IMDb > Roberta (1935)
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Roberta (1935) More at IMDbPro »

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Roberta -- Fun's in fashion when Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers (plus Irene Dunne and Randolph Scott) enter the ultrachic Parisian world of high fashion in Roberta.


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Popularity: ?
Up 4% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Jerome Kern (from the play)
Otto A. Harbach (book)
View company contact information for Roberta on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
8 March 1935 (USA) See more »
A Heart-Load of Maddening Beauties.. In Gasping Gowns.. A Fortune in Furs.. A Ransom in Jewels.. In a Song-Studded Romance of Paris in Lovetime! See more »
Football player John Kent tags along as Huck Haines and the Wabash Indianians travel to an engagement in Paris... See more » | Full synopsis »
Nominated for Oscar. Another 1 nomination See more »
(9 articles)
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User Reviews:
Fashions of 1935 See more (55 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Irene Dunne ... Stephanie

Fred Astaire ... Huck

Ginger Rogers ... Scharwenka

Randolph Scott ... John
Helen Westley ... Roberta
Claire Dodd ... Sophie
Victor Varconi ... Ladislaw
Luis Alberni ... Voyda
Ferdinand Munier ... Lord Delves
Torben Meyer ... Albert
Adrian Rosley ... Professor
Bodil Rosing ... Fernande
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Lucille Ball ... Fashion Model (uncredited)
Hal Borne ... Wabash Indianian (uncredited)
Halbert Brown ... Wabash Indianian (uncredited)
Candy Candido ... Candy - Trick-voiced Wabash Indianian (uncredited)
William Carey ... Wabash Indianian (uncredited)
Virginia Carroll ... Fashion Model (uncredited)
Lynne Carver ... Fashion Model (uncredited)
Diane Cook ... Fashion Model (uncredited)
Phil Cuthbert ... Wabash Indianian (uncredited)

William B. Davidson ... Ship's Officer (uncredited)
Delmon Davis ... Wabash Indianian (uncredited)
Anna De Linsky ... Small Role (uncredited)
Lorraine DeSart ... Fashion Model (uncredited)
Ivan Dow ... Wabash Indianian (uncredited)
Betty Dumbries ... Fashion Model (uncredited)

William R. Dunn ... Wabash Indianian (uncredited)
Mary Forbes ... Mrs. Teale (uncredited)

William Frawley ... Bartender (uncredited)
Rita Gould ... Woman (uncredited)
Jane Hamilton ... Liane - Fashion Model (uncredited)
Grace Hayle ... Miss Jones - Newspaper Reporter (uncredited)
Maxine Jennings ... Fashion Model (uncredited)
Howard Lally ... Wabash Indianian (uncredited)
Mike Lally ... Bar Customer (uncredited)
Lorna Low ... Fashion Model (uncredited)
Muzzy Marcellino ... Wabash Indianian (uncredited)
Margaret McChrystal ... Fashion Model (uncredited)
Paul McLarind ... Wabash Indianian (uncredited)
Chris Marie Meeker ... Small Role (uncredited)

Marie Osborne ... Fashion Model (uncredited)
Wanda Perry ... Fashion Model (uncredited)
Donna Mae Roberts ... Fashion Model (uncredited)
Charlotte Russell ... Small Role (uncredited)
Zena Savine ... Woman (uncredited)
Sam Savitsky ... Cossack (uncredited)
Charles Sharpe ... Wabash Indianian (uncredited)
Gene Sheldon ... Banjo-Playing Wabash Indianian (uncredited)
Kay Sutton ... Fashion Model (uncredited)
Mike Tellegen ... Cossack (uncredited)
Dale Van Sickel ... Cossack (uncredited)
Michael Visaroff ... Waiter (uncredited)
Judith Vosselli ... Woman (uncredited)

Directed by
William A. Seiter 
Writing credits
Jerome Kern (from the play)

Otto A. Harbach (book of play)

Alice Duer Miller (novel "Gowns by Roberta")

Jane Murfin (screen play) &
Sam Mintz (screen play) and
Allan Scott (screen play)

Glenn Tryon (additional dialogue)

Dorothy Yost  contributor to treatment (uncredited)

Produced by
Pandro S. Berman .... producer (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Edward Cronjager (photographed by)
Film Editing by
William Hamilton (edited by)
Art Direction by
Van Nest Polglase 
Costume Design by
Bernard Newman (gowns)
Makeup Department
Mel Berns .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Production Management
C.J. White .... production manager (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Kenneth Holmes .... assistant director (uncredited)
Edward Killy .... assistant director (uncredited)
Argyle Nelson .... second assistant director (uncredited)
C.C. Thompson .... assistant director (uncredited)
Sam White .... assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
Carroll Clark .... associate art director
Thomas Little .... set dresser (as Thomas K. Little)
Sound Department
George Marsh .... sound cutter
John E. Tribby .... sound recordist (as John Tribby)
Special Effects by
Harry Redmond Sr. .... special effects supervisor (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Robert De Grasse .... camera operator (uncredited)
John Miehle .... still photographer (uncredited)
Music Department
Philip Faulkner Jr. .... music recordist (as P.J. Faulkner Jr.)
Dorothy Fields .... additional lyrics
Otto A. Harbach .... lyrics by (as Otto Harbach)
Jerome Kern .... music by
Jimmy McHugh .... additional lyrics
Max Steiner .... musical director
Wayne Allen .... music arranger (uncredited)
Gene Rose .... music arranger (uncredited)
Max Steiner .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
Other crew
Fred Astaire .... dances arranged by
Zion Myers .... production associate
Hermes Pan .... assistant dance director
James Baker .... stand-in (uncredited)
Harry Cornbleth .... stand-in (uncredited)
Ruth Day .... stand-in (uncredited)
Elizabeth McGaffey .... researcher (uncredited)
Elizabeth McGaffey .... stand-in (uncredited)
Marie Osborne .... stand-in (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
106 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Victor System)
Australia:G | USA:Not Rated (DVD Rating) | USA:Approved (PCA #601) | USA:TV-G (TV rating)

Did You Know?

Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire's dance to "I'll Be Hard To Handle" was filmed in one take.See more »
Revealing mistakes: 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 »
John Kent:Where ya goin'?
John Kent:Why?
Stephanie:Because I pushed the button.
John Kent:But I want to talk to you.
Stephanie:That's what you're doing.
John Kent:I just like to tell you I love you.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Let's Dance (2009/II)See more »
Smoke Gets in Your EyesSee more »


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32 out of 35 people found the following review useful.
Fashions of 1935, 30 September 2002
Author: lugonian from Kissimmee, Florida

ROBERTA (RKO Radio, 1935), directed by William A. Seiter, from the then current Broadway play, and from the novel, "Gowns by Roberta," marks the third pairing of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, but a return to playing comedic supporting roles, yet, having more footage than from their initial pairing in FLYING DOWN TO RIO (RKO, 1933). Not as well known nor popular as their other musical outings, ROBERTA may come off today as a disappointment, in fact, a rather dull musical film, but in reality, it's a different kind of Astaire-Rogers film, which centers mostly on displaying the latest fashions from Paris than on dance numbers. It is also a rare case found in their musicals where one of the central characters dies. When Astaire and Rogers dance on screen, they succeed into making every precious moment count, while the romantic plot involving its leading stars, Irene Dunne and Randolph Scott, presents itself as satisfying but not entirely interesting. And as with the early Astaire and Rogers musicals, this one, too, has the Continental flavor or European background, this time opening in La Havre and later settling down to Paris, France. Again, this is a reworking of a stage play and looks it, without the use of real projection backdrops of the streets of Paris nor a car chase to speed up the pacing.

Let's begin: John Kent (Randolph Scott), an All-American football player and coach comes to Paris to visit his Aunt Minnie (Helen Westley), known nationally as "Roberta," who has left the United States years ago earning her fortune in Paris as a dressmaker. Accompanying John is his friend, band-leader Huckleberry "Hunk" Haines (Fred Astaire), and his group of Wabash Indianians. John later becomes acquainted with Stephanie (Irene Dunne), Roberta's head designer, and her cousin, Ladislaw (Victor Varconi), who works as a doorman. Unknown to John, Stephanie and Ladislaw are both of Russian royalty. Along the way is a Polish countess, Scharwenka (Ginger Rogers), who shows she's hard to handle towards Stephanie when unsatisfied with the dresses presented to her. When Hunk is introduced to the countess, he recognizes her as Elizabeth "Lizzie" Gatz, a former girlfriend from back home. Because of her influence in Paris, Lizzie helps Hunk and the band obtain jobs at the Cafe Russe. All goes well until Roberta dies, leaving John to inherit the dress shop, and the visitation of Sophie Keel (Claire Dodd), a snobbish girl John once loved, now back in his life, complicating matters between him and Stephanie.

While the plot plays at a leisure pace, the songs, by Jerome Kern, with additional lyrics by Dorothy Fields and Jimmy McHugh, help it along. The musical program includes: "Let's Begin" (sung by Fred Astaire and Candy Candido); "Russian Folk Song" (sung by Irene Dunne); "I'll Be Hard to Handle" (sung by Ginger Rogers/danced by Astaire and Rogers); "Yesterdays" (sung by Irene Dunne); "I Won't Dance" (sung by Rogers and Astaire/ dance solo by Astaire); "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" (sung by Irene Dunne); "Lovely to Look At" (sung by Dunne, later reprised by Astaire and Rogers); "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" (instrumental dance by Astaire and Rogers); and "I Won't Dance" (finale, danced by Astaire and Rogers).

Many of the songs presented are pleasing to the ear, with Irene Dunne solos hitting the high note. ROBERTA plays more like a 1940s MGM musical, in slower tempo scoring and minus Technicolor. In fact, it was MGM that later purchased the rights to ROBERTA and remade it as LOVELY TO LOOK AT (1952) starring Kathryn Grayson, Red Skelton and Howard Keel. Both film versions are currently presented on cable's Turner Classic Movies for comparison.

Of the ten Astaire and Rogers musicals, ROBERTA was the only holdout to commercial television, destined not to ever be seen again. Whether it was because MGM had a hold on it so not to have it compared with its splashing Technicolored remake, or that the movie itself would not hold any interest towards a newer generation of movie goers, is anybody's guess. Fortunately, ROBERTA was brought back from the entombment of a studio vault in the 1970s, first at revival movie houses, then to commercial television. When ROBERTA made its New York television premiere September 25, 1977, on WOR, Channel 9 (the former home of the RKO Radio film library), and for Astaire and Rogers devotees, it was a long awaited event. Unseen commercially since the early 1940s, one critic of a local newspaper complimented Channel 9 for bringing back this long unseen musical gem, and writing, "It's about time!" Availability on both VHS and DVD should assure lasting appeal.

With a combination of Irene Dunne's singing, Randolph Scott's repeatedly reciting the catch phrase of "swell," and a very lengthly fashion show finale with models (one of them being the very blonde Lucille Ball) in fashion gowns pacing the floors back and forth, the classic moments, which are few, are Astaire's solo dancing to "I Won't Dance," and the beautiful duet of Astaire and Rogers dancing to "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes."

One final note, Ginger Rogers displays some fine comedic talent playing a Polish countess and supporting an thick accent that echoes that of comedienne Lyda Roberti. And why not? It was Roberti who appeared as Scharwenka in the Broadway production. Because the Astaire and Rogers combination was hot, it was obvious that Roberti would not get to reprise her original role, nor anyone else for that matter.

ROBERTA does have its moments of greatness when it comes to dances, and slow points when it comes to its plot, but all in all, it's worth viewing. And to get to hear the songs, like "Opening Night," "The Touch of Your Hand" and "You're Devastating," which were all discarded from this version, but heard as instrumental background, one would have to sit through the 1952 remake. While LOVELY TO LOOK AT (1952) has color, ROBERTA (1935) has class. (****)

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