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After 10 years apart, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers reteam in their final film pairing, cleverly written by Betty Comden and Adolph Green and smoothly directed by Charles Walters. The story, per many sources, mirrors real-life creative tensions the two shared. Astaire plays driven hoofer Josh Barkley. Rogers is his wife, Dinah, who longs to forsake the clackety-clap-tapping of Bouncin’ the Blues for stage dramas. She departs, Josh vies to win her back, and the routines leading to a happy resolution include Fred’s “Shoes with Wings On” and a rhapsodic reprise of a George and Ira Gershwin number from Shall We Dance: “They Can’t Take That Away from Me.” All of which proves they can’t take away the Astaire/Rogers magic either.
- Aspect Ratio : 1.33:1
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- MPAA rating : s_medNotRated NR (Not Rated)
- Product Dimensions : 7.5 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches; 3.5 Ounces
- Director : Charles Walters
- Media Format : Color, NTSC
- Run time : 1 hour and 49 minutes
- Release date : November 22, 2016
- Actors : Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Oscar Levant, Billie Burke, Gale Robbins
- Studio : Warner Archive Collection
- ASIN : B01LTHXM20
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: #79,507 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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What I don't get about Baby Boomers and the Silent generations is why do they claim that they remember so well and liked it when they saw Ginger and Fred dancing? They were born between 1925 and 1960. The silent generation was so young and did not see it first hand in the theaters. Also the baby boomers claim that they don't make them like that anymore, when they were never born to see those films and they were just little kids. A majority of them just saw it on TV in the 50s, but never seen them in the theater because they were so young/never born. And the irony is they were the counterculture/hippies. Those two generations never experienced or were too young to experience the 1930s-1950s and they claim that they don't make them like they used to when they only saw it on tv or in the 1960s. What a shame.
The musicals scenes, however, are brilliant. Starting with the opening credits Astaire and Ginger are dancing. They also get to tap-dance together Bouncin' the Blues. The most emotional pairing of the two is the revival of a George Gershwin's song from Shall We Dance, They Can't Take That Away from Me. While in Shall We Dance, Astaire only sings it to Ginger to express his falling in love with her, in this version, they do a ballroom dance and the lyrics take on a new meaning within the context making this scene more powerful. Astaire gets to a unique solo routine as he tap dances with lots of shoes, a memorable Astaire performance of Shoes with Wings on. Oscar Levant joins the couple to play majestically two classical tunes, the Sabre Dance and Concerto no. 1 by Tchaikovsky. Although the direction of Mark Sandrich in early classics, such as Top Hat, the Gay Divorcee, Carefree, and Shall We Dance is missed here, the performances of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire and the musical numbers lift this film from what could have been a mediocrity. I was able to see both dancers doing dramatic acting, particularly Ginger Rogers. The movie may not be there with Top Hat and Shall We Dance, but it is almost there.
Top reviews from other countries
This film is more serious because it involves a marriage under stress and a relationship that reverberates in everyday life; - what is the difference between control and encouragement, advice and instruction? How can a woman be a wife and still be herself? It is a testimony to Rodger's' acting skills that the story troubles the viewer. Judy Garland - the original star - could NOT have pulled this off.
Give it a go - Astaire seems at see with the heavier stuff and the more subtle humour of theis film, but he dances like a dream!
I missed the big numbers, and the integration of dance and drama/comedy we get in the RKO films, but this is more than made up for by the equal footing of these seasoned players where, for once, Ginger is the one who keeps the thing moving. Interesting that Astaire is quoted as attributing the success of the partnership to Ginger....
Most of the music is only of the second class.
Contrary to popular belief, this is not the first time Fred and Ginger played a married couple. They were married to each other in their previous outing - "The Story Of Vernon and Irene Castle". In this offering, the film starts well with a couple of entertaining dances. Sadly, the film loses momentum and the songs and dances that follow aren't really up to standard. We watch because it is Fred and Ginger. In fact, it is Oscar Levant who comes away with the musical honours with his two piano performances. He also provides some of the better comedic moments with his 'can't be bothered' attitude and his popularity with the ladies. He's with a different woman in every scene - good on him!
The highlight from Fred and Ginger's set pieces comes at the beginning of the film as they rehearse a piece called "Bouncin' The Blues". It comes just after Gale Robbins has been introduced and at a point in the film where the humour is spot on as Ginger Rogers clearly doesn't take very kindly to her. It's a good beginning to the film, and I found myself surprised at how good this offering actually was. Downhill from there, I'm afraid. While there are still some occasional funny moments, we have to endure some crap - the Scottish number is embarrassing, there is a nonsense song about going away to the country which is so obviously ripped off from "The Wizard of Oz" and designed with Judy Garland in mind, Fred's solo in a shoe shop alongside sets of dancing shoes is different but uninspiring, and their dance to "They Can't Take That Away From Me" belonged to an earlier film and seemed pointless and geared towards soppy reminiscence.
Overall, the film had a typical family musical feel to it (as opposed to a Fred and Ginger style of film) and I half expected Dick Van Dyke to show up at any moment. If it wasn't for the fact that it is a Fred and Ginger film, I would have to consign it to the reject pile. They are a magical couple and their reputation is what just keeps this film above water. Thank goodness for "Bouncin' The Blues".
Oscar Levant on piano...brilliant. Too little tap dancing. Overlong film.
Not one of Fred and Ginger`s best.