Yay for those technicolor Fox musicals of the 40s. I guess they'll always come in second to the MGM films, but Alice Faye's beautiful alto is a lot easier on the ear than Kathryn Grayson's or Jane Powell's trilling (not dissing the soprano's - "7 Brides for 7 brothers" might come in second or third on my list of favorite musicals). I'm indifferent about Betty Grable - maybe her legs were the only thing about her?How did I leave out any, or all, of those nicely sung, danced, beautifiully scored, funny and colorful Carmen Miranda, Betty Grable, Don Ameche, Alice Faye, John Payne, Charlotte Greenwood films like: DOWN ARGENTINE WAY, WEEKEND IN HAVANA, THE GANG`S ALL HERE and several more. Miranda (a force of nature) sort of copied earlier Lupe Velez, and now a tv actress has kind of copied Miranda`s linguistics and persona.
And while on the subject of Fox musicals, the black and white "Orchestra Wives" has Glenn MIller and the NIcholas brothers. It's hard to tell if it might appeal to you, but I really think the music and dance numbers in it should be required viewing to anyone interested in movie musicals.
But I'm taking Astaire's side on this.Astaire was known to be a perfectionist and not averse to taking charge of certain aspects of the filming; he always lay down the law when he believed he was right. Although officially uncredited, it is universally acknowledged he was the principal choreographer for the entire film series. Hermes Pan was in charge of big production numbers, and when he and Astaire worked out the other dances, Pan played Ginger. When the routine was all set, they showed it to Rogers. Beyond the actual steps, however, Astaire also supervised every other aspect of the development of a dance number from orchestration through final shooting and editing. He was particularly adamant about how a number should be filmed. He disliked interrupting the flow of the dance with unusual camera angles, cuts to the face or feet of the dancer, or reaction shots of people watching. In this film [Top Hat] and throughout his career, he insisted on keeping the camera at eye level with few changes in angles to focus attention on the dance rather than on camera technique. The dances were rarely broken up into segments that could be filmed in small bits at a time; as a result, multiple takes became arduous affairs that often lasted well into the night. At times Rogers' shoes had to be changed frequently because they would become stained with blood.