7.0/10
1,690
32 user 15 critic

The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (1939)

Approved | | Biography, Musical, Romance | 29 March 1939 (USA)
This is the film version of Vernon and Irene Castle, sensational ballroom dancers prior to World War I.

Director:

Writers:

(screen play), (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $9.99 on Amazon Video

ON DISC
1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A successful but constantly-feuding husband and wife musical comedy team threatens to break up when the wife entertains an offer to become a serious actress.

Director: Charles Walters
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Oscar Levant
Carefree (1938)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

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 ... See full summary »

Director: Mark Sandrich
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Ralph Bellamy
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A Navy sailor tries to rekindle a romance with the woman he loves while on liberty in San Francisco.

Director: Mark Sandrich
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Randolph Scott
Roberta (1935)
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

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 »

Director: William A. Seiter
Stars: Irene Dunne, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Mimi Glossop wants a divorce so her Aunt Hortense hires a professional to play the correspondent in apparent infidelity. American dancer Guy Holden meets Mimi while visiting Brightbourne (... See full summary »

Director: Mark Sandrich
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Alice Brady
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Aviator and band leader Roger Bond is forever getting his group fired for flirting with the lady guests. When he falls for Brazilian beauty Belinha de Rezende it appears to be for real, ... See full summary »

Director: Thornton Freeland
Stars: Dolores del Rio, Gene Raymond, Raul Roulien
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A budding romance between a ballet master and a tapdancer becomes complicated when rumours surface that they're already married.

Director: Mark Sandrich
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Edward Everett Horton
Swing Time (1936)
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A performer and gambler travels to New York City to raise the $25,000 he needs to marry his fiancée, only to become entangled with a beautiful aspiring dancer.

Director: George Stevens
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Victor Moore
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

After his wife discovers a telltale diamond bracelet, impresario Martin Cortland tries to show he's not chasing after showgirl Sheila Winthrop. Choreographer Robert Curtis gets caught in ... See full summary »

Director: Sidney Lanfield
Stars: Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth, Robert Benchley
Top Hat (1935)
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An American dancer comes to Britain and falls for a model whom he initially annoyed, but she mistakes him for his goofy producer.

Director: Mark Sandrich
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Edward Everett Horton
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Lady Alyce Marshmorton must marry soon, and the staff of Tottney Castle have laid bets on who she'll choose, with young Albert wagering on "Mr. X." After Alyce goes to London to meet a beau... See full summary »

Director: George Stevens
Stars: Fred Astaire, George Burns, Gracie Allen
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The Acunas, a rich Argentine family, have the tradition that the daughters have to get married in order, oldest first. When sister #1 gets married, sisters #3 and #4 put pressure on Maria, ... See full summary »

Director: William A. Seiter
Stars: Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth, Adolphe Menjou
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Walter
Lew Fields ...
Etienne Girardot ...
Papa Aubel
Janet Beecher ...
Mrs. Foote
Rolfe Sedan ...
Emile Aubel
Leonid Kinskey ...
Artist
Robert Strange ...
Dr. Foote
Douglas Walton ...
Student Pilot
Clarence Derwent ...
Papa Louis
Sonny Lamont ...
Charlie
Frances Mercer ...
Claire Ford
Victor Varconi ...
Grand Duke
Edit

Storyline

In 1911, Vernon Castle, minor comic in a stage revue, pursues the leading lady to a New Jersey beach...where, instead, he meets stage-struck Irene Foote. A few misadventures later, they're married; at Irene's insistence, they abandon comedy to attempt a dancing career, which attempt only lands them in Paris without a sou. Fortunately, agent Maggie Sutton hears them rehearse and starts them on their brilliant career as the world's foremost ballroom dancers. But at the height of their fame, World War I begins... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 March 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La grande farandole  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,196,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$1,120,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Last Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers film for 10 years, until The Barkleys of Broadway (1949). See more »

Goofs

Walter, the Foote's and later the Castle's servant/ factotum, was in reality a black man. See more »

Connections

Featured in Fred Astaire: Puttin' on His Top Hat (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

Smiles
(uncredited)
Written by Lee S. Roberts (1918)
Used instrumentally by dance band before waltz medley
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

The Dance of Life
2 November 2002 | by (Kissimmee, Florida) – See all my reviews

THE STORY OF VERNON AND IRENE CASTLE (RKO Radio, 1939), directed by H.C. Potter, marked the ninth screen teaming of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and what a better way to end their cycle of successful musical comedies together than in having the most popular dance team of the 1930s in an autobiographical film portraying the most famous dancers of twenty years ago. The couple who made "The Continental" a dancing craze of the 1930s, were now reintroducing once popular dances such as "The Fox Trot." Based on the books "My Husband" and "My Memories of Vernon Castle" by Irene Castle, who was technical adviser of this production, the movie itself centers on an ordinary girl named Irene Foote of New Rochelle and her marriage to a dancer named Vernon Castle of England who was content into playing a comic stooge on the American stage.

The story begins in 1911. Vaudeville was at its height. Vernon Castle (Fred Astaire) is an stage performer working as part of "The Barber Shop" comedy act with the legendary Lew Fields (Lew Fields). He's in love with Claire Ford (Frances Mercer), a leading lady who shows no interest in him. After being stood up on a Coney Island beach, he encounters a dog that immediately links him to Irene Foote (Ginger Rogers) and her servant, Walter Ashe (Walter Brennan) in a row boat. After a brief courtship, and the meeting with her parents (Robert Strange and Janet Beecher), they marry. Taking her advise by giving up low comedy towards dancing, they eventually make a success in Paris, thanks to Maggie Sutton (Edna May Oliver), their discoverer who offers them their first tryout at the Cafe de Paree. Their success as King and Queen of barroom dancing is cut short with the outbreak of the World War.

The songs selected in this production from the 1911-1917 era, whether as background music or dance numbers performed by Astaire and Rogers, include: "Glow Little Glow Worm," "By the Beautiful Sea," "Row, Row, Row," "The Yama, Yama Man" (Sung by Ginger Rogers); "Come Josephine in My Flying Machine," "By the Light of the Silvery Moon," "Oh, You Beautiful Doll" (reprise); "Cuddle Up a Little Closer," "Waiting for the Robert E. Lee," "The Darktown Strutters Ball" (sung in French); "Too Much Mustard," "Rose Room/The Tango," "Tres Jolie Waltz," "When They Were Dancing Around," "Little Brown Jug," "Maxine Dengozo," "You're Here and I'm Here," "Chicago," "Hello, Frisco, Hello," "Way Down Yonder in New Orleans," "Take Me Back to New York Town," "It's a Long Way to Tipperary," "Who's Your Lady Friend" (sung and danced by Fred Astaire); "The Destiny Waltz," "Nights of Gladness," and "The Missouri Waltz." Of the songs used, only one, "Only When You're in My Arms," was a an original written for the film, sung by Astaire to Rogers.

While THE STORY OF VERNON AND IRENE CASTLE was reportedly not a successful film when released, it has gained some status in later years. Thanks to this movie alone, the names of Vernon and Irene Castle would definitely be forgotten. While they're almost virtually forgotten, their names in the title would help them remain somewhat notable to future generations to come, for as long as this movie continues to be available for viewing. THE STORY OF VERNON AND IRENE CASTLE is not only part of the Astaire and Rogers series, it's also a part of them. A sad film in many ways, particularly with its unhappy ending, it was an end of the Astaire and Rogers era, and they knew it. One can actually feel it by watching their performance. Astaire and Rogers show warmth in their infrequent kissing scenes, and Rogers herself is altogether excellent in her performance from a youngster in the early portion of the story to her devoted and mature wife towards the end. The costumes and everything else used in this production, as close to accuracy as possible, recaptured the bygone 1910 era. The musical interludes, while plentiful, are actually brief, with one segment done in a ten minute montage featuring a handful of instrumental dance music. All this and many more help this production another one of the best presented by Astaire and Rogers. While not their last, the team would be reunited in one more musical ten years later, THE BARKLEYS OF Broadway (MGM, 1949), once again playing a husband and wife dance team, but this time as fictional characters.

Also seen in the supporting cast are Etienne Girardot as Papa Aubel; Victor Varconi as The Grand Duke; Rolfe Sedal as Emil Aubel; Donald MacBride as the Hotel Manager; and in cameo, actor Roy D'Arcy as himself, appearing in the Hollywood segment in which Irene Castle stars in a silent motion picture, PATRIA. Walter Brennan and Edna May Oliver are an added asset in both tender moments and comedy as the middle-aged other couple acting part as both friends and agents to the Castles.

THE STORY OF VERNON AND IRENE CASTLE, available on video cassette, later on DVD, and once shown on American Movie Classics, occasionally plays on Turner Classic Movies. In recent years, deleted scenes including French vocalist singing and sounding like Maurice Chevalier to the tune "Darktown Strutters Ball," have been restored, along with the original RKO Radio logo and closing credits replacing the sold to television logo of MOVIETIME or C&C Television that were used for commercial TV prior to 1984, along with its closing cast credits.

While not 100 percent accurate, with some character names being fictitious, the movie itself is straight forward, right to the point, and at 94 minutes, hardly has any time to bore its viewers. (****)


5 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
The Least Known vernvaquer
help with music demonwarhead
Interesting change of pace cnb
RKO cinematography JackBluegrass

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?