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Swing Time (1936)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | 12 October 1936 (Brazil)
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

Writers:

Howard Lindsay (screen play), Allan Scott (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Fred Astaire ... Lucky Garnett
Ginger Rogers ... Penny Carroll
Victor Moore ... Pop Cardetti
Helen Broderick ... Mabel Anderson
Eric Blore ... Gordon
Betty Furness ... Margaret Watson
Georges Metaxa Georges Metaxa ... Ricky Romero
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Storyline

Lucky is tricked into missing his wedding to Margaret by the other members of Pop's magic and dance act, and has to make $25000 to be allowed to marry her. He and Pop go to New York where they run into Penny, a dancing instructor. She and Lucky form a successful dance partnership, but romance is blighted (till the end of the film at least!) by his old attachment to Margaret and hers for Ricardo, the band leader who won't play for them to dance together. Written by Sebastian Gibbs <sjg94@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

dance | wedding | love | dancer | performer | See All (66) »

Taglines:

A glorious songburst of gaiety and laughter! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

12 October 1936 (Brazil) See more »

Also Known As:

I Won't Dance See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$886,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list. See more »

Goofs

In the scene at the New Amsterdam, when Lucky first gets out of the car, there is a large white mark on the seat of his coat. This is possibly because no-one brushed off his coat after a previous take of the same scene, in which he sits down on a "snow" covered bench. See more »

Quotes

Everett 'Pop' Cardetti: Lucky, please don't feel bad. You still got me. Course I ain't a young and pretty girl. I ain't even a girl, but I'll stick. I'll never leave you.
See more »


Soundtracks

The Way You Look Tonight
(1936) (uncredited)
Lyrics by Dorothy Fields
Music by Jerome Kern
Performed by Fred Astaire
Reprised by Georges Metaxa
Reprised again by Georges Metaxa, Helen Broderick, Victor Moore, Fred Astaire, and Ginger Rogers at the end
Played in the score often
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"No one could teach you to dance in a million years"
23 March 2008 | by ackstasisSee all my reviews

'Swing Time (1936)' is typically held as one of the finest Fred Astaire and Gingers Rogers musicals, of which nine were made between 1933 and 1939 {' The Barkleys of Broadway (1949)' would follow a decade later}. Directed by George Stevens, the film abandons the often-silly mistaken identity subplots of previous films, and presents a more credible love story, supplemented by some of the most remarkable dance numbers I've yet had of enjoyment of seeing. Replete with the usual stock of enjoyable comedic actors, 'Swing Time' is a professionally-produced film, and Astaire and Rogers, as always, bounce off one another exceedingly well. Though the storyline isn't quite as entertaining as in 'Top Hat (1935)' or 'Shall We Dance (1937),' the picture relies purely on its terrific dance routines to elevate it to such a high status. Jerome Kern provided the film's music, and Dorothy Fields wrote the lyrics, including the Oscar-winning song, "The Way You Look Tonight."

John "Lucky" Garnett (Astaire) loves home-town sweetheart, Margaret (Betty Furness), and wants to marry her… or, at least, he thought he did. After the master-gambler moves to New York City to acquire a $25,000 dowry for the wedding, he comes upon beautiful dance instructor Penny Carroll (Rogers), immediately recognising that she is the woman for him. Wasting no time to consider the logic of his actions, Lucky signs up for dancing lessons, and his incredible "progress" leads the pair towards considerable success. A promising romance begins to bloom, but Lucky cannot bear to tell Penny that he's already engaged to marry another woman; at the same time, he deliberately resists achieving success in his gambling activities, lest he win enough money to return home to Margaret. Pop Cardetti (Victor Moore) and Mabel Anderson (Helen Broderick), knowing members of an older generation, stand around to witness the pair's irregular romance, and form a close friendship of their own, though everything is thrown into turmoil when sleazy musician Ricky Romero (Georges Metaxa) attempts to coax Penny from Lucky's grasp.

The absence of Edward Everett Horton unfortunately detracts from the effectiveness of the film's comedy, though Victor Moore provides an amusing substitute; his tone and mannerisms are so ridiculously adorable that he could accurately be described as a real-life Elmer Fudd. Jerome Kern's musical numbers vary from lighthearted tap dance numbers ("Pick Yourself Up") to sarcastic quicksteps ("A Fine Romance") to a virtuoso, emotion-filled ballroom routine ("Never Gonna Dance"), perhaps the most stirring performance that Astaire and Rogers ever did. There's a certain indescribable desperation to the way in which the two dancers leap and twirl across the dance floor, their movements escalating almost imperceptibly from an idle walk, and Rogers' long dress twists and turns in the air behind her. In Astaire's continual search for creative perfection, his routines were filmed, wherever possible, in a single take, and this particular number was attempted no less than forty-seven times. Also notable is Astaire's frenetic tribute to Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, performing in black-face against three tall synchronised shadows on the wall behind him.


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