"They Can't Take That Away From Me"
Bobby Underwood | Manly NSW, Australia | 09/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The beloved "Shall We Dance" was the only Fred and Ginger film with songs from George and Ira Gershwin, and they were splendid. Songs like "They Can't Take That Away From Me" made for great entertainment when coupled with the opulent RKO sets in this Pandro S. Berman production. The lively tale of mix-ups and misunderstandings was from a screenplay by Allan Scott and Ernest Pagno, based on an adaptation by P.J. Wolfson of a story by Lee Loeb and Harold Buchman. Ginger's gowns by Irene were fabulous as always and Mark Sandrich once again took the helm.
On his stay in Paris, Pete (Fred Astaire), a famous ballet dancer also known as Petrov, wants to meet musical comedy star Linda Keene (Ginger Rogers), and in fact, would like to marry her! Pete and his pal Jeffrey (Edward Everett Horton) discover she's sailing on the S.S. Queen Anne and follow her. Pete uses a fake accent for a short time but is eventually found out, and finds out that dogs are the way to a girl's heart.
A wild story Jeffery told Lady Tarrington (Ketti Gallian) in Paris comes back to haunt Pete, as suddenly everyone on the cruise thinks he and Linda have been secretly married, and are going to have a baby! It's a bit much for Linda, who has sworn off reporters, and they decide to really get married, so they can get divorced. But it's too late for Linda, as she has fallen in love with the pursuing Pete, and there is a sadness as Pete sings "They Can't Take That Away From Me" on a ferry to Manhattan after it's all done. The tune was nominated as Best Song but lost the Oscar to "Sweet Leilani" from "Waikiki Wedding."
Hilarious moments in the film include Edward Everett Horton and Eric Blore in a "hushing" duel with ballet patrons, Horton and Jerome Cowan getting tight, with Horton getting ill afterward, and Fred convincing Horton that he's seasick, even though the water is perfectly calm. Blore ends up in jail for the second time in one of the couple's pictures and is once again a riot.
Ginger sings "They All Laughed" and she and Fred share a lovely dance that culminates with a smile, as the couple sit on a piano. A fun and famous scene has them on skates in the park, dancing to "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off." Fred's character Pete wants to dance with Linda all his life, but what's he to do when she won't consider it? Dance with images of her, that's what. A charming conclusion has Linda joining the other girls, but Pete can't figure out which is the real Linda. Will Linda say yes to Pete? If you are a fan of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers you know the answer to that one!
Devoted fans of one of the most fondly remembered couples in screen history might be shocked to learn that during production, there were plans for this to be their final film. "Swing Time," their previous entry, now widely regarded by film historians, along with "Top Hat," as the zenith of their films together, had done huge box office business in large cities upon its initial release. But that business had quickly subsided and there were those at RKO who felt they had gone to the well once too often.
Fortunately for us, that theory was squashed, and we got to see the hilarious "Carefree" and the tender "The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle" before the couple said farewell. Again, fortunately, we don't have to say farewell, only "see you later," because we now have the ability to watch these wonderful films at home whenever we want. "Shall We Dance" is a charming reminder of a magic that passed this way only once, and something you'll want to capture forever by picking up a copy today."
"Dance Whenever You Can"
Alex Udvary | chicago, il United States | 07/03/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"There's a special place in my heart for the films of Astaire & Rogers, and I think most people feel that way too about them. There was an innocence to their films. There was charm, wit, wonderful music (from the likes of Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, or, as in this movie George & Ira, and don't you dare ask George & Ira WHO?!)and there were great dance numbers. There was all of this and more. The chemistry between these two was unbelieveable. They played off each other so well. And their films clearly show this, watch any of them to find out.
"Shall We Dance" was directed by Mark Sandrich, the team's most trusted director, he directed 5 films with them ("Top Hat", "Carefree", & "Follow the Fleet" to name a few). And this film is just as good as any other film with Fred & Ginger. The plot in this one could border line on screwball comedy, and I suppose that's what makes it all the more enjoyable, we don't see movies like this anymore. "Shall We Dance" is about a great American dancer, Pete Peters (Fred Astaire) who happens to fall under the charms of Linda Keene (Ginger Rogers) when Peters finds out that Keene is going abroad, he gets a wonderful idea, perhaps he should go abroad too! But wait, more is added to this, Peters, pretends to be a famous Russian ballet dancer, the Great Petrov. Which of course means nothing to Linda. Then the usual "mistaking idenity" bit is played, but, it works.
As I stated before, all the Astaire & Rogers films offer great music, and the score by George & Ira could be one of the best score's Fred & Ginger ever sang and danced too. The songs include "Let's Call The Whole Thing Off", "They Can't Take That Away From Me", "They All Laughed", "Slap That Bass", "I've Got Beginner's Luck", and the standout closing number, "Shall We Dance". That closing song and dance number is maybe among the most charming moments in film history. It's just thinking about moments like that, that put a smile on my face, and take you far away. If anyone reading this has never seen an Astaire & Rogers picture, this would be a good place to start. A lot of the elements that made the team so famous are here in this movie. If you're already familar with the team, well, then there's no need for me to tell you how great they were together, and how good any of their films are.
Bottom-line: A truly charming film that lifts up are spirits and reminds us of a time gone by. A great musical score and good acting all makes for some wonderful light hearted entertainment."
The epitome of 'glorious black and white'
traseru | Seattle | 07/08/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What I want to know is... why couldn't they have been born now? They're funny, it's all in good taste, they dance and sing. What more can you ask for in a musical? I am a teenager and this is one of my favorite movies; tell that to Leonardo along with the fact that Titanic was an awful film. Fred and Ginger dance wonderfully, my favorite scene is when the butler is locked in jail and he has a spelling bee over the phone. I want to watch it all the time, and don't forget... it's in glorious black and white!"
My FAVORITE Astaire-Rogers musical
traseru | 05/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've seen all ten of Ginger and Fred's movies a hundred times each, and this one is still my favorite. The music is wonderful! The plot is a light and breezy romance comedy. And if all you do is watch the roller skate routine, that will be enough to get you hooked. Also, listen for They Can't Take That Away From Me--it'll bring a tear to your eye. If you're looking for a good Fred and Ginger movie, you've found it."