Produced by: Alan P. Sloane
Directed by: Marc Breaux
Written by: Draper Lewis
Production Company: Twentieth-Century Fox Television
Premiere: October 24, 1974
Synopsis: A compilation of musical numbers from Twentieth-Century Fox, hosted by Fred Astaire. Features the "Fox Blondes" including Betty Grable, plus other musical stars of the 1930s and 1940s. Fred is also seen in his only Fox movie, Daddy Long Legs with Leslie Caron.
Just got through reviewing a curious TV special that came out in 1974 (doubtless influenced by the hit success, That's Entertainment!). This special is entitled "Fred Astaire Salutes The Fox Musicals."
Fred intros this documentary (he actually does a few spins at the close...neatly done) by stating that "the key word to the Fox musicals is variety." Fred is correct. (And, deft writing on the part of the apologist writers for Fox!) When I think of the Fox musicals, I think of Betty Grable, June Haven, Ricardo Montalban, Monroe and Russell, and, once in while, the great Hermes Pan. Most studios of the day had distinctive genres within with they "crowed" and held reign (Univeral: horror; M-G-M: the musical; Warners: the gangster flick; Paramount: light comedy). Fox? Fred says the ticket was "variety." I wish to suggest that it was an earthbound approach to conceptualization and a corporate lack of identity. I spoke with Jack Haley Jr. once (1982) about the distinctions between the Warner Brothers orchestra and the M-G-M orchestra. But it is true. The music of the Warners films is quite distinct from that of Metro...over the course of time. The great studios (as with human beings) put their stamp upon what they do.
When I think of the Fox musicals, the word that always occurs to mind is: yawn. Just my opinion, that's all (which, I guess, is *my* stamp).
- Jay Hopkins