow The Fleet). Charlie Walters was capable but his main contribution to his movies appears to have been to get out of the way of the actors, the script, and everyone else, and just make sure it all stayed on track. That worked fine with the stellar Easter Parade and the witty The Barkleys of Broadway, but The Belle Of New York needed a strong director to pull it out of the morass that was its third act.

Thus, the choice of best director goes to the man who seems most closely allied to Fred's vision of his movies, of his dances, and who consistently strove to create the best platform for his stars (in particular Fred) to showcase themselves despite the limitations of plot, music, and whatever else was thrown their way. AlsoDances.Net awards Best Director to...

Stanley Donen, Royal Wedding, Funny Face

Donen definitely had the most fluid camera work. In his movies the camera keeps up with Fred, moving constantly to frame him perfectly but cutting only as necessary. He consistently exploited the camera as a tool to enhance the dancing, instead of keeping it stationary. "Sunday Jumps" is a good example of his movement- across the gym, tracking in and out, and up on a crane and back down smoothly with a minimum of cutting. Donen's use of filters and colours in Funny Face (in collaboration with Richard Avedon) is the high point in cinematography from Fred's movies. The outdoor dancing scenes ("He Loves and She Loves" and "S'Wonderful") provide a perfect example as they are shot through hazy filters and wide angle lenses to provide a romantic, surrealistic atmosphere and great depth. They also work to conceal Fred's wrinkles!

Also, it was Donen who was most attuned the Fred's want and needs- perhaps because he himself began as a dancer on Broadway. Fred's animation of the coat rack was in no small part aided by his director, and they topped all of Gene Kelly's attempts at animation without using a single cel. They also created "You're All The World To Me," the dance where Fred, after all the years of threatening to break free of gravity, finally did. Seven shots, one necessitated by a need to reload the camera, comprise the entire finished sequence. Mueller's "Astaire Dancing" provides an excellent shooting log of the sequence, allowing us to see the careful planning and the invention that went into creating the number. It took only two days.

What do you think? Vote for your choice!

Next Category: Best Musical Picture 

Last Updated on Monday, 12 October 2009 10:46