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TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: Astaire and Rogers, Vol. 2 [4 Discs] [DVD]

  • SKU: 19482536
  • Release Date: 11/01/2011
  • Rating: NR
  • 5.0 (1)
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$14.99
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Overview

Ratings & Reviews

Overall Customer Rating:
5.0
100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (1 out of 1)

Special Features

  • Comedy short: Beer and Pretzels
  • Cartoon: I Like Mountain Music
  • Flying Down to Rio theatrical trailer
  • Musical short: Starlit Days at the Lido
  • Cartoon: The Calico Dragon
  • Audio-only bonus: Hollywood on the Air radio promo
  • Roberta theatrical trailer
  • Featurette: Follow the Fleet: The Origins of Those Dancing Feet
  • Musical short: Melody Master: jimmie Lunceford and His Dance Orchestra
  • Cartoon: Let It Be Me
  • Follow the Fleet theatrical trailer
  • Musical short: Happily Buried
  • Cartoon: Puss Gets the Boot
  • Closed Captioned

Synopsis

Flying Down to Rio
The top-billed stars in the extravagant RKO musical Flying Down to Rio are Dolores Del Rio and Gene Raymond. Forget all that: this is the movie that first teamed Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. We're supposed to care about the romantic triangle between aviator/bandleader Raymond, Brazilian heiress Del Rio and her wealthy fiance Raul Roulien, but the moment Fred and Ginger dance to a minute's worth of "The Carioca", the film is theirs forever. Other musical highlights include Rogers' opening piece "Music Makes Me" and tenor Roulien's lush rendition of "Orchids in the Moonlight". Then there's the title number. The plot has it that Del Rio' uncle has been prohibited from having a floor show at his lavish hotel because of a Rio city ordinance. Astaire and Raymond save the day by staging the climactic "Flying Down to Rio" number thousands of feet in the air, with hundreds of chorus girls shimmying and swaying while strapped to the wings of a fleet of airplanes. It is one of the most outrageously brilliant numbers in movie musical history, and one that never fails to incite a big round of applause from the audience--even audiences of the 1990s. Together with King Kong, Flying Down to Rio saved the fledgling RKO Radio studios from bankruptcy in 1933. The film was a smash everywhere it played, encouraging the studio to concoct future teamings of those two stalwart supporting players Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Beer and Pretzels
Starlit Days at the Lido
Puss Gets The Boot
I Like Mountain Music
Happily Buried
Roberta
Alice Duer Miller's novel Gowns by Roberta was adapted into the 1933 Broadway musical Roberta, with music by Jerome Kern and Otto Harbach. The 1935 filmization of Roberta was slightly adapted to accommodate the dancing talents of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, though their roles are secondary to the characters portrayed by Irene Dunne and Randolph Scott. Dunne plays a deposed White Russian princess who has become a famed Parisian couturier. Dunne is the partner of "Roberta" (Helen Westley), who passes away, leaving her half of the business to American football player Randolph Scott--who of course knows next to nothing about the gown business, and couldn't care less anyway. Astaire co-stars as bandleader Huck Haines, the character played by Bob Hope in the original Broadway production of Roberta. Rogers rounds out the cast as a phony Polish countess who happens to be Astaire's former girlfriend. Many of the songs written for Roberta were retained for the film version, including "Lovely to Look At," "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" and "I Won't Dance;" other tunes are heard as background music. Keep an eye out for a blond Lucille Ball as a fashion model. Withdrawn from circulation for many years due to the 1952 MGM remake (titled Lovely to Look At), Roberta began making the public-domain rounds in the early 1980s. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Let It Be Me
Follow the Fleet
This lesser Astaire/Rogers vehicle is one of several screen versions of the venerable Hubert Osborne stage play Shore Leave. For reasons unknown, Fred and Ginger are virtually supporting players here, spending most of their time trying to patch up the romance between Fred's fellow sailor Randolph Scott and Ginger's sister Harriet Hilliard (better known as Harriet Nelson, of Ozzie and Harriet fame). One of the sillier aspects of the plot hinges on raising enough money to renovate a broken-down old ship; to do this, Fred and Ginger stage a lengthy musical number that must have cost five times as much money as they raised! But that number, a languorous dance rendition of Irving Berlin's "Let's Face the Music and Dance", compensates for all the nonsense that has gone before. One fringe benefit of Follow the Fleet is spotting two fresh-faced starlets named Betty Grable and Lucille Ball. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Melody Master: Jimmie Lunceford and His Dance Orchestra
The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle
The last of RKO's Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers vehicles, The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle is also the least typical. At their best playing carefree characters in gossamer-thin musical comedy plotlines, Fred and Ginger seem slightly ill at ease cast as the real-life dancing team of Vernon and Irene Castle. The stripped-to-essentials storyline boils down to novice dancer Irene (Rogers) convincing vaudeville comic Vernon (Astaire) to give up slapstick in favor of "classy" ballroom dancing. With the help of agent Edna May Oliver, the Castles hit their peak of fame and fortune in the immediate pre-World War I years. When Vernon is called to arms, Irene stays behind in the US, making patriotic movie serials to aid the war effort. Vernon is killed in a training accident, leaving a tearful Irene to carry on alone. To soften the shock of Astaire's on-screen death (it still packs a jolt when seen today), RKO inserted a closing "dream" dancing sequence, with a spectral Vernon and Irene waltzing off into the heavens. The film's production was hampered by the on-set presence of the real Irene Castle, whose insistence upon accuracy at all costs drove everyone to distraction--especially Ginger Rogers, who felt as though she was being treated like a marionette rather than an actress. In one respect, Mrs. Castle had good reason to be so autocratic. Walter, the "severest critic servant" character played by Walter Brennan, was in reality a black man. RKO was nervous about depicting a strong, equal-footing friendship between the white Castles and their black retainer, so a Caucasian actor was hired for the role. Mrs. Castle was understandably incensed by this alteration, and for the rest of her days chastised RKO for its cowardice. As it turned out, it probably wouldn't have mattered if Walter had been black, white, Chicano or Siamese; The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle was a financial bust, losing $50,000 at the box office. Perhaps as a result, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers would not team up again for another ten years. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Follow the Fleet: The Origins of Those Dancing Feet
The Calico Dragon

Overall Customer Rating

(1 Review)
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