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  • The Belle of New York is a 1952 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Hollywood musical comedy film set in New York circa 1900 and stars Fred Astaire, Vera-Ellen, Alice Pearce, Marjorie Main and Keenan Wynn, with music by Harry Warren and lyrics by Johnny Mercer. The film was directed by Charles Walters. This whimsical musical failed at the box office and impressed few critics at the time, mainly due to the nature of the plot which empowers lovers to float free of the influence of gravity - a conceit reprised in the 1999 film Simply Irresistible. Astaire was reluctant to take the project - he was originally supposed to play the role in 1946 but had avoided it through retirement. Clearly stung by its failure, Astaire later claimed that the dance routines - of which there are more than usual - are of a particularly high standard - a rare verdict from such a notoriously self-critical artist. Vera-Ellen is generally viewed as one of Astaire's most technically proficient dance partners, and this was a factor in his readiness to expand the dance content of the film beyond its traditional proportions.

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