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Dr. Tony Flagg's friend, Steven, has problems in the relationship with his fiancee, Amanda, so he persuades her to visit Dr. Flagg. After some minor misunderstandings, she falls in love with Dr. Flagg. When he tries to use hypnosis to strengthen her feelings for Steven, things get complicated. Written by
Carefree marked the third collaboration of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers singing and dancing to an Irving Berlin score. Unfortunately it would prove to be the weakest of the films, the others being Top Hat and Follow The Fleet. One thing was that Irving Berlin wrote a lot less music for this than the other two.
The second thing was that it involved psychiatry and we'd have to wait for such musicals as Lady in the Dark and On A Clear Day before the subject was handled in any way responsibly.
I'm not sure the subject was the proper one for Astaire and Rogers. The plot has Rogers seeing Astaire professionally while she's engaged to Ralph Bellamy who is playing the typical Ralph Bellamy part. I guess because it's Ralph Bellamy liberties can be taken with the leading lady by a her psychiatrist.
It was a bit much to swallow, a man who gave up studying the dance to become a disciple of Sigmund Freud. But that's what Fred Astaire is in Carefree. Usually the two don't mix. I can't imagine Freud breaking out into an intricate Astaire dance routine.
I will say that Irving Berlin did give Fred and Ginger some good songs to sing and dance to. The print I have is totally black and white and the I Used To Be Color Blind dream sequence definitely loses something when not seen in color. Fred and Ginger are at their liveliest doing The Yam and the rest of the cast gets involved. In fact I was surprised at how nimble Clarence Kolb was on his feet.
Fred's plaintive plea for Ginger to Change Partners got an Oscar nomination for Best Song, but it lost to Bob Hope's perennial theme of Thanks for the Memory.
I could not quite enjoy Carefree as much I have other Astaire/Rogers collaborations. When you think about, Fred's using his professional training to mess with her mind. His heart may be in the right place, but his medical ethics stink.
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