Steps in Time: An Autobiography Paperback – 5 Aug 2008
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."..brimming over with fresh and amusing anecdotes..."--New York Times
"Mr. Astaire's writing, like his dancing, is precise and debonair..."--The New Yorker
."..as easy and as effervescent as his own personable way of dancing."--New York Herald Tribune
..".brimming over with fresh and amusing anecdotes..."--New York Times
..".as easy and as effervescent as his own personable way of dancing."--New York Herald Tribune
Mr. Astaire s writing, like his dancing, is precise and debonair... --The New Yorker"
...brimming over with fresh and amusing anecdotes... --New York Times"
...as easy and as effervescent as his own personable way of dancing. --New York Herald Tribune"
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Top Customer Reviews
His sister Adele used to call him "Moaning Minnie" because he was never satisfied with anything. In other words he was a perfectionist. Once established as a Hollywood star, he had the clout to arrange filming schedules to suit his preferred way of working. All the main scenes with other actors and performers would be filmed first; this might take a couple of months. Then he'd spend weeks more after everyone else had left the set, polishing his solo routines so they could be filmed last. In this way he ensured his performances never fell below his own high standards.
Another remarkable thing is that he always wanted to try something new. In The Band Wagon (1953) his big routine with Cyd Charisse was unlike anything he'd done before: hard-boiled and (by the standards of the day) edgy. At the time of filming he'd already been a professional performer for something like 45 years (he and his sister were child stars in vaudeville) so it was remarkable he was still innovating, and still dancing as well as when he was 25 - or perhaps better.
I doubt many people today realise what a dance genius Astaire was. Every now and then you hear someone referred to as "Fred Astaire on speed" or some such nonsense (Michael Jackson was one of the first). The ability to bust a few moves is not the same as sustaining the highest level of sublime artistry - on stage and on screen - for more than half a century.Read more ›
It's a bit disappointing then, on reading Fred's interesting autobiography, that he very quickly wanted out of the team and his references to Ginger are quite dismissive. I would have liked him to have given her a bit more credit. I think he did in later life: "She had guts" etc. I still love to watch them dance - particularly Waltz in Swing Time and Night and Day. You do feel that there is a rapport.
The autobiography is the real man - not the light-footed happy-go-lucky chap of the movies but the perfectionist worrier trying not to "blow his top". It is interesting to read of his progress from child performer to twenties stage star and then film star, in his own straightforward words. I enjoyed it.
Fred had his fair share of tragedy especially the time when he lost his beloved wife Phyliss and he describes this terrible time in his life with sadness but never pity. Through all of his many stories he is never less than interesting and has the knack of saying just enough without ever boring the reader.
This is a very entertaining read from a true star and gives you a good idea of the early days of the theatre and of Hollywood. For what it's worth, I consider him to be the best dancer ever and this is a fitting book to a true movie legend.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I can tell just by flicking through this book that I am going to enjoy reading it, who wouldn't? It arrived in relatively good condition.Published 8 months ago by Teresa Twilton
Would have loved more detail. Sad that we don't have the remainderof his life story. Read "Turn left at the Black Cow" by his son in law.Published on 6 Aug. 2014 by Mrs audrey woodward
Naturally I'm fascinated about the man and how he became a dancer and being bit of a book snob in terms of nice print I was disappointed in that aspect in fact the prints awful. Read morePublished on 6 Nov. 2013 by Scratch'n' Pick
I think this book conveys just how talented and dedicated to his art Fred Astaire was. Lovely insight into the 1930's and 1940's.Published on 1 Jun. 2013 by Ronan
This book was given as a gift and has provided the reader with a very interesting insight into the life of one of the worlds greatest and gifted entertainers.Published on 10 May 2013 by Gillian
I like lots of Fred's films and really admire his work. This book was really interesting and a good insight to his life. I especially enjoyed reading about his time in England.Published on 19 Feb. 2013 by Emily