Smooth Criminal is the seventh single from Michael Jackson’s 1987 Bad album. Jackson originally wanted to make the music video in the western genre, but he later decided after watching “The Third Man” with Director Colin Chilvers to change it to a 1930s gangster style. Jeffrey Daniel of the soul music group Shalamar co-choreographed the Smooth Criminal video with Jackson and Vincent Paterson, who was a back-up dancer in Beat It and Thriller.
The dance sequence of the video in the 1930s style lounge (and Jackson’s white suit and fedora) pays tribute to the Fred Astaire musical comedy film The Band Wagon. Jackson and some of the dancers around him perform a seemingly impossible forward lean. For the video, this was done using harness cables. To accomplish this maneuver for stage performances, though, Jackson co-patented a hitching mechanism which was built into the floor of the stage and the performer’s shoes.
Michael Jackson – Smooth Criminal