July 26, 2016
My NEW Taki’s column: The great ones make it look hard
Not sure why they changed my rather obvious headline. I have NO prediction as to the “JOOOOO!!!”-yness of the comments…
Yet rewatching That’s Entertainment last week reinforced my choice of Astaire’s nearest rival for the title of Hollywood’s greatest hoofer: Gene Kelly. It’s not just that the stockier, handsomer Kelly looks more capable of handling a fight, a football, and a flat. Sure, viewers allergic to ham and corn will sneer at his occasional feints in the direction of Chaplinesque bathos. But seeing the climax of Kelly’s “La Cumparsita” routine in Anchors Aweigh once more, followed immediately by that of “Pirate Ballet,” I heard myself say to my husband:
“All Fred Astaire does is go around and around. At least Gene Kelly goes somewhere.”
Puerile? Pedestrian? Guilty. I’m just not a romantic. “Love and work…” wrote Freud, “that’s all there is.” I simply find the former less engaging than the latter and, well, love that Kelly’s labors aren’t cloaked.