Last week we talked about how great a dancer Gene Kelly was, so it’s only fair that I sing the praises of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, especially as today is the 78th anniversary of the release of their best film, Swing Time. When it comes to Golden Age Hollywood musicals, Singin’ In The Rain‘s blend of music, comedy and dance makes it the best, but without a doubt Swing Time has the better soundtrack.
Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields’ songs for Swing Time make up what’s probably the best collection of songs ever written for one movie. Almost every one of the film’s songs has become a staple of the “Great American Songbook,” including the beautiful ballad “The Way You Look Tonight,” an amazing love song that is one of the finest winners of the Academy Award for Best Original Song, and the damn funny tale of love gone sour “A Fine Romance.” It’s amazing that 77 years later these songs are still playing an active role in pop culture. Don’t believe me? Well, the Nat King Cole recording of Swing Time‘s first number, “Pick Yourself Up,” served as the score to an unforgettable sequence in Breaking Bad last season.
Of course these songs would be nothing without the people who made them famous: Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers who bring a real sense of romance to the film. So, if you want to give your life a little vintage Hollywood class this week, might I suggest watching Swing Time while sipping on a nice Ginger Rogers cocktail? Although the drink’s name is an obvious tribute to the actress-dancer who famously did everything Fred did, but backwards and in high heels, its name seems to be more of a commentary on its ingredients. If you like the taste of ginger, then you will probably love this drink.
- 8 to 12 mint leaves
- 1/2 ounce ginger simple syrup
- 1 1/2 ounces Gin
- 1/2 ounce lime juice
- ginger ale
Place the mint leaves in the bottom of a Tom Collins glass. Pour the ginger simple syrup in and muddle the syrup and mint together. Fill the glass with ice, then pour in the remaining ingredients, and then top with ginger ale. Stir with a bar spoon and garnish with a lime wedge.
Tomorrow: The King Of Comics!