Song of the Day #4,442: ‘Cheek to Cheek’ – Fred Astaire

Continuing my personal ranking of the 25 movie musicals deemed essential by the American Film Institute…

#13. 42nd Street – 1933
(#13 on the AFI list)

The oldest film on the list, and one of three I have slotted in the same position as AFI. I wrote about this one back in June.

#12. Top Hat – 1935
(#15 on the AFI list)

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers each appear in two movies on this list, but this is the only one that features the iconic duo together.

Astaire and Rogers starred in ten movies as a pair, and 1935’s Top Hat — their fourth collaboration — was the most successful.

Featuring songs by Irving Berlin, this screwball comedy has a lightweight plot (basically, Rogers mistakenly believes Astaire is her friend’s husband, and is therefore horrified by his interest in her) but makes up for it with some wonderful song-and-dance routines.

Best among those is ‘Cheek to Cheek,’ one of the most famous routines the duo ever performed, and one that has been referenced in many movies since (including the lovely, bittersweet ending of Woody Allen’s The Purple Rose of Cairo).

Top Hat was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Song (for ‘Cheek to Cheek’). This song lost to ‘Lullaby of Broadway’ from the film Gold Diggers of 1935. Berlin would be nominated in the category five more times, winning once for ‘White Christmas,’ which appeared in another Astaire film, 1942’s Holiday Inn.

Heaven, I’m in Heaven
And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak;
And I seem to find the happiness I seek
When we’re out together dancing, cheek to cheek

Heaven, I’m in Heaven
And the cares that hung around me thro’ the week
Seem to vanish like a gambler’s lucky streak
When we’re out together dancing, cheek to cheek

Oh! I love to climb a mountain
And to reach the highest peak
But it doesn’t thrill me half as much
As dancing cheek to cheek

Oh! I love to go out fishing
In a river or a creek
But I don’t enjoy it half as much
As dancing cheek to cheek

Dance with me
I want my arm about you;
The charm about you
Will carry me thro’ to Heaven

I’m in Heaven
And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak;
And I seem to find the happiness I seek
When we’re out together dancing cheek to cheek

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,442: ‘Cheek to Cheek’ – Fred Astaire

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I know the song well, but had no idea from what movie it came, nor had I ever seen the famous dance routine before now. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Amy says:

    Watching this scene today, it occurs to me that this journey you embarked on was decidedly more pleasant than had you opted to watch the top 25 horror films, say (here’s hoping that’s not the next theme you explore! :). I remember thinking The Artist was calling this scene to mind … I’m going to have to go back to watch it again now.

  3. Peg says:

    Such class, grace and style. Nice way to start the day. Thank you ❤️

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