Film Series

June 03 - June 28, 2007
Also Dances: The Films of Fred Astaire

Phyllis Wattis Theater

Hollywood legend reports notes from an early Fred Astaire screen test for RKO Pictures as reading, "Can't act. Slightly bald. Also dances." And dance he did. Astaire broke with existing formulae for musical films and offered a purer, freer alternative to the spectacular and highly regimented productions of Busby Berkeley and others. His work is distinctive for the minimal camera movement required to film his body in action - dances often were recorded in a single shot by a stationary camera - and for the ways in which song-and-dance is fully integrated into the narrative. The major part of Astaire's movie career, from the mid-1930s to the mid-1950s, spans the Depression through World War II and the political antagonisms of the Cold War; typically romantic and comic, his films provided an escape in dark times and became essential to the cultural memory of 20th-century America.

This series is presented in conjunction with Martin Munkacsi: Think While You Shoot! Astaire and Mukacsi were both great artists of the body in movement. Working in the same time period of the 1930s and 1940s, they represent the escapist culture of America in those decades.

$7 general; $5 SFMOMA members. Does not include Museum admission.
Double features: Films offered on the same date are included in one ticket. Tickets are available at the Museum (with no surcharge) or online.

Film at SFMOMA is generously supported by the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation and Carla Emil and Rich Silverstein.

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Past

Buy tickets Double Feature
Flying Down to Rio, Thornton Freeland, 1933, 89 min.
The Gay Divorcee, Mark Sandrich, 1934, 107 min.

Flying Down to Rio
2:00 p.m.
Remember the chorus girls dancing on the wings of the airplane? Just the second film for Astaire, this classic is a perfect example of the American…

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Flying Down to Rio, Thornton Freeland, 1933, 89 min.
The Gay Divorcee, Mark Sandrich, 1934, 107 min.

Flying Down to Rio
6:30 p.m.
Remember the chorus girls dancing on the wings of the airplane? Just the second film for Astaire, this classic is a perfect example of the American…

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Buy tickets Double Feature
Top Hat, Mark Sandrich, 1935, 101 min.
Swing Time, George Stevens, 1936, 103 min.

Top Hat
2:00 p.m.
This is quintessential Fred and Ginger - "He gave her style, and she gave him sex," Katharine Hepburn famously said - and it stands with Swing Time as their very…

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Buy tickets Double Feature
Top Hat, Mark Sandrich, 1935, 101 min.
Swing Time, George Stevens, 1936, 103 min.

Top Hat
6:30 p.m.
This is quintessential Fred and Ginger - "He gave her style, and she gave him sex," Katharine Hepburn famously said - and it stands with Swing Time as their very…

Read more
Buy tickets Double Feature
You'll Never Get Rich, Sidney Lanfield, 1941, 88 min.
The Sky's the Limit, Edward H. Griffith, 1943, 89 min.

You'll Never Get Rich
6:30 p.m.
Featuring Rita Hayworth in her first major role, this film put her on the cover of Life magazine and made her the preeminent sex icon (and wartime…

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Buy tickets Double Feature
You'll Never Get Rich, Sidney Lanfield, 1941, 88 min.
The Sky's the Limit, Edward H. Griffith, 1943, 89 min.

You'll Never Get Rich
2:00 p.m.
Featuring Rita Hayworth in her first major role, this film put her on the cover of Life magazine and made her the preeminent sex icon (and wartime…

Read more
Buy tickets Double Feature
The Band Wagon, Vincente Minnelli, 1953, 103 min.
Funny Face, Stanley Donen, 1957, 103 min.

The Band Wagon
6:30 p.m.
Astaire partners with Cyd Charisse in arguably the greatest of the MGM musicals of that era. He plays an aging singer and dancer trying to relaunch his…

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