Football player John Kent tags along as Huck Haines and the Wabash Indianians travel to an engagement in Paris, only to lose it immediately. John and company visit his aunt, owner of a posh... See full summary »
Football player John Kent tags along as Huck Haines and the Wabash Indianians travel to an engagement in Paris, only to lose it immediately. John and company visit his aunt, owner of a posh fashion house run by her assistant, Stephanie. There they meet the singer Scharwenka (alias Huck's old friend Lizzie), who gets the band a job. Meanwhile, Madame Roberta passes away and leaves the business to John and he goes into partnership with Stephanie. Written by
Diana Hamilton <email@example.com>
The original Broadway production, based on the book "Gowns by Roberta", was produced by Max Gordon, with music by Jerome Kern and book and lyrics by Otto A. Harbach. The play opened on Nov. 18, 1933 at the New Amsterdam Theatre in New York and ran for 295 performances. See more »
John is trapped in Roberta's building elevator when it stops between two floors. He calls for help. His upper body is visible and he spreads the gates slightly open suggesting he will climb UP and out. Stephanie hears his calls for help, comes to his rescue, but advises that it is too dangerous to climb UP and out. Stephanie yells in French to the doorman, who is on a lower floor to move the elevator. The scene changes to the doorman who pushes the LOWER or DOWN elevator button. The scene changes back to the floor where John is trapped and Stephanie is standing. The elevator moves UP and John exits. See more »
What's not to like - Astaire-Rogers dancing to "I Don't Dance, Don't Ask Me", ocean liners crossing the Atlantic, trains racing across northern France, jazz bands rehearsing in Paris clubs, stupendous art deco sets, a couturier's elegant salon, serenading to balalaikas, stunning models privately displaying satin gowns, Russian princes, "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" sung by the beautiful Irene Dunne, an elegant Old Russian restaurant with its frescoes, fashion show that incorporates Astaire and Rogers dancing, Irene Dunne's warmth, a witty script, a Broadway smash hit brought to the screen - geez, what a movie! It is only recently that I've begun to enjoy musicals. The ones I like are the light ones - not the ones incorporating social issues which I feel musicals are ill-equipped to handle.
But a light musical comedy - with exquisite dancing, charming leads, swank clothes, elegant sets, witty dialogue - WOW! And this is definitely such a musical - absolutely charming.
The four leads are wonderfully cast. Irene Dunne reminds me of Greer Garson in having a certain soulfulness combined with innate gentility and enormous warmth - Dunne also happens to have had a world-class operatic singing voice (that in later movies, as operettas ceased to be appealing, was seldom heard). There is something so very vulnerable about a wounded Irene Dunne character - and she is wonderful in this part.
Randolph Scott has a big, clean, very handsome, American quality that is also wonderfully suited to this part - one in which his character is candid, straightforward, easily swayed by others who are sophisticated -but at a certain point will act decisively when he comes to realize his judgment has been mistaken.
Fred Astaire's subordinate comic supporting role is suited well by the enormous difference in size between himself and Scott - and obviously his dancing and his easy way with humorous lines is just wonderful.
The 24 year old Ginger Rogers may be the biggest revelation to me - it's not just that she can dance astonishingly well, that she is wonderful (and wonderfully funny) with accents, that she can sing songs equally comically or romantically (and with great gestures), that she is very VERY funny, whip-smart with dialogue,, but she perfectly suits the job of one hustling for jobs, adapting to all circumstances, rough and ready -- and extremely aware at all times.
I think studio heads really saw Rogers' amazing abilities through the end of World War II (after which she was shamefully abandoned) - she seldom played the "classy woman" and we instead find her as a shop girl, prisoner on furlough, society wannabe, entertainer. I would like to have seen her play in her career, a part in which she more deliberately seductive (like Barbara Stanwyck or Joan Crawford, Miriam Hopkins or Bette Davis often did) but alas.
You'll like this - just relax and feel yourself enthralled.
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