Also featuring: Barrie Chase
Produced by: Arthur Freed
Written by: Abe Burrows, Leonard Gershe, George S. Kaufman, Leueen MacGrath, Leonard Spigelgass
Choreographed by: Eugene Loring, Hermes Pan
Cinematography: Robert J. Bronner
Words and Music by: Cole Porter
Production Company: MGM
Premiere: New York, July 18, 1957
Synopsis: Splendid musical comedy adaptation of "Ninotchka," with Astaire as a charming American movie man, and Charisse as the cold Soviet official whose commie heart he melts. Music and lyrics by Cole Porter highlight this film adapted from George S. Kaufman's his Broadway play. (3 out of 4)
Fred brings his initial run of musicals to a magnificent and fitting end. there could have hardly been a better way to end it, with this wonderful, charming movie that hearkens back to his peak, with great numbers, great co-stars, and one of the best plots he’s ever had. It’s a high note, and it leaves us wanting more.
Can you imagine, though- The Red Blues: the best number in the movie has no Fred in sight! Those Soviets sure can party. Fred’s best number is All of You. Cyd sitting there. Cool and poised, and Fred serenading her. He’s really direct and forward in this movie! All that talk of love and romance and kissing, after all those years of romancing Ginger in the most roundabout ways, barely touching her and not kissing her at all! Oh my oh my!
On the flip side, the less said about the Ritz Rock and Roll the better. Fated To Be Mated seems so… Gene Kelly-ish. It’s very well done, and different, but it’s so acrobatic, with all that jumping and kicking and it seems to lack the inherent underlying message of previous Fred dances. Perhaps I’m trying to read too much into it, but it lacks a certain je na se qois. Interestingly enough, Fred said about his role in the movie, “Me? I play Gene Kelly. It’s a guy who produces, directs, acts, sings, dances… who could it be but Kelly?”
A fellow listee of the Fred Astaire list, and a good friend of mine argued that the entire dancing musical genre same and went with Fred. I agree. People talk about the realism of movies, the simplistic plots of musicals, the lack of good songs, and the inanity of people breaking into dance, but I think the main answer is simple: the sort of people who created the singing, dancing musicals are gone. You simply couldn’t do these things any more without Fred, or the other personnel of the era. But then, every happens in cycles, so maybe one day we’ll see a return of the genre. You never know.
The final word:
|Dancing value: 8/10|
Acting value: 8/10
Entertainment value: 8/10
Overall Ranking: 12/31
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