"...There is a good case for arguing that, in the event of a visit by creatures from a far universe, ignorant of the cinema, one would do best to show them some steps by Astaire as the clinching evidence of the medium's potential. Better that than the noble actors—Olivier, Jannings, Brando, Barrymore, et al. Astaire is the most refined human expression of the musical, which is in turn the extreme manifestation of pure cinema: the lifelike presentation of human beings in magical, dreamlike, and imaginary situations. That might be thought to imply that Astaire's dancing depends on illusion. Not so. He was always the most technically exacting and ambitious of screen dancers, the most eager to perform in uninterrupted setups..."

- David Thomson

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