Tag Archives: Fred Astaire

Swing Time

1936

directed by: George Stevens

Oscars: Best Original Song – “The Way You Look Tonight”

Ah back to a simpler time with simpler movies.  Quite the antithesis of Terms of Endearment & Beaver Falls.  A time when calling someone a “Cossack” was an insult.  A time when a movie could have 4 dancing numbers and still flow relatively quickly.  In short, a Fred Astaire movie.  This one is quite different from Kitty Foyle, the other Rogers vehicle in a previous post, so I thought this would provide a good review opportunity.

Astaire starts off engaged and the movie starts on his wedding day.  He doesn’t seem too concerned with getting married, but after all he’s a dancer, and the world’s his stage.  And I’ll stop making cliche dance metaphors.  So the guys he dances with pull a fast one on him and cause him to miss his marriage, and he tries to reconcile but her dad is basically like, ‘You’re a thief and a scoundrel’, no wait that’s the wrong movie… Her dad says if you can raise some moolah, I have no objection to you trying to marry my daughter …again.  A little thin but hey, we need a love triangle, and a reason for him to get Ginger Rogers in the picture.  So he moves to NYC with his buddy , Pop, who may or may not actually be his Pop, and they set up nice, doing some gambling and some dancing.  A basic ’30s romp, right? Well, … yeah, that pretty much sums it up.  The orchestra conductor provides the final piece of the love triangle puzzle, but it’s pretty much wham bam Rogers and Astaire falling for each other by the end.  Oh and “The Way You Look Tonight” (a Tony Bennett staple) gets introduced in this movie, sung by Astaire, and wins Best Original Song.

A couple great scenes:  First, after Astaire stands up Rogers for a dance audition, he and Pop picket outside her apartment/hotel room.  Witty dialogue, and a satirical look into unions/communism.  Second, the outdoor snow / cottage scene.  Now this scene made no sense plot-wise, but it was pretty & VERY reminiscent of Holiday Inn (made 6 years later) / White Christmas (made 18! years later).  Overall, great sets, great dancing.

Underrated Actors:  Victor Moore as Pop , the gambling magician best friend / comic relief; and Rogers, who shines more in these types of movies, in my opinion, than her soon to be Kitty Foyle days.