Thursday, August 26, 2010

Follow the Fleet (1936)

Something about watching a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers movie after a long day is just right. I figure it's because the films were meant to be made with a light edge because of the depression and all.

Whatever it is that makes watching the dancing pair a delight to watch, I admit to being exposed to only three out of the ten movies they made together.

The first I watched was due to a volunteer gig at the Aero theater. It was a double feature of "Follow the Fleet" and "Roberta".

The thing about most of these movies, is that there isn't really a story. It's just a backdrop for the main event, the tap dancing. These are amazing tap dancing moves. Long tap dance numbers. But amazing nonetheless.

"Follow the Fleet" was the first one I watched. It didn't have the greatest story but from what I remember, there is a sailor, Astaire, who tries to rekindle a romance with his old dancing partner played by Rodgers. Rodgers has a frumpy sister who she makes over. Once made over, Astaire friend begins to romance her.

A semi-romantic, comedy, with beautiful dance numbers would be the best summary for this movie.

Fred Astaire makes up for his un-Hollywood looks for his irresistible charm and phenomenal dancing. You just can't stop staring at his feet. I keep wondering if he ever twisted his ankles...

Ginger Rodgers is what makes the pair dazzle. She plays her characters with a sassy and sharp attitude. She's beautiful and fun. And the fact that she was able to keep up with Astaire is a pretty big feat.

Every time Astaire holds Rodgers as they glide around in circles, it just sends chills down my spine. Anyone who knows anything knows that dancing requires coordination, grace, and above all else, strength. Doesn't matter that Astaire wasn't the suave Hollywood leading man. He had the strength to twirl a girl around and make it look effortless. Sexy.

When Irene Dunn (another favorite classic actress) sang "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes"I was floored.There are no words to describe the deep emotions I felt when I watched that scene.

The song and dance number that really, really lift me away from reality was first watching "Lets Face the Music". It starts off really depressing as they glide across the dark floor. Little by little, you can see the pair lift their dark mood to a determined and strong moves. Something about the whole thing is powerful enough for me to chin up, buck up, and fight on!

Another cool tidbit about this movie?
Seeing a young Lucille Ball play a showgirl!

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