Swing Time (1936) A
“Swing Time” is one of the best Astaire-Rogers RKO musicals, boasting Astaire’s virtuoso “Bojangles” dance and one of the most stunning and intimate dances with Ginger Rogers, “Pick Yourself Up.”
In the same year, Astaire and Rogers made another great musical, “Follow the Fleet.” Some critics claim that “Swing Time” is the best teaming of the stars, while others prefer “Top Hat.” Either way, “Swing Time” is terrific entertainment all around, frm the music to dance to lead and supporting performances.
The sixth of RKO’s Fred Astaire -Ginger Rogers dance musicals of the 1930s, Swing Time starts off with bandleader Astaire getting cold feet on his wedding day.
Astaire’s bride-to-be Betty Furness will give him a second chance, providing he proves responsible enough to earn $25,000. But Astaire tries to avoid earning that amount once he falls in love with dance instructor Ginger Rogers.
Complications ensue, leading to the “second time’s the charm” climax, with Ginger escaping her own wedding to wealthy Georges Metaxa in order to be reunited with Astaire.
The film’s most indelible image is that of Astaire, immaculately attired in top hat and tails, hopping a freight car.
The Jerome Kern-Dorothy Fields score includes such standards as “Pick Yourself Up,” “A Fine Romance,” “The Way You Look Tonight,” “Never Gonna Dance” and “Bojangles of Harlem.”
The supporting cast includes Helen Broderick, Victor Moore, Eric Blore, and Landers Stevens, the actor-father of the film’s director, George Stevens.
Running time: 103 Minutes.
Directed by George Stevens
Written By: Howard Lindsay
Released: September 4, 1936
DVD: August 16, 2005
Oscar Nominations: 2
Best Song, “The Way You Look Tonight,” music by Jerome Kern, lyrics by Dorothy Fields.
Dance Direction: Hermes Pan (a category that existed only several years
Oscar Awards: 1
The winner of the Dance Direction Oscar was Seymour Felix for Ä Pretty Girl is Like a Melody,” from the movie “The Great Ziegfeld,” which also won the Best Picture Oscar
Fred Astaire as John “Lucky” Garnett
Ginger Rogers as Penelope “Penny” Carrol
Victor Moore as Pop
Helen Broderick as Mabel Anderson
Eric Blore as Mr. Gordon
Betty Furness as Margaret Watson
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