- SKU: 2517045
- Release Date: 11/02/2010
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Ratings & Reviews
- Closed Captioned
Hotel á La Swing
The sixth of RKO's Fred Astaire -Ginger Rogers pairings of the 1930s, Swing Time starts off with bandleader Astaire getting cold feet on his wedding day. Astaire's bride-to-be Betty Furness will give him a second chance, providing he proves himself responsible enough to earn $25,000. Astaire naturally tries to avoid earning that amount once he falls in love with dance instructor Ginger Rogers. Numerous complications ensue, leading to the "second time's the charm" climax, with Ginger escaping her own wedding to wealthy Georges Metaxa in order to be reunited with Astaire. The film's most indelible image is that of Fred Astaire, immaculately attired in top hat and tails, hopping a freight car--a perfect encapsulation of the film's Depression-era cheekiness. The Jerome Kern-Dorothy Fields score includes such standards-to-be as "Pick Yourself Up," "A Fine Romance," "The Way You Look Tonight," "Never Gonna Dance" and "Bojangles of Harlem." The peerless supporting cast of Swing Time includes Helen Broderick, Victor Moore, Eric Blore, and Landers Stevens, the actor-father of the film's director, George Stevens. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
One of the best of the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers musicals, Top Hat centers on a typical mistaken-identity plot, with wealthy Dale Tremont (Rogers), on holiday in London and Venice, assuming that American entertainer Jerry Travers (Astaire) is the husband of her friend Madge (Helen Broderick) -- who's actually the wife of Jerry's business manager Horace Hardwick (Edward Everett Horton). Complicating matters is Dale's jealous suitor Beddini (Erik Rhodes), whose motto is "For the woman the kiss -- for the man the sword." Beddini is disposed of by some last-minute chicanery on the part of Jerry's faithful valet Bates (Eric Blore), paving the way for the happy ending everyone knew was coming from the opening scene. The Irving Berlin score includes "Cheek to Cheek," "Isn't it a Lovely Day?," and the jaunty title song. The charisma of the stars, the chemistry of the supporting players, the white-telephone art direction of Van Nest Polglaise, the superlative choreography by Astaire and Hermes Pan, and the effervescent direction of Mark Sandrich all combine to make Top Hat a winner. Originally released at 101 minutes, the film was for many years available only in its 93-minute reissue form; it has since been restored archivally to 99 minutes. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Toy Town Hall
Watch the Birdie
Shake Your Powder Puff
The Gay Divorcee
Based on Dwight Taylor and Cole Porter's play of the same name, The Gay Divorcee centers on Mimi (Ginger Rogers), a woman seeking a divorce from her husband. Mimi travels to an English seaside resort, pursued by the love-stricken Guy (Fred Astaire), whom she mistakes for the hired correspondent in her divorce case. Among the many musical numbers featured are "Night and Day," the only song from the original Broadway musical included in the film, and "The Continental," which won the first ever Academy Award for Best Song. Directed by Mark Sandrich, the film features supporting performances by Alice Brady and Edward Everett Horton. ~ Matthew Tobey, Rovi
On Top: Inside the Success of Top Hat
Page Miss Glory
Hardly a typical Tex Avery effort (indeed, Avery doesn't even receive a screen credit), Page Miss Glory is instead a fascinating exercise in 1930s Art Deco. It all begins as the town of Hicksville prepares for a visit by the celebrated Miss Glory, with no one more excited than Abner, the gangly bellhop at the local hotel. In a dream sequence designed by celebrated magazine illustrator Lenore Congdon, Abner imagines a musical reception for Miss Glory at the ultra-sophisticated "Cosmopolitan Hotel" in New York. What follows is an eye-popping melange of Astaire-like chorus boys dancing in forced-perspective unison, dazzling neon-light pyrotechnics, and surrealistic champagne bottles emptying into streamlined martini glasses--all in glorious Technicolor. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Star Night at the Cocoanut Grove
Shall We Dance?
The seventh of RKO's Fred Astaire--Ginger Rogers musicals, Shall We Dance casts Astaire as a world-renowned ballet dancer and Rogers as a musical comedy headliner. Rogers' manager Jerome Cowan concocts a phony romance between his client and Astaire in order to garner publicity for them both. Eventually, of course, the twosome falls in love for real, but not before a cornucopia of confusion, complications and misunderstandings. Highlights include a number performed on roller skates and Astaire's dance solo in the art-deco boiler room of an ocean liner. The George and Ira Gershwin score (their last for Astaire and Rogers) includes "Slap That Bass," "Beginner's Luck," "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off," "They All Laughed," "They Can't Take That Away From Me," and the title number. Shall We Dance was slated as the last of the Fred-and-Ginger romps, but within a year they were together again in Carefree. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Sheik to Sheik
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