10 May 2001 | Doylenf
Ginger has lost none of her spice! Great reunion with Fred...
Nice to see that when Ginger Rogers put her dancing shoes on again for a reunion with Astaire, she was still a great trouper even though years had flown by in films without Fred. Lucky she was available! Seems that Judy Garland was unable to go on and had to be replaced by Ginger who was relaxing at her farm in Oregon. The script by Betty and Adolph Green had to be revamped to suit Fred and Ginger--and the result is pure gold! Rumors had it that Judy wasn't too happy about being replaced and gave Ginger a hard time by showing up on the set. None of the strain shows in Ginger's performance.
By no means is the storyline a new one--but the manner in which Fred, Ginger, Oscar Levant, Billie Burke and others play it is what makes the film so watchable. And the singing and dancing numbers can't be faulted. Fred has his solo routine with "Shoes With Wings On" (a number, by the way, which would have been impossible to perform on a real stage as he does here)-- but things like that never bothered filmgoers in the '40s. Ginger and Fred have a fine time with their 'My One and Only Highland Fling' routine (in kilts with brogues) and join forces for an elegant version of 'They Can't Take That Away From Me' in formal attire which -- for me at least -- was the highlight of their team effort. Acid-tongued Oscar Levant has plenty of chance to dazzle too with his nimble piano work on 'Sabre Dance' and even joins the two for "A Walk in the Country" which gets the story off to a jaunty start.
Though Judy's fans missed the opportunity to see her again with Astaire after "Easter Parade", nobody was disappointed with the results. For their fans, this was their only chance to see Fred and Ginger together in a Technicolor musical with no expense spared. The results were Grade A entertainment.
Ginger's Sarah Bernhardt recitation has become a camp classic--good for laughs! The less said about it, the better. Nevertheless, it's easy to see why Astaire welcomed her back with open arms.