Produced by: Pandro S. Berman
Written by: Hubert Osborne, Allan Scott, Dwight Taylor
Choreographed by: Hermes Pan
Cinematography: David Abel
Words and Music by: Irving Berlin
Production Company: RKO
Premiere: New York, February 20, 1936
Synopsis (from VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever 2001): A song-and-dance man who has joined the Navy is reunited with his old flame and helps her and her sister in this Rogers/Astaire bon-bon featuring a classic Irving Berlin score. Look for Betty Grable, Lucille Ball and Tony Martin in minor roles. Hilliard went on to be best known as the wife of Ozzie Nelson in TV's "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet." (3 out of 4)
"Follow The Fleet" was rushed out of the studio to take advantage of the public's clamour for more Fred and Ginger, and it shows.
In my opinion, this is the worst of the Fred and Ginger movies. I get very annoyed at Randolph Scott and Harriet Hilliard, and also at the most ridiculous plot contrivances in the series. The dances are high quality but very little else of the movie is. I usually end up fast forwarding through everything except the dances when I watch this.
In fact, very few movies Fred made are worse than this- which, in a way, attests to the quality of Fred's output. It has really great dance numbers (if it weren't for them, this movie would be worse than "Second Chorus").
However both Fred and Ginger show fine acting and Ginger's comedic abilites are utilised to greater and more satisfying effect. In particular, "I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket": Fred reaches for Ginger, the music changes and Ginger goes tumbling onto the floor. She ends up sitting disgustedly on the floor twiddling her fingers with a hilarious frustrated look on her face. Her finest moment!
Watch this movie for the dances, spot Betty Grable, Tony Martin and Lucille Ball (who has one great line) in their bit parts, spot the infamous bit where Ginger's heavily weighted sleeve smacks Fred in the face as they dance. Fast forward through everything else.