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Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon Exclusive Astaire & Rogers Partial Ultimate Collector's Edition (Flying Down to Rio / The Gay Divorcee / Roberta / Carefree / The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle)

4.5 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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(Oct 24, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

2006 marks the arrival of five Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers films (Flying Down to Rio, The Gay Divorcee, Roberta, Carefree, and The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle) on DVD after the first five were released in 2005. The big package is Astaire & Rogers Ultimate Collector's Edition, which contains all 10 films plus a CD, a bonus DVD with the documentary Astaire and Rogers: Partners in Rhythm, press-book replicas, and some other material. If you want the big package with the extra stuff but already bought the five films in 2005, you can get this Astaire & Rogers Partial Ultimate Collector's Edition, which includes everything except the actual discs of those first five films. Or, if you only want the five new films, pick up Astaire & Rogers Collection, Vol. 2 as a bookend to Astaire & Rogers Collection, Vol. 1.

Flying Down to Rio (1933) headlined Dolores Del Rio and Gene Raymond, but it was the fourth- and fifth-billed stars who would rewrite cinematic history. Astaire and Rogers had limited screen time, but were still able to establish many of the trademarks of their later films. The heart of the film is "The Carioca," a company dance extravaganza in which they take the floor together for the first time; their eyes meet and their foreheads touch. Their dance lasts only a few minutes, but it was the highlight of the film and audiences wanted more. The Gay Divorcee (1934) is their best early picture, a loose adaptation of Astaire's stage show, The Gay Divorce. The only song retained for the movie is Cole Porter's smash hit "Night and Day," which is the setting for a sublime pas de deux between Fred and Ginger. The closer is the sprawling 17-minute ensemble number "The Continental." Roberta (1935) was a step backward, with too much time spent on 1930s Parisian fashion and the romance between top-billed Irene Dunne (who gets the best Jerome Kern ballads, "Yesterdays" and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes") and Randolph Scott. But as the second-banana couple Astaire and Rogers still get a tap battle, a romantic duet, and plenty of comic banter.

The eighth and ninth entries in the series tried some different approaches, with the underrated Carefree (1938) more of a comedy vehicle for Ginger (yet still including some fine dances and Irving Berlin songs as well as their first onscreen kiss) and The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (1939) portraying the pair as historical dancing stars and using a score of turn-of-the-century standards. --David Horiuchi

Special Features

  • Includes:
  • Flying Down to Rio (1933)
  • Vintage comedy short: "Beer and Pretzels" with Ted Healy and His Stooges
  • Classic cartoon: "I Like Mountain Music"
  • Theatrical trailer
  • The Gay Divorcee (1934)
  • Two vintage musical shorts: "Show Kids" and "Star Night at the Cocoanut Grove"
  • Classic cartoon: "Shake Your Powder Puff"
  • Audio-only bonus: "Hollywood on the Air" radio promo
  • Roberta (1935)
  • Vintage musical short: "Starlit Days at the Lido"
  • Classic cartoon: "The Calico Dragon"
  • Carefree (1938)
  • Vintage musical short: "Public Jitterbug No. 1"
  • Classic cartoon: "September in the Rain"
  • The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (1939)
  • Vintage musical short: "Happily Buried"
  • Classic cartoon: "Puss Gets the Boot"
  • Astaire and Rogers: Partners in Rhythm (bonus disc)
  • Bonus audio CD with 10 soundtrack songs from the team's movies
  • Collectible behind-the-scenes photo cards
  • Reproductions of the original Shall We Dance and Roberta press books
  • Mail-in offer for four Astaire and Rogers movie posters
  • Note: This edition is designed for customers who already purchased Astaire & Rogers Collection, Vol. 1.  It contains all the content of Astaire & Rogers Ultimate Collection except the actual DVDs of Top Hat, Follow the Fleet, Swing Time, Shall We Dance, and The Barkleys of Broadway.  However, the Thinpak cases for those discs are included in this set.

Product Details

  • Actors: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Box set, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: October 24, 2006
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000HEW0S4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #360,431 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about " Exclusive Astaire & Rogers Partial Ultimate Collector's Edition (Flying Down to Rio / The Gay Divorcee / Roberta / Carefree / The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert Moore HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 10, 2006
Format: DVD
If you own the older version of Volume One of the complete Astaire-Rogers, then this is the version of the complete set that you ought to get. It will give you the extra disc that the updates provide and also provides you with empty thinpak cases into which you can place your older discs. While I regret that they chose to do these in such confusing fashion, I'm delighted that they are at least giving us the opportunity to upgrade. Also, I'm a huge fan of the thinpak cases. If you haven't bought any of the Astaire-Rogers discs, I strongly recommend getting the complete 11-DVD single volume edition.

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers are not merely the greatest dance team in the history of film but one of the greatest pairings as well, regardless of genre. Although both of them achieved considerable success apart from the other, there was just something incredibly magical about the times they would perform together. For anyone who loves film, this set is going to be about as essential as any that exists.

There can be only one possible complaint with this second volume in the release of all of the Astaire-Rogers films: it is not chronological. The reason for this is obvious; if they had released the sets with the films in chronological order, the first volume would have been vastly superior to the second. While Volume Two would have contained SWINGTIME, one of their greatest films, Volume One would have contained TOP HAT, THE GAY DIVORCEE, and FOLLOW THE FLEET. As it is, they have tried to balance the films somewhat by putting the utterly essential THE GAY DIVORCEE in Volume 2. Even so, this is a weaker set of movies than the first volume.


To be honest, this is not a great movie, though it is for several reasons highly entertaining.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The box set is made up of clear plastic thin cases and measures 3 7/8" wide x 7 7/8" high x 5½" deep, which is a real space saver for 12 discs (10 movie DVDs, 1 bonus DVD, and 1 audio CD). (If you purchase Volume I and the Partial Ultimate Collector's Edition separately, you transfer the five discs from the old DVD cases to the new thin ones. The wider ones do not fit.) Among the five DVDs, each comes with the feature film, a comedy/musical/vintage short, and a classic cartoon. Two have a radio promo; three have a theatrical trailer. The Gay Divorcee DVD comes with two vintage shorts, so you get six shorts on five discs. Unlike the first volume, there are no featurettes. Below are brief review/descriptions of the five feature films, vintage shorts, radio promos, classic cartoons, bonus material, and run times for each.


Their first film together, FLYING DOWN TO RIO is the only Fred and Ginger (F&G) movie where they play supporting roles. The studio executives and the public did not yet know this couple's dance potential and powerhouse future. They only dance together once 43 minutes into the film (The Carioca). The movie is filled with several post-card quality shots of Rio de Janeiro and has more choreographed group dance routines and vocalists than you can shake a stick at. My favorite is all those girls dancing on biplanes while in flight, which is very creative. The romantic plot of the main characters, Belhina De Rezende (Dolores del Rio) and Roger Bond (Gene Raymond) and the subplot of the Greek investors are a little light but still held my interest.

F&G's second film and their first as leading characters together, THE GAY DIVORCEE is the initial series of boy-chases-girl movies with comic misunderstandings, misgivings, and mistaken identity.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This beautiful and poignant farewell from one of the most memorable and beloved of screen couples in film history was the perfect way to say goodbye. Their previous pairings had been filled with joy, grace and elegance; a delightful escapism which helped get everyone through the depression and set a tone of charm and romance no one else has ever come close to. Appropriately enough, their last in the incredible cycle is tender and sweet, faint echoes of their previous entries mixed with the melancholy of something special disappearing forever, never to pass this way again.

Astaire and Rogers tell the story of Vernon and Irene Castle, who set dance and fashion trends all across Europe and America during a more innocent time in the world. Their's was a story of love, humor and dance. But when what they had always dreamed of was within their reach, the world intruded in a way which could not have been anticipated. Astaire and Rogers have never been so real as in this nostalgic and gentle ode to love and innocence.

Based on Irene Castle's stories, "My Husband" and "My Memories of Vernon Castle," the adaptation by Oscar Hammerstein II and Dorothy Yost was turned into a screenplay by Richard Sherman. Ginger's costumes were created by the real Irene Castle, and the Castle's love hangs over this film like a soft velvet fog. H. C. Potter's direction is minimal, allowing Fred and Ginger to say so long through the story of Vernon and Irene.

It begins in 1911, when Vernon, a second comic for Lewis Fields, is chasing after another actress. She ditches him at the beach, and a drowning little dog will bring Irene Foot and Vernon Castle together for the first time. Walter Brennen is wonderful as the crusty and protective Walter.
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