Tag Archives: Ginger Rogers

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.


Kitty Foyle

1940

directed by: Sam Wood

Oscars: Best Actress – Ginger Rogers

A brief departure from my normal movies, but this won Best Actress for Ginger Rogers in 1940, and I’m used to seeing her just dance with Fred Astaire, so I figured I’d give it a chance.  Rogers plays the titular Kitty Foyle, a pretty typical chick it seems like from the 1940’s.  Right off the bat, two different guys propose to her, Mark , the safe boring doctor, and Wyn, who’s already married and doesn’t want to get a divorce it seems, but still wants Kitty.  Now Wyn Strattford is a high-class name, and as you can imagine, Wyn is just a lazy rich good-looking bro type. So then the film Tarantino’s back to let you know how Kitty got to this point.  Honestly, I was like just choose a guy and end the movie 5 minutes in, but hey, I’m not writing these things.  So it turns out Kitty and Wyn were like mad in love, but Wyn’s family didn’t approve of her and would basically cut Wyn out of the family fortune if they got …errr. stayed married.  Because as it turns out she married Wyn and is oh yeah, preggers with his kid.  The kid ends up getting miscarried(if that’s a word), and boom, cue your Best Actress for 1940 acceptance speech Ms. Rogers.  Wait, in real life she was probably married at the time (Wikipedia confirms).  So when Wyn and her wer on the outs, she’s been seeing Mark, the boring type. Wyn gets remarried, yada yada yada we’re back at the beginning. In the end, she picks…. nah, I won’t ruin it.  Oh and if you’re a fan of the 70’s-80’s metal band, Judas Priest, Kitty and her Dad mention them like 50 times in the movie.

Underrated Actors: Dennis Morgan as Wyn Strattford, for putting up with Kitty