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Sunday, June 1, 2008

SHALL WE DANCE (1937)


The seventh Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers pairing retains much appeal, but also shows a considerable fall off from the triumphant TOP HAT, FOLLOW THE FLEET, SWING TIME trio. (Fred's last pic was the Gingerless DAMSEL IN DISTRESS and their follow up was CAREFREE, only a partial musical. see above) Eric Blore is a great comic addition anytime (all hail, Susquehanna Prison!), but who at RKO thought Fred should sing "They Can’t Take That Away From Me" to Rogers, only to dance it balletically with contortionist Harriet Hoctor? (see BARKLEYS OF B'WAY above) The film is positively loaded George & Ira Gershwin standards (even a pocket concert piece, "Walking the Dog"), yet it feels ill-paced & short on numbers, especially after TOP HAT’s pluperfect design. Next time you play this one, take a moment to appreciate just how good Fred is with all those lame jokes & tired comic set ups. "I must go, I must go to Moscow." Wonderful.



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