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Silk Stockings (1957)
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You’d think chilled borscht pulses in her veins. She’s Nina Yoshenka, a lovely yet severe Soviet envoy sent to Paris to rescue wayward comrades from the perils of champagne and capitalism. But there may be a thaw in Nina’s Cold War. She meets Steve Canfield, a smoothly brash American who won’t take nyet for an answer. Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse recapture the magic of their The Band Wagon pairing in this musical based on the same-titled 1955 Broadway hit and on the famed 1939 Greta Garbo comedy Ninotchka. Set to witty Cole Porter tunes, spiked with laughs and featuring the two leads dancing the Eugene Loring-Hermes Pan choreography into timeless emotion, Silk Stockings shows why elegance and fun never go out of style.
- Aspect Ratio : 1.33:1
- MPAA rating : s_medNotRated NR (Not Rated)
- Product Dimensions : 7.5 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches; 3.5 Ounces
- Director : Rouben Mamoulian
- Media Format : Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
- Run time : 1 hour and 57 minutes
- Release date : February 7, 2017
- Actors : Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, Janis Paige, Peter Lorre, George Tobias
- Studio : Warner Archive Collection
- ASIN : B01N6TVQPR
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: #16,566 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
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You'd think chilled borsch pulses in her veins. She is Ninotchka Yoschenko [Cyd Charisse], a lovely yet severe Soviet envoy sent to Paris to rescue wayward comrades from the perils of champagne and capitalism. But there may be a thaw in Nina's Cold War. She meets Steve Canfield [Fred Astaire], a smoothly brash American who won't take no for an answer.
Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse recapture the magic of their ‘Band Wagon’ pairing in this musical based on the same-titled 1955 Broadway hit and the famed 1939 Greta Garbo comedy ‘Ninotchka.’ Set to witty Cole Porter tunes, spiked with laughs, and featuring the two leads dancing the Eugene Loring/Hermes Pan choreography into timeless emotion, ‘SILK STOCKINGS’ shows why elegance and fun never goes out of style.
FILM FACT: Awards and Nominations: 1958 Golden Globes®: Nominated: Best Motion Picture for a Comedy or Musical. Nominated: Best Actress for a Comedy or Musical for Cyd Charisse. 1958 Laurel Awards: Nominated: Top Musical. 2nd place: Top Female Musical Performance for Cyd Charisse. 3rd place: Top Music Director for André Previn.
Cast: Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, Janis Paige, Peter Lorre, George Tobias, Jules Munshin, Joseph Buloff, Wim Sonneveld, Tybee Afra (uncredited), Don Anderson (uncredited), Edit Angold (uncredited), Frank Arnold (uncredited), Jan Arvan (uncredited), Susan Avery (uncredited), Virginia Bates (uncredited), Belita (uncredited), John Bleifer (uncredited), Eugene Borden (uncredited), Nina Borget (uncredited), Tybee Brascia (uncredited), Paul Bryar (uncredited), George Calliga (uncredited), Peter Camlin (uncredited), Albert Carrier (uncredited), Barrie Chase (uncredited), Lilyan Chauvin (uncredited), Marcel De la Brosse (uncredited), Jean Del Val (uncredited), James Dime (uncredited), Alphonso DuBois (uncredited), Steve Ellis (uncredited), Roger Etienne (uncredited), George Ford (uncredited), Gregory Gaye (uncredited), Jean Heremans (uncredited), Bruce Hoy (uncredited), Zoia Karabanova (uncredited), Arlene Karr (uncredited), June Kirby (uncredited), Joan Maloney (uncredited), Michael Mark (uncredited), June McCall (uncredited), Leo Mostovoy (uncredited), Sol Murgi (uncredited), George Nardelli (uncredited), Monty O'Grady (uncredited), Michael Panaieff (uncredited), Howard Parker (uncredited), Manuel París (uncredited), Genevieve Pasques (uncredited), Francis Ravel (uncredited), Edwin Rochelle (uncredited), Jerry Rush (uncredited), George Saurel (uncredited), Rolfe Sedan (uncredited), Leonid Snegoff (uncredited), Ivan Triesault (uncredited), Betty Uitti (uncredited), Gisele Verlaine (uncredited), Kaaren Verne (uncredited) and Florence Wyatt (uncredited)
Director: Rouben Mamoulian
Producer: Arthur Freed
Screenplay: Leonard Gershe and Leonard Spigelgass
Writing Credits: George S. Kaufman (book), Harry Kurnitz (uncredited), Leueen MacGrath (book) and Melchior Lengyel (suggested by "Ninotchka" by)
Composers: Cole Porter and Conrad Salinger (uncredited)
Costume Design: Helen Rose
Choreography: Eugene Loring and Hermes Pan
Cinematography: Robert J. Bronner
Video Resolution: 1080p [Color by Metrocolor]
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 [CinemaScope]
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH
Running Time: 117 minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer / Warner Archive Collection
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: ‘SILK STOCKINGS’  features Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse, plus the brilliant music of Cole Porter and comes off as a top-grade musical version of the 1939 ‘Ninotchka’ film. Adapted from the 1955 Broadway musical adaptation of same genre and the film has two new Cole Porter songs and a total of 13 outstanding numbers. Fred Astaire enacts an American film producer in Paris who falls for the beautiful Communist when she arrives from Moscow to check on the activities of three Russian commissars.
‘SILK STOCKINGS’ again is a musical adaptation of ‘Ninotchka’ and stars Cyd Charisse as Ninotchka Yoschenko, a Soviet Agent sent to Paris to retrieve three fellow agents and a composer who have found living in the city preferable to returning home. Steve Canfield [Fred Astaire] is eager to keep the composer in France to finish his film and gently persuades Ninotchka Yoschenko that Western decadence isn't all that bad. The film also stars George Tobias has a few good moments as the Communist chief and Janis Paige as Peggy.
When Ninotchka Yoschenko arrives, Steve Canfield figures he can dazzle her with the pleasures of Paris as well, taking her out on a hotel balcony and crooning "Paris Loves Lovers." Our heroine isn't so easily swayed, sticking to her principles and interjecting them during the song's refrain. Ninotchka Yoschenko doesn't see a point in things that aren't industrially useful, but to Steve Canfield, those are the very things that give life purpose. Seeing the City of Lights in all its glory makes you feel alive and part of an extraordinary existence. It has romance and beauty and uniqueness spun into its very fabric and why else would Paris be used over and over for stories of transformation? If you can't find yourself there, you're in serious trouble, Hollywood seems to say.
Rouben Mamoulian in his deft direction maintains a flowing if over-long course. Musical numbers are bright, inserted naturally, and both Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse shine in dancing department, together and singly. Choreography is by Eugene Loring (others) and Hermes Pan (Fred Astaire numbers). Janis Paige shares top honours with the stars for a knock-’em-dead type of performance.
A film like this naturally might rely on stereotypes, some of which are still very humorous. but some of which have grown stale over the years. Nevertheless, it's entertaining enough with the straight-laced Ninotchka Yoschenko providing a good foil to the rest of the eccentric company for much of the film. Jules Munshin is excellent as the leader of the three agents in Paris while Janis Paige shines in her role as actress Janis Paige and the strand of the narrative is that Peggy just disappears and I would have liked to see more of her at the end of the film, particularly after her show-stopping and quite literally, the brilliant number “Josephine.”
The songs in ‘SILK STOCKINGS’ are not some of Cole Porter's best known but they are so fabulous and witty, enjoyable and beautifully choreographed. “Satin and Silk” is another Janis Paige number, and is really bouncy, though it has to be “Stereophonic Sound” and a duet by Fred Astaire and Janis Paige as they satirise the conventions of modern films, that steals the show. Cyd Charisse's singing is dubbed as usual, but her dancing is phenomenal, with her dance to the title song comparable to a religious experience in some ways. Cyd Charisse is utterly captivating, even if this is one of those films where Fred Astaire's age-gap relationships become slightly unsettling. Astaire himself is on-form with his dancing skills and wit and the cast works well together, even if the billing of Peter Lorre is a little generous considering the amount of time he's on screen.
Peter Lorre has a very small but memorable role as one of three Russian agents named Brankov [Peter Lorre], Bibinski [Jules Munshin] and Ivanov [Joseph Buloff] who dress alike and vary by about a foot in height. The three all fall for the charms of Paris, particular the women and in Peter Lorre’s case the Follies Bergère and develop a taste for champagne. Whether he lacked the dancing ability of the others in reality is not quite clear, yet his Cossack Dance complete with butter knife clamped between teeth while wedged and supported between a table and chair and is brilliantly unique.
‘SILK STOCKINGS’ is one of those films that I would have to classify as a perfect confection. Every frame of the film has an effortless, lighter than air quality that holds up to repeated viewings. Fred Astaire was the absolute master of the dance, who made each and every one of his partners look brilliant, maybe none more so than Cyd Charisse, the two of them together are absolute magic. Speaking of magic, the songs Cole Porter’s composed for ‘SILK STOCKINGS’ find him at his effervescent best. I personally love “Stereophonic Sound,” “Too Bad,” “Satin and Silk,” “Red Blues,” “All of You,” “Paris Loves Lovers” and “Siberia.” The only thing about ‘SILK STOCKINGS’ that may not fly as well as it once did, are the jokes pertaining to the Soviet Union of Russia. While those of my generation and older will find the material to be rather humorous, younger generations will probably be left scratching their heads at some of the references.
Elegant without being gaudy, graceful without being stuffy, gorgeous costumes, glorious in both CinemaScope and the awesome beautiful Color by Metrocolor and ‘SILK STOCKINGS’ has it all and you’ll be singing the musical numbers for a long time afterwards. To put it simply, it is a pure joy: It is bright, beautiful full of toe-tapping numbers, a perfect gem of a film and an absolute pleasure from start to finish. ‘SILK STOCKINGS’ is a true musical delight and amongst the many titles to be released under the new Warner Archive Collection banner. The Blu-ray disc presentations is absolutely first rate, and I doubt that ‘SILK STOCKINGS’ has never looked this good since it was initially released on the inferior DVD release.
SILK STOCKINGS MUSICAL TRACK LIST:
TOO BAD [Performed by Fred Astaire, Joseph Buloff, Peter Lorre and Jules Munshin]
PARIS LOVES LOVERS [Performed by Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse and Carol Richards]
STEREOPHONIC SOUND [Performed by Fred Astaire and Janis Paige]
IT’S A CHEMICAL REACTION [Performed by Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse and Carol Richards]
ALL OF YOU [Performed by Fred Astaire]
SATIN AND SILK [Performed by Janis Paige]
SILK STOCKINGS [Performed by Johnny Green and the M-G-M Musical Orchestra]
WITHOUT LOVE [Performed by Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse and Carol Richards]
FATED TO BE MATED [Performed by Cyd Charisse and Fred Astaire]
ALL OF YOU [Dance Routine] [Performed by Cyd Charisse and Fred Astaire]
JOSEPHINE [Performed by Janis Paige]
SIBERIA [Performed by Peter Lorre, Joseph Buloff and Jules Munshin]
RED BLUES [Performed by Cyd Charisse, Joseph Buloff, Peter Lorre, Jules Munshin and Wim Sonneveld]
THE RITZ ROCK AND ROLL [Performed by Fred Astaire]
TOO BAD [Finale Rreprise] [Performed by Cyd Charisse, Peter Lorre, Joseph Buloff and Jules Munshin].
Blu-ray Video Quality – Warner Archive Collection has made ‘SILK STOCKINGS’ available for the first time on this Blu-ray in a brilliant 1080p encoded Metrocolor image that is truly marvellous looking and especially an exceptional 2.40:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been enhanced to look fantastic on your Widescreen display. The film element used for the transfer is in excellent shape, displaying very few minor blemishes and little perceivable grain. The image itself is relatively sharp and rather nicely defined and especially the brilliant colours by. For the most part, the hues have a very pleasant pastel tone, while the flesh tones have a uniformity best associated with a makeup man's kit. Stronger colours are present from time to time and appear completely stable, without noise or smearing. Blacks appear accurate, whites are clean and contrast is generally smooth. Depth of field is pretty good considering the CinemaScope lenses of the style in which the film was photographed to show off the wide screen process. So overall it is a very good video presentation.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – Warner Archive Collection release of ‘SILK STOCKINGS’ has been upgraded to a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Although the recordings are circa 1957, fidelity is pretty nice, lacking harshness in the higher frequencies and a decent bottom end. The music and musical numbers have nice stereo imaging, as well as providing a wraparound effect in the rear channels, especially with the musical number “Stereophonic Sound.” Dialogue is very cleanly rendered, although one will notice an immediate acoustical difference between the spoken dialogue and song lyrics that come within an instant of one another, but despite this, overall it is also a very good audio experience.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Special Feature: Cole Porter in Hollywood: Satin and Silk  [480i] [1.33:1] [10:15] This is the original DVD documentary short subject details with the making of the 1957 M-G-M musical, ‘SILK STOCKINGS.’ Hosted by its star Cyd Charisse, the film gives behind-the-scenes glimpses of how this film was made and especially with interviews by musical director André Previn and supporting actress Janis Paige. Other contributors include Fred Astaire (archive footage), Cole Porter (archive footage), Greta Garbo (archive footage), Arthur Freed (archive footage), Peter Lorre (archive footage), Rouben Mamoulian (archive footage) and Barrie Chase. Directed by Peter Fitzgerald. Screenplay by Peter Fitzgerald. Produced by Michael Crawford, George Feltenstein, Peter Fitzgerald, Paul Hemstreet, Roger Mayer. Cinematography by Andrew B. Andersen.
Special Feature: Paree, Paree  [480i] [1.33:1] [20:53] A young American man Peter Forbes [Bob Hope] in Paris spots a beautiful woman Lulu Carroll [Dorothy Stone] in a crowd and is instantly smitten, but soon loses sight of her. Later, as he and several friends are sitting at a table at an outdoor cafe and he is describing her to them, he sees her again. His friends begin to tease him about her, and he bets them that he can win her love in 30 days even though he has no money. Cast: Dorothy Stone, Bob Hope, Billie Leonard, Rodney McLennan, Charles Collins, The Climas, Lorraine Collier (uncredited), Charles La Torre (uncredited). Directed by Roy Mack. Screenplay by E. Ray Goetz (play), Herbert Fields (book), Cyrus Wood (scenario). Produced by Samuel Sax (uncredited). Cinematography by Ray Foster. This was a Vitaphone / Warner Bros. Pictures Production.
Special Feature: Peasant and Poet Overture  [1080p] [2.40:1] [9:07] We are in the M-G-M concert hall, where The M-G-M Symphony Orchestra is getting ready to perform one of the most popular pieces of orchestral music, namely Franz von Suppé and his "Peasant and Poet" overture. The M-G-M Symphony Orchestra's guest conductor is Alfred Wallenstein, the musical director of The Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. This film was photographed by Robert H. Planck and edited by John McSweeney Jr., and with the sound recording supervised by Douglas Shearer.
Theatrical Trailer  [1080i] [2.40:1] [2:57] This is the Original Theatrical Trailer for the film ‘SILK STOCKINGS.’ Sadly the quality is not very good, but it is a very good presentation.
Finally, ‘SILK STOCKINGS’ is a Blu-ray title that I cannot recommend highly enough to all film buffs everywhere of this classic M-G-M Hollywood Musical and especially for those who are just discovering these brilliant and magical classic musicals for the first time. A great entry in both Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse's respective filmographies, and ‘SILK STOCKINGS’ is top-notch all the way, from the fine directing by Rouben Mamoulian to the terrific sets captured in the magnificent CinemaScope. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado
Le Cinema Paradiso
I for one who would keep this disc on account of the lavish production made for the movie. Astaire and Cyd Charisse are both charming, adding a very light tone to the comedy. Some people say that the original movie was better. Be as it may Silk Stockings is still very pleasant to watch.
Noteworthy on this disc is the quality of the soundtrack. I had Silk Stockings on Laserdisc and DVD, with good soundtracks (PCM and 5.1 Dolby Digital, respectively) but this new sound easily surpasses both of them.
Fred was 58 years old in 1957, but his dancing was still as graceful and vigorous and elegant as in 1935 when he was 22 years younger and made the great Top Hat with Ginger. You'll read many reviewers rating "The Band Wagon" as a 4-star musical, but Silk Stockings is very much the better film: for one thing, Rouben Mamoulian was by far a better director than Vincente Minelli, and for another, Hermes Pan's dance arrangements for Astaire were always the best.
Anthony Lane wrote (last year in the New Yorker): "...If you believe in musicals, then your mind will turn helplessly to another bench, and another couple, at the close of day: Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse, in Central Park, in “The Band Wagon” (1953). Their every step, and every touch of his hand upon hers, was done without flaw, and the synchronicity spoke not only of twin souls but of a heavenly ideal...(If I were exiled or marooned, and could take only a four-minute clip of any movie to keep me company, that would be my choice.)"
Well,--that was a very memorable number indeed, but to my mind it was certainly surpassed by Fred & Cyd's initial dance in Silk Stockings--Astaire gently coaxing "Ninotchka" to dance with him, and then watching her gradually, inevitably, permit herself to be swept up into that moment: glorious to see. Beautiful synchronicity indeed: everything she does with Astaire is perfection.
Like Ann Miller, Cyd was a tremendously talented dark-haired Texas gal who got regularly got passed over at MGM by perky light-haired inferior-talented actresses. It is scarcely believable that she had polio as a little girl. Her beauty was truly deep and mysterious because at one moment she could look so severe and cold, and in the next moment when you see her smile it's as though the sun just burst through the midnight darkness and suddenly lit up the entire planet. In her final dance number--"Red Blues"--she's having so much fun you'll see that radiant smile beaming all through her fabulous moves. Beautiful Cyd Charisse--only 35 years old here--dancing so beautifully, so spectacularly. I'll admit that I'm unable to watch such beauty in a dance number like that without being brought close to tears.
Get the BluRay--the video quality is great, and André Previn's score will sound terrific through your stereo speakers.
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