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The Barkleys Of Broadway PDF Print E-mail

Directed by: Charles Walters

Starring:

Fred Astaire

Josh Barkley

Ginger Rogers

Dinah Barkley

Oscar Levant

Ezra Millar

Billie Burke

Mrs. Livingston Belney

Gale Robbins

Shirlene May

Jacques François

Jacques Barredout

Produced by: Arthur Freed, Roger Edens (Associate)

Written by: Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Sidney Sheldon

Choreographed by: Robert Alton, Hermes Pan ("Fred Astaire's Dances")

Cinematography: Harry Stradling, Sr.

Words and Music by: Ira Gershwin, Harry Warren, Arthur Freed

Production Company: MGM

Premiere: New York, May 4, 1949

Synopsis (from VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever 2001): The famous dancing team's last film together; they play a quarrelling husband/wife showbiz team. (3 out 4) 

P.J. Says:

The best moment of this movie, for me, is obscured by the opening credits. The “Swing Trot” is simply breathtaking and a great way to reintroduce Fred and Ginger to the public after a gap of nearly a decade.

After watching the movie, I went and found out how to dance the Swing Trot, and believe it or not, it’s really simple. Seven even beats, steps punctuated by toe taps. I demonstrated it to a dance instructor friend of mine, and he waved his hand dismissively, “boring!” “

“But,” I protested, “Fred looked great dancing it!”

“Oh yeah, while HE would!” came the reply.

Touché!

But I digress. It’s a good movie. The dances are all good. The songs are great. Oscar Levant is funny, especially the running gag with all  the beautiful women. I like Clinton Sundberg’s brief appearance as Bert the producer- his fear of Ginger is funny, and his panicked half scream and half squeal of “Ezra!” takes the cake.

Ginger has aged well, but for a woman so careful of how she looks, she made some bad choices. Her hairstyles in several scenes don’t seem to suit her, nor do certain dresses. The worst is “They Can’t Take That Away From Me.” She looks really matronly with her hair done up in a huge bun and the dress revealing how much her body has thickened. She looks terrific in scenes like “My One and Only Highland Fling” or “Bouncing The Blues.”

Anyway, that’s not so important. The important thing is that we get Fred and Ginger one more time in this wonderful movie that ends things off well. Since they pretty much parody themselves and their own relationship, there is for a first time a sense of closure to the Fred and Ginger era (I’m not counting “Vernon and Irene Castle”- unlike the other eight movies, they played other people instead of variations on themselves). Time has passed, maturity has entered their relationship and given them perspective and wisdom. All those fine whirlwind romances endedwith them walking off into the sunset together, but now we can truly feel tha they are really going to love to a ripe old age together. I think this movie just had to be made, if only to call to a close one of the great partnerships of cinematic history. Now go and enjoy the rest of your life together away from our peering eyes, you two. You deserve it.

 

The final word:

Dancing value: 9.5/10
Acting value: 8/10
Entertainment value: 8.5/10

Overall Ranking: 17/31

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Last Updated on Thursday, 05 November 2009 12:25