Astaire/Jacko mashup video: Smooth Criminal

Richard sez, "A fan of both Fred Astaire and Michael Jackson has cut this short film in the hope of introducing new generations to Astaire and the influence he had on Jackson."
I love both Astaire and Michael Jackson. I want young people to know Astaire stuff, that is why I made this. The video features scenes from the Girl Hunt ballet in The Band Wagon (1953) starring Astaire and Cyd Charisse (those supreme legs!! The most perfect body a woman could have. So sensual, so elegant), to which MJ gave homage in his Smooth Criminal vid (also in a performance of Get Happy on the Jacksons show in the 70s as well as You Rock My World in 2001), and, as an intro, a sequence from Daddy Long Legs (1955) featuring Leslie Caron (in motion pictures, you mustn't put a coin into a jukebox in an ordinary way!).
Link (Thanks, Richard!)


  1. Don’t forget that MJ’s signature “moonwalk” is something performers like Sammy Davis, Jr. did for decades before, too.

    MJ was one of the first to successfully incorporate choreography into his music videos. Unfortunately, as time goes on, music has become almost incidental to these lavish productions, which explains why videos downloads are more popular than music downloads for some titles, and why they started selling music videos in the first place, instead of continuing to release them for free.

  2. Nice illustration of where the inspiration for that video came from, and nice illustration of the fact that storytelling in dance is older than music videos.

    Reminds me how much I liked Astare’s work.

    Also, indirectly, reminds me of how good Jackson used to be, before star syndrome burned him out. He hit it big VERY young, hit the top still young, was instrumental in creating an entire new medium… and I get the distinct impression that he lost himself along the way. I pity him, in a poor-little-rich-kid kind of way…

  3. That was astounding.
    Yes. YES!
    Fred Astaire is Cool!
    Grandma, You were right!
    And I find now that the youtubes are full of Astaire!

  4. I’m surprised there wasn’t an example of Fred Astaire’s signature chair-flip-thing. Still, great stuff.

  5. Sweet vid! This is an amazingly catchy song and I like how a lot of the visuals worked in sync. Great editing — I wonder, was any time compression or expansion used?

  6. Okay, bring Astaire to the youth, but you might reach more youth if you used a video that was made AFTER the youth were born. For anyone young today, Smooth Criminal is equivalently ancient to any Fred Astaire movie.

    If you were born when Smooth Criminal came out (1987), you are already graduating from college.

  7. The Astaire estate is one of the most vicious copyright monsters in entertainment. They rather notoriously refuse to allow documentarians to use Astaire footage, although they didn’t have much problem selling Fred into a vacuum cleaner commercial.

  8. Brooklyntwang is probably right – it sort of scares me the number of things which still seem new to me which are painfully old, but aside from that: the video was awesome. Thank you Cory for posting it.

  9. A drunk walks into a Texas oil patch bar during the boom days. There’s a bunch of ‘roughnecks’ at the other end, drinking and laughing it up”. “What’s goin’ on? “he asks the bartender.”
    “It’s Red Adair,” the bartender says,”the great oil field fire fighter—the boys are asking him questions”
    “Is that right? Well I gotta question.”
    “Go ahead,” says the bartender, “he’s in a good mood.”
    “Hey, Red, Red Adair!” the drunk yells.
    “Yes?” says the big man.
    “Were you fucking Ginger Rogers?”

  10. So can an Astaire/Charisse fan confirm, is the dance w/ the red dress sequence from THE BAND WAGON?

    That is amazing!!!

    It shows how impoverished our culture is…why can’t fashion grow up a little…anway, I’m going to rent whatever film has that sequence.


  11. There’s something refreshing about seeing flippant cigarette smoking in a family flick. This coming from a guy who hates tobacco as much as anybody else.

  12. Wow, I never knew the Smooth Criminal video was a tribute to Astaire! This is great, full of win.

  13. I dunno, Michael Jackson was never that good. Seems like a crime to install his pop crap over a classic movie.
    Whatever floats your DAW.

  14. That was pretty good. Similarly to what was said above, it underscores just how stupid our modern culture really is, by comparison.

  15. Anyone notice “Catwoman” Julie Newmar/Newmeyer? She was one of the girls who flashes Astaire a “look” when he walks in.

  16. @#14 Already done:

    Although I agree that MJ was brilliant, I would need convincing that he was the force behind the homage to earlier great dancers. I would guess that it was the director and/or producer that would be responsible for these kinds of ideas.

  17. No need to be using this to bash modern culture, but it was an absolutely remarkable video

  18. Absolutely fantastic… loved the synchronization of Astaire’s moves to the Jackson beat. God, those old classic movies look so good!

    Also, Cyd Charisse is gorgeous. What grace!

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