It's Swing Time anytime Fred and Ginger slip on their dancing shoes. Here, Fred's a gambler with a fiancee back home...but one look at Ginger and all bets are off! He pursues, she resists, and it's all tied together by a s... more »eries of breathtaking dances. "Bojangles of Harlem," a tribute to hoofer Bill Robinson, has Astaire tapping with three giant Astaire shadows. The sly "Pick Yourself Up" features Ginger teaching the supposedly flub-footed Fred how to dance. Other highlights from the splendid Jerome Kern-Dorothy Fields score include "A Fine Romance," "Waltz in Swing Time," and the Academy Award(R) winning "The Way You Look Tonight." George Stevens directs. Year: 1936 Director: George Stevens Starring: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Victor Moore, Helen Broderick DVD Features:
Audio Commentary:Commentary by John Mueller, Author of Astaire Dancing
Featurette:The Swing of Things: Swing Time Step by Step
Other:Musical Short Hotel a la Swing and Classic Cartoon Bingo Crosbyana« less
"I can't quite agree with the editorial review, which indicated that this might be the one Astaire-Rogers musical to watch, if you could watch only one. This lags very, very slightly behind TOP HAT and THE GAY DIVORCEE, in my book, though I nevertheless consider it one of the very greatest musicals ever made. Another film, FOLLOW THE FLEET, features dance numbers that match any of these three, but suffers from a very weak script and lags when Fred and Ginger aren't dancing. SWING TIME is also is hurt by the presence of George Metaxa as Ricardo Romero, and by his implausibly quick reconciliation to his being jilted at the end of the film.My reason for rating it very slightly behind the other two films is the slightly weaker supporting cast and the fact that the humor is a tad less humorous. The dance numbers, however, are extraordinary, with at least two of them belonging in the Fred and Ginger Hall of Fame for their finest moments dancing together. These two numbers are the marvelously funny "Pick Yourself Up" and the marvelously dramatic "Never Gonna Dance." Luckily, this isn't the extent of the musical's treasures. There are two other great dance numbers and two marvelous songs that do not feature any dancing. The latter includes Fred's marvelous homage to Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, "Bojangles of Harlem," which Fred does in blackface and which just might be the only non-demeaning use of blackface in a 1930s film. Not only is it not demeaning, it is a powerful homage to the man regarded by his peers as the finest tap dancer of the early 20th century. Fred and Ginger also perform the "Waltz in Swing Time." The two songs are among the greatest pure songs appearing in any of Fred and Ginger's films. "The Way You Look Tonight" (which won the Oscar for Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields that year) features Fred playing the piano (yes, he really did his own playing) and singing while Ginger shampoos her hair (originally they were going to have her cleaning an oven, coming out mesmerized by Fred's singing, covered in grease, but it was decided the look didn't achieve the desired effect). And later Fred and Ginger sing perhaps their greatest comic song, "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off."As good as all the musical numbers are, however, the high point of the movie is the utterly amazing "Never Gonna Dance," in which Fred declares that if she leaves him to marry someone else, he will never dance again. The number is incredibly powerful with Fred first singing his intentions, and then luring Ginger into one last dance together. The number was exceptionally difficult to film, owing to a double staircase on each side of the set. The two had to dance upon it to time their arrival at the same precise moment. But for take after take, they kept arriving at slightly different moments. Unfortunately, Ginger's shoes were a bit too small, with the result that she cut her feet pretty badly during the forty odd takes. The result was worth it. The dance ranks with "Night and Day," "Let's Face the Music and Dance," and "Cheek to Cheek" as their greatest romantic dance number.Although the supporting cast and the humor is not quite at the same level as TOP HAT and THE GAY DIVORCEE, this is nonetheless a fine movie apart from the music. While I would still recommend those other two films above this one, I would recommend that anyone with the tiniest bit of interest in great musicals see all three, as well as catching the dance numbers of FOLLOW THE FLEET."
Sublime Entertainment, Astaire and Rogers Make Screen Magic!
Bertin Ramirez | San Ysidro, California United States | 07/10/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Nobody can make you feel the way Astaire and Rogers make you feel just by singing and dancing. They could sing and dance better than anybody, but they have such a natural charm that we get lost in the moment and chemistry that sends sparks around like no other movie duo. This is arguably their best film, 'Top Hat' is their other masterpiece, but this is funnier, wittier and was directed by George Stevens, who also directed classics like 'Shane' and 'Giant'. The dance numbers are nothing short of brilliant and Astaire's 'Bojangles of Harlem' routine is pure cinematic gold, a priceless piece of screen entertainment. But this one also features a great story with romantic undertones and witty dialogue. Victor Moore is priceless in a comic performance that giggles and delights, Helen Broderick also manages to get some laughs. Great songs featuring 'A Fine Romance', 'Pick Yourself Up', 'The Way You Look Tonight' and the sexy 'Never Gonna Dance'. From a scale of 1-10 I give this film a 10!"
Masterpiece of American musical theatre
Anthony Clarke | Woodend, Victoria Australia | 10/26/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"WHY HASN'T THIS BEEN ISSUED ON DVD? 'Swing Time' is a film which defines the poetry and grace of the screen's greatest dancing combination, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Forget that this is mono sound, and the images are black and white. The dancing is as modern as today; the spirit of the film as youthful still as its stars were an extraordinary 63 years ago. The casual insouciance of Astaire and Rogers in a scene such as the farcical dancing lesson which turns into a dancing tour-de-force, 'Pick Yourself Up', fills one with exuberant joy on the 50th viewing. Fred Astaire is grace itself, with his apparent ease concealing the regime of practice and preparation which lay behind every step. As for Ginger Rogers -- her lithe, sensual body, her strong shoulders and willowy frame, make her a delight to watch in this and all the staire/Rogers films. Pure sex appeal in dance! Buy it -- or better still, wait for its release on DVD when the Turner Organisation finally realises what it's got in its catalog!!!!"
A lovely film
S. Hebbron | Leicester UK | 03/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Swing time did quite badly at the box office in it's time, I don't quite understand that, Top Hat is always the more favoured film and yet, for me, the couple do what they do best at it's best in this film. The plot is just a touch more believable too and the trademark humourous support cast don't have quite so much to do. There is more emotive acting work to do here, to make the plot work, Ginger seems to particualrly honing her craft in this feild (little wonder she won an Oscar four years later!) The dance numbers are staggering and more daring, "Pick Yourself Up" is so athletic and skilled it is a joy to watch, "The Walse in Swing Time" is half their trademark ballroom number and half a stunningly fresh approach. "Never gonna Dance" is quite simply sublime, elegant, emotive, powerful and beautiful. It really demonstrates the power of dance in motion picture form. I saw an interview with one of the writers many years ago who told the story of how the end sequence of this dance, when Fred and Ginger reach the top of the stairs, took at least 40 something takes to get right because a range of problems, lights blowing out, mistimed spins and even Fred's toupee flying off! He talked of how he saw Ginger changing her pink satin pumps after the 36th take and only then realised the pumps were white, stained pink because her feet were bleeding so much! A classic film and a must see if just for this last dance number, I defy you not feel moved by that number!"
Swingin' into the spotlight!
viewer | South Carolina, USA | 05/27/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have seen this movie many, many times, and it still retains a quality of freshness about it. Every time I watch it, I am kept in suspense. Will Lucky marry Margaret, or will he choose Penny? Will Ricky steal Penny's heart away from the only man she's ever truly loved? Or will Lucky remain true to his name? These and many other questions will swarm through your head as you watch this Fred and Ginger gem. The singing is spectacular, and the dancing is even better. As the Entertainment Weekly's 100 Greatest Stars of All Times (1997) states, "The duet 'Pick Yourself Up' may be Astaire and Rogers' finest moment. Proof positive that dancing is better than sex." With a review like that, how can you help but watch this AMAZING movie?"