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Second Chorus
Second Chorus
Actor: Fred Astaire;Paulette Goddard
Director: H. C. Potter
Genres: Comedy, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2004     1hr 30min



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Movie Details

Actor: Fred Astaire;Paulette Goddard
Director: H. C. Potter
Genres: Comedy, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Romantic Comedies, Classic Comedies, Musicals
Studio: Alpha Video
Format: DVD - Black and White - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 08/31/2004
Original Release Date: 01/03/1941
Theatrical Release Date: 01/03/1941
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 30min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Never seen this film look better!!
Marcco99 | Los Angeles CA USA | 10/24/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"this hal roach studios dvd release of 'second chorus' has to be the best restoration of this film so far. not top of the line spectacular, but very, very good!! on the back cover it says the dvd is "mastered from original 35mm nitrate camera negative", and indeed the images are clean and crisp, no spots, specs, or lines. those who have seen the inferior prints of this film in the past will be pleasantly surprised. it's well worth the money.

for me, astaire is hollywood royalty; a peerless dancer and entertainer. all of astaire's body of work is great --- he never fails to deliver fresh, original interpretations of music through his singing and dancing. his films should be in every dvd library, that's why THIS DVD EDITION is such a find.

and while the film itself is not a classic, it does have some wonderful moments, starting with the toe-tapping tune by the artie shaw orchestra that accompanies the opening credits. this, along with "i ain't hep to that step but i'll dig it" and "love of my life" and the instrumental band music ... they're all upbeat, peppy tunes. it's a shame there's not more of them, they're just great to listen to.

paulette goddard's sweet-tart personality also works well with astaire, and her one dance (a jitterbug!!) with astaire is well done and fun to watch. again, we could use more dancing, even the great astaire has ONE solo dance number. goddard herself was just reaching fullblown stardom at this time (1940). burgess meredith, brilliant as always. artie shaw, charles butterworth and the supporting cast, excellent.

with more music and dance numbers (this film seems to have fewer numbers than your traditional musical), and perhaps better production values (paramount studios would do better by astaire in later films) this could have been a classic musical. but even so, as it is , it's still well worth a look!!!!"
Disappointing Film-to-DVD Copy
Howard Nemerov | TX, United States | 08/18/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)

"Alpha Video is one of those companies that copies film-based movies directly to DVD with no digital remastering of either the video or audio. As a result, the video jumped at times and spots blinked across the screen. Most of the dialogue sounded like people talking inside a large tin can lined with acoustic insulation.

The plot and characters did not age very well. It may have been funny at one time, but having two friends, O'Neill and Taylor (played by Fred Astaire and Burgess Meredith, respectively) lying and conniving against each other for the motives of lust and greed made the entire movie disappointing. Even the one sympathetic character, Mr. Chisholm (played by Charles Butterworth) got drawn into this "comic" device when he decided to use his position as concert sponsor to force his unwanted musical abilities on Artie Shaw.

Paulette Goddard's character Ellen Miller did women a disservice by pretending to put her foot down when she had an opportunity to display common sense and tell the two "friends" she did not want to see them again, after they used her friendship to gain auditions with Shaw and then embarrassed her with their unprofessional antics onstage. Instead, she keeps letting them get her into trouble, almost causing Chisholm to return home with his sponsorship money by making him think Ellen was married to Taylor. They finally almost see the error of their ways and put their lying and conniving to good use by convincing Chisholm that their latest scam was all a misunderstanding and persuading him to recommit to the concert.

Adding to the disappointment is the fact that Astaire had only two dance numbers, one with Goddard (she's no Ginger Rogers) and a solo dance at the end of the movie.

It sort of comes out okay in the end, but the idea that a woman's love can make a bad guy turn good has resulted in many women choosing to remain in abusive and even lethal relationships. Sorry, but I don't find this to be a very valuable theatrical device anymore. At least "Looking for Mr. Goodbar" did not pretend to be other than what it was.

If you want to view the movie, rent a copy until one of the better DVD production companies releases a properly remastered version.
Of special interest to Astaire fans
calvinnme | 04/03/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

""Second Chorus" is not a widely known film, but it will probably be enjoyable to any fan of Fred Astaire. If you're not particularly fond of Astaire, you might want to pass on this one since seeing Astaire in action in an unusual role is the main attraction. The story is that Danny O'Neill (Fred Astaire) and Hank Taylor (Burgess Meredith) are leaders of a band. The two have been intentionally failing in college, because they like the atmosphere, and also because as long as they are officially students they can spend their time running the band and making a pretty good living at it. When Ellen Miller (Paulette Goddard) enters the picture, they both get greedy and want her attention for themselves. Thus they each double-cross the other and both wind up getting expelled from the university, thus ending their cozy arrangement with their band. They spend most of the rest of the film continuing to double-cross one another, this time over trying to get into Artie Shaw's band as well as trying to win over the affections of Ellen, who now works for Shaw. In the end, Danny and Hank patch things up and decide to work together, with good results coming from their teamwork.

The things that are not so great about this film are mainly the quality of the video, the less than great comic timing, and the tiresome scenes with J. Lester Chisholm, played by Charles Butterworth. Mr. Butterworth is no Edward Everett Horton, and as a less-than-adequate character actor you just want to shoo the guy off stage every time he turns up. Also, if you're watching this film to see lots of Astaire's wonderful dancing, you'll likely be somewhat disappointed. He does do some singing and dancing, but this film mainly shows off his comic abilities, of which the mischievous Astaire has plenty. This part would have been better if the comic timing of the script had been tighter, though.

As for the second feature, "That's Dancing" is a documentary made in 1985 along the same lines of "That's Entertainment". However, in my humble opinion "That's Entertainment" did it before and did it better. Actually, this documentary seems a bit drawn out and lacks the excitement of its predecessor. However, you do get to see some good shots of Astaire and others doing some pretty impressive dancing. Considering the low cost of this double feature, for the ardent Astaire fan it is probably worth it."