A Damsel in Distress (1937)

Passed   |    |  Comedy, Music, Romance


A Damsel in Distress (1937) Poster

Lady Alyce Marshmorton must marry soon, and the staff of Tottney Castle have laid bets on who she'll choose, with young Albert wagering on "Mr. X". After Alyce goes to London to meet a beau... See full summary »

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6.9/10
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  • Fred Astaire and Joan Fontaine in A Damsel in Distress (1937)
  • Fred Astaire and Joan Fontaine in A Damsel in Distress (1937)
  • Fred Astaire in A Damsel in Distress (1937)
  • Fred Astaire and Joan Fontaine in A Damsel in Distress (1937)
  • Fred Astaire in A Damsel in Distress (1937)
  • Fred Astaire and Montagu Love in A Damsel in Distress (1937)

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22 December 2004 | didi-5
6
| RKO Gershwin dance-fest
Fred's first film for a while without Ginger was a money-loser for RKO, and it is easy to see why. The main problem is the lacklustre playing of young British actress Joan Fontaine, out of her depth in a film that requires her to be both alluring and a fitting dance partner for Astaire. That she is no dancer is made clear by George Stevens's ham-fisted direction of their one duet, using trees as bad camouflage for her lack of skill.

Aside from a fitting leading lady, though, there's quite a few things that keep you watching. Fred Astaire has some fine solo dance pieces to do, especially using percussion instruments. There's a lot of interplay with the talented comics George Burns and Gracie Allen, too, which lifts the pace a lot. One section has the three of them ending a Fun House trip by dancing in the Hall of Mirrors.

There's a good Gershwin score, including such gems as 'Nice Work If You Can Get It', and there's even an opera-loving butler, whose obsession comes to a head in a hugely enjoyable piece of humour. But 'A Damsel in Distress' is ultimately let down by the damsel, who doesn't measure up!

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