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If you're a fan of FRED ASTAIRE and GINGER ROGERS and their predictable screwball comedies of the '30s, you'll find this one is easy to take. First of all, the score by Irving Berlin has a variety of catchy tunes although I can't say it's his greatest, and all of the mistaken identity plot is performed with such grace by the famous dancing duo and their marvelous supporting cast that it's all as light as the feathers on Ginger's "Cheek to Cheek" dress.
Speaking of which--for me, the "Cheek to Cheek" number is worth watching just to see how skillful the two dance the number although fully aware that Astaire objected strenuously to Ginger's feathered dress. Nevertheless, it's the dancing highlight of the film, much better than the "Piccolino" number that is used for the finale.
Eric Blore and Erik Rhodes outdo themselves in great comic support. Blore we almost take for granted at this point, but Rhodes with his silly Italian accent is a scene-stealer too. His Bettini, the dressmaker, offers some of the heartiest chuckles.
Astaire is top flight here--graceful, athletic, and young enough to be seen as a dancing Cary Grant--and Ginger matches him every dancing step of the way. She's particularly delightful in the rainy park sequence for "Isn't It A Lovely Day?" And for the "Cheek to Cheek" sequence she has a braided hairdo that gives her an ultra-sophisticated, princess-like look. When she and Astaire dance, they can do no wrong.
He, of course, is more skillful with a song than she is, his voice perfectly able to deliver all the Irving Berlin numbers assigned to him, while she barely gets by with her rendition of the "Piccolino".
Great fun to watch--rainy day or not. And those art deco backgrounds for hotel rooms and Venice are a knockout. The pristine print of the film shown on TCM recently really made them stand out in glowing splendor.
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