All hands on deck! In the fifth of 10 Astaire/Rogers pairings, Fred trades his top hat for a sailor's cap, Randolph Scott gets the girl (pre-Nelson Harriet Hilliard), Ginger gets a tap solo and viewers get the unending del... more »ight of seven sparkling Irving Berlin numbers, including Let Yourself Go, We Saw the Sea, the Duo's zany I'm Putting All My Eggs in One Basket skit and their sublimely powerful Let's Face the Music and Dance. Astaire is Bake Baker, a hoofer now given to stepping a sailor's horn-pipe while he and other swabbies patrol the seas for democracy. Rogers is his former partner Sherry, now convoying the Navy around a ballroom for 10 cents a dance. But one day the fleet returns to home port. Bake again meets Sherry, and the partnership is renewed at least for one more show. In small early-career roles, look for a very blond Lucille Ball and a very young Betty Grable. DVD Features:
Featurette:Follow the Fleet: The Origins of Those Dancing Feet
Other:Musical Short Melody Master: Jimmie Lunceford and His Orchestra and Classic Cartoon Let It Be Me« less
Fine and somewhat underrated Fred and Ginger musical
Matthew G. Sherwin | last seen screaming at Amazon customer service | 02/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Follow The Fleet is a solid RKO musical from 1936 that gives us Fred Astaire as Bake Baker, navy seaman and Ginger Rogers as Sherry Martin dancing at their best, even if the plot is rather thin. Look also for a great performance by Randolph Scott as Bilge Smith, Bake's buddy in the navy; and Harriet Hilliard plays Connie Martin, Sherry's sister. The plot and the action move along at a good pace; and the convincing acting was very nicely done.
The action starts when a navy ship carrying Bake Baker and his buddy Bilge Smith come into San Francisco's port. Bake wants to rekindle his old romance with Sherry but for now at least she wants nothing of the sort between them. Bilge soon falls for Sherry's sister Connie; and this provides a subplot even though too much time is spent on Bilge and Connie's relationship, in my opinion.
Bake wants Sherry back very badly--and he even ruins a job or two for her just to make sure she's still available! This causes obvious complications between Sherry and Bake. Meanwhile, Connie wants marriage with Bilge; but Bilge certainly isn't ready for marriage with any woman.
The song and dance numbers shared by Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire are nothing less than heavenly; they dance exceptionally well together especially in the film's finale, "Let's Face The Music And Dance." We also get a scene in which Ginger dances by herself; and this is noteworthy simply because it so rarely happened in the movies.
Look also for some great musical numbers on board the navy ship. Fred really knew how to dance!
The DVD comes with a very good bonus about Fred and Ginger; it has historians and Fred's daughter discussing how Fred and Ginger got into show business and finally movies. There's also a cute cartoon and another brief extra entitled Melody Master: Jimmy Lunceford and His Dance Orchestra. This is great bonus material!
Although some believe that Follow The Fleet is not the strongest Fred and Ginger movie, it kept my attention very well and I enjoyed it thoroughly. The song and dance numbers couldn't have been better; and it's nice to see Lucille Ball as a friend of Sherry Martin even if Lucille's part was rather small. The finale features Ginger in the famous beaded dress that she maintained weighed 35 pounds!
I highly recommend this movie for fans of classic movie musicals; and fans of Fred and Ginger will not want to overlook this one! "
Not Quite Their Best But Not Bad
Grendel | 09/06/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Follow the Fleet" differs from the 3 classic Astaire and Rogers films "Swing Time", "Shall We Dance" and "Top Hat" in that the comedy beats usually provided by Victor Moore, Eric Blore, Edward Horton, and Helen Broderick are notiecably absent. In their place is a second melo-dramatic plot line with Harriet Hilliard and Randolph Scott which isnt bad but can't compare to say a scene from "Top Hat" with Edward Horton and Eric Blore and the laughs they get. So, you can skip over the Scott and Hilliard spots or enjoy the irony of Harriet's "Get Thee Behind Me Satan" number knowing that she will become Harriet in the Ozzie and Harriet early TV sitcom. The rest of the movie is brilliant Astaire and Rogers, launching one great Irving Berlin song after another. There's Ginger's spicy "Let Yourself Go" delivered in an adorable satin sailor suit, Fred's very funny "We Joined the Navy", and the unforgetable duet and tap number "I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket", a tune you can't get out of your head along with Ginger's goofy and charming playfullness in the tap dance. And of course this movie contains one of Astaire and Roger's most memorable ballroom dance numbers "Let's Face the Music and Dance". This routine alone shows the amazing story telling ability of Astaire's coreography combined with the Roger's powerful but silent emoting while dancing in that fantastic beaded dress. Any serious Astaire and Rogers collector has to get this movie if just for this dance by itself."
One of the Best Astaire & Rogers Movies Iv'e Ever Seen!!!!!
Grendel | 04/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am a big fan of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and thought that "Follow the Fleet" is one of their best films. I especially like the comical plot. Irving Berlin is brilliant, as usual, and delivers several fantastic numbers including "Let Yourself Go" (my personal favorite), "We Joined the Navy", and "Let's Face the Music"(which brings tears to my eyes). I also liked the comical number, "I'm Putting All My Eggs in One Basket". Absolutly Brilliant."
The one-take wonder of "Let's Face The Music."
Chris Aldridge | Washington, DC USA | 11/01/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This film is nice because there are *two* love stories (something of a plot departure), and the second couple (Randy Scott and Harriet Hilliard Nelson) are given the bulk of the dramatics, which allow our stars to be looser, more comical. Astaire chews the gum a little too severely, but he was anxious to make a departure from his customary tuxedoed playboy. Rogers is much more at ease in the role of struggling dancer-singer, and plays well opposite sister Hilliard. (The history is that Ms. Hilliard had to darken her naturally blond hair to distinguish her from Ms. Rogers. But wouldn't they better resemble sisters if they were both blondes?) The Irving Berlin numbers are quite good, ranging from light ("Let Yourself Go," "I'd Rather Lead A Band") to torchy ("But Where Are You?") to elegant. In terms of elegance, "Let's Face The Music And Dance" is the film's bewitching finale (performed on a marvelous, Art-Deco style rooftop) and illustrates Astaire's penchant for full-frame, single-take dancing; it is one of the duo's most glamorous duets ever performed on film. A bit of trivia: Rogers' evening gown makes another bit of indirect upstaging (not unlike the shedding feathers of TOP HAT's "Cheek To Cheek") because its heavy, metallic sleeves whacked Astaire across the cheeks in take one!! Ironically, after many reshoots to cover up that snafu, they had no choice but to go back to the first take (apparently the best perfomance of the dance, but you can still see the sleeves brush across Astaire's face). It loses one point from me, based on Randy Scott's robotic acting."
If only there had been more Fred!
Chris Aldridge | 08/12/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Follow The Fleet" is not a Fred and Ginger movie like "Top Hat" or "Swing Time". Fred and Ginger are the supporting couple in this film and after the success of their films together where they were the starring couple, their supporting role in this film was beefed up. Fred and Randolph Scott (good friends in real life) play two sailors. This casting gives Fred a chance to escape the usual white tie and tails, but don't worry he does eventually wear them! Fred plays a former dancer, his partner being Ginger. Randolph Scott is his good friend, a ladies man with no plans on being serious about any one lady. Together, they go on shore leave where Fred meets Ginger and Randolph meets Harriet (later to be the Harriet in "Ozzie and Harriet"). The main story involves Randolph and Harriet's romance, complicated by the usual 'other woman', Randy not wanting to commit, etc. Its the standard stuff. Its only when the movie shifts to the second couple that it gets cookin'. Fred and Ginger dance like we've come to expect them to, perfectly. They both get individual chances to shine apart from their dancing, Ginger sings and Fred plays the piano. Some of their dances are fun and some very romantic. They also liven up the 'straight' scenes by making wisecracks, livening up the dull story of Randolph and Harriet. This is a must for Fred and Ginger fans. If you are thinking of getting your first Fred and Ginger ones, I'd recommend "Top Hat" or "Swing Time" since those two best showcase their combined talents. However, if you've seen those, "Follow the Fleet" is a must see. Also, I must mention that I am a big Fred and Ginger fan, hence this review. If you are a Randolph Scott or Harriet Hilliard fan, no doubt you will love this film."