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  • wglenn26 March 2006
    With a little editing and a better finale, Let's Dance could've been a great musical. It starts out with a bang, and rides along on a fun and energetic high for the first 2/3 of the film. Then, the storyline of Hutton trying to retain custody of her child starts to drag on too long. As if to make up for the slow last third of the movie, the director then tacks on a short and overly simplistic ending, as if he wasn't sure how to get out of the film. Even with these problems, though, I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun this was. Hutton had tremendous energy as a comedienne and singer, and she sparkles through most of the film. Astaire also seems to be having a great time and shows a zany side that's quite delightful. There are several good musical numbers and two "must-see" dance pieces. In the first, Fred dances around, under, on top of and inside a piano, and he also gets to show off his lesser-known but fairly impressive skills as a pianist. This number has to rank among his all-time most enjoyable. The second great number has Fred and Hutton dressed as cowboys in a saloon, and it's a hilarious and wonderful routine. I cringed a bit when I read that Astaire was doing a cowboy number, but he's just as great in boots and blue jeans and he was in top hat, white tie and tails. There's some very good comedy writing in the film, and the secondary actors all do a fine job. Despite its slow and repetitive last section, Let's Dance is definitely worth watching. And some of the dance numbers deserve repeated viewing. An unexpectedly fun and funny film.
  • This is another example of how entertaining movies could be! I loved seeing Betty with Fred, and it sure made me realize that Astaire was much more than a dancer. The affection between the two stars is apparent at every turn and you could actually imagine that they could have been a couple in real life. I loved the fact that this time Betty is a 'Mom' and the child who plays her son is a delight. The story line is nothing new, but the songs and the dancing is fantastic. As with movies from this era, the supporting cast is just wonderful and I loved seeing Ruth Warwick, what a beauty! She was another underrated actress of the time. The clothes are beautiful and best of all the whole family can sit and watch! If you enjoy the musical comedies of the golden age of Hollywood, than don't pass this one by-
  • Maybe this film was never going to pick up an Oscar, but for plain entertainment value it's pretty hard to beat. You've got to remember that this film is over fifty years old and, although the quality of the video is very good, they did things a little differently back then. What was funny or topical at that time might well go over our heads today. The plot isn't gripping, but it will keep you amused, and the film really buzzes in places. Astaire dances to his usual excellent standard, with some unusual and snappy routines, but for the first time, he really has to compete for the stage with his partner. Miss Hutton not only keeps up with Astaire, she actually manages to upstage the 'Master' in the dance routines. You'll have to watch the film four or five times before you start to look at Astaire when they dance together. Betty Hutton is totally magnetic; you can't stop watching her for a moment. Although she may not have quite the technical abilities of some of Astaire's previous partners, she more than makes up for that with her enthusiasm and dynamic personality. It's like tossing a grenade into a vat of champagne - an explosion of sparkle and fizz. And make no mistake about it...That gal can dance! Well worth seeing.
  • tankiii26 January 2005
    I don't know what movie others are watching BUT! Just watch the opening number and you can see the chemistry between Astaire and Hutton! Them dudes will blow you away at how original it is and I do not see anyone doing this number today. Sure it's not hard drama but Astaire movies usually are not meant to be so. Astaire is and will be one of the greatest dancers ever! Not my opinion but fact. Perhaps those who trash this movie just like it because Hutton has top billing, coming off her success in Annie get your gun. Your either a Hutton fan or not and for me this is one of those hidden jems! Watch it and judge for yourself and at a very reasonable price on a certain jungle site it is worth the money! TRUST ME!
  • The movie only gives us about five musical numbers, but they are each wonderful. "Them Dudes Are Stealing Our Dance" has to rank in the top ten of best musical numbers for both of them. There really isn't any romantic chemistry between Astaire and Hutton. She was 30 years old and Astaire was 51. I suspect the age difference was the problem, he really was old enough to be her father. The plot is a little too simplistic and there aren't many surprises. Betty is more interested in keeping her child from the hands of a vindictive mother-in-law than in her romance with stock broker-entertainer Astaire. What is great in the film is Betty Hutton's performance. She is hilarious, energetic and in super form dancing and singing. She did it between "Annie Get Your Gun" and "The Greatest Show on Earth". If you liked her in those movies, you'll like her here. The film is light and fluffy and entertaining as hell.
  • I grew up on this movie, so I may be a little biased, but... The characters are genuine and their needs believable. The heroine is driven from the home of her son's overbearing grandmother and into the nightclub scene - which is wholesome and romantic because it's the fifties. There, she earns her keep and finds the most loyal friends a girl could ever want. In her flirty roles of cigarette girl and singer, she has a run-in with the love of her life and the perfect, singer-dancer dad for her little boy. By the end, if you are not too cynical, you will be rooting for the lovers to hop onto the 'Love Boat' and ride downstream together.
  • Let's Dance is a Betty Hutton movie. Fred Astaire may have equal billing, but Hutton dominates the picture. Her mixture of tomboy boisterousness and unrelenting brashness makes the casual and easy-going Astaire seem as relevant as Percy Kilbride trying to catch up with Marjorie Main. During the Forties, audiences loved Betty Hutton. She was hugely insecure, which probably accounted for her need to give 150 per cent, when 90 per cent would have served her better.

    With Let's Dance, It's almost startling to see how Fred Astaire has difficulty establishing his presence against Hutton's unremitting energy. It doesn't help that the songs, written by Frank Loesser, are tailored more to Hutton's strengths than they are to Astaire's. None of the songs are noteworthy, and they often blend heavy rhythmic repetition, loudness and jitterbug style with ample opportunity for Hutton to mug and exaggerate. Even the one romantic song, "Why Fight the Feeling," is given to Hutton first to deliver as a comic vamp. Loesser had written for Hutton before and he knew her strengths.

    The story is about Kitty McNeil (Betty Hutton), an entertainer for the troops, who marries a rich, socialite Army pilot in London in 1945. He dies shortly after, shot down, but not before Leaving Kitty with child. Fast forward five years later when Kitty and her son are living with the boy's very rich great grandmother. The woman, snobbish and high in society, believes Kitty is unsuitable as a mother to the boy. But Kitty escapes the mansion with her son and, after a few tribulations, gets a job as a cigarette girl in a nightclub. But guess what? Her partner during the war years had been Don Elwood (Fred Astaire). They had sort of loved each other. They met by accident in a cheap diner after Kitty had kidnapped her son. It was Don who helped her get the job in the nightclub where Don did some dancing while he tried to establish himself as a financial whiz. The story goes on and on. For Kitty, she must fight off her son's great grandmother and the woman's lawyers. She has Don to help her. Of course, all the people in the nightclub, from the owner to the cooks to the dancers, fall for the little boy and try to help Kitty, too. All the while she and Don are edgily moving closer...a kind of boy and girl love each other, boy loses girl, then repeat three times. Finally, boy gets girl along with a five-year-old stepson.

    But this is an Astaire movie, sort of, so what of the singing and dancing? "I Can't Stop Talking About Him" is the opening number, sung and danced before the troops in 1945 by Kitty and Don. Kitty is in a bright pink dress, Don in drab Army brown. Your eyes tend to focus on Hutton and the dress. Hutton sings the song and she and Astaire dance. It's all in the Hutton style, loud. Astaire dances a rehearsal number with two pianos, clambering over and under them and playing some piano himself. "Jack and the Beanstalk" is a hip version of the old fairy tale which Astaire sings to Kitty's little boy. It's not that bad, and Astaire gets to make a long bean stalk out of a newspaper while singing it, but it's little more than specialty material. "Oh, Them Dudes" is a raucous cowboy song and dance with Hutton and Astaire gussied up like old-time mustachioed cowboys. Astaire did this kind of thing better with Judy Garland in Easter Parade's "Couple of Swells" and would do it better again with Jane Powell in Royal Wedding's "How Could You Believe Me...." "Why Fight the Feeling," Astaire has said, was a song he liked a lot. In Let's Dance, it just doesn't get a chance to establish itself. The movie's finale, "Tunnel of Love," is another loud production number tailored much more to Hutton than Astaire. They sing and they dance, but Hutton is mugging all the way.

    Let's Dance features some pleasant comic turns by Roland Young and Melville Cooper, as well as solid character actors such as Ruth Warrick, Shepperd Strudwick, Barton MacLane and George Zucco.
  • Let's Dance finds Fred Astaire teamed with Betty Hutton professionally in an act. And the plot of the story revolves around Astaire trying to make it a romantic partnership as well.

    In fact he announces to the audience at a USO show during World War II that he'd like to marry his partner. Small problem though Hutton tells Astaire in the dressing room. She's already slightly married some months earlier in a whirlwind romance. The act gets broken up as well.

    Flash forward to five years later. Hutton is a war widow raising her young son Gregory Moffett in some affluent Boston surroundings presided over by her husband's mother Lucile Watson. Watson is a wealthy WASP dowager who's just about gotten used to the fact that her son married an entertainer, but she insists that her grand kid be raised as a proper Bostonian. Not for Betty who's bored stiff with polite society. She takes off with Moffett.

    In New York she hooks up again with Fred, but it's romantic rocky road with a couple of detours for Fred it's Ruth Warrick and for Betty, Sheppard Strudwick.

    I don't think that there was any surprise that there was no demand for the return of the team of Astaire and Hutton. They perform their numbers well although I agree with other reviewers that the film is tilted for Betty from the gitgo. The fact that this was her home studio of Paramount no doubt helped there. I do agree that composer Frank Loesser having dealt with Betty before wrote for her. He had already given her I Wish I Didn't Love You So from The Perils of Pauline. Loesser himself was getting his songwriting career into high gear. He had just had a big Broadway smash in Where's Charley and would the following year have his biggest hit of all with Guys and Dolls.

    Nothing here was nominated for an Academy Award. Can't Stop Talking About Him is Betty's best number, definitely in her style. Fred looks a little silly trying to keep up with her. He's shown to best advantage in the piano dance, dancing on a Steinway and in a hoedown western style dance number with Betty in Them Dudes Were Doing Our Dance.

    Some interesting casting here. Two guys who usually were villains in films play good guys with Barton MacLane as the gruff, but kindly club owner where Astaire and Hutton are playing and George Zucco as the judge before whom the custody battle is fought. Lucile Watson is her usual imperious self and has a crack legal team at her disposal with Roland Young and Melville Cooper.

    Let's Dance was a good film for Betty Hutton. It didn't do too much for Fred Astaire however.
  • This film was hurried into production to take advantage of Fred Astaire's availability, part of the agreement MGM signed with Paramount in order to get Betty Hutton on loan to do "Annie Get Your Gun" at Metro. It is such standard fare that it pales when one thinks of Hutton's great triumph earlier in the year with "Annie." She and Fred Astaire were poorly matched given his sophistication and her frenetic singing and dancing. If only the musical comedy had some decent songs it could have gotten by on those alone. Unfortunately, there are few songs and they are mostly unforgettable, save Astair's dance routine on, over and under a grand piano and with a hat rack. There is a comedy song and dance number, "Them Thar Dudes" in which the two stars dress up as a couple of western dudes - both with fake mustaches - and sing and dance a fun and funny number. However, Astaire looks positively pained having to slum as low as this while Hutton steals the song because it is up her alley. There is an embarrassing number for Hutton when she starts singing a love song while her dress - in the rear - gets overheated. This film shows how brilliant Hutton was when she was given good material. The most accessible, direct and embracing singing voice of her time, Betty Hutton always surpassed her material when singing but, as with this film, was given to slapstick and overacting when clearly a director did not have control over her. Such is the fate of this film.

    The film is engaging because it has at its core the old "mother running with her child from the evil relatives while the Knight is on his way and may or may not make it in time" plot. Because of the material Hutton comes off as Hutton while Astaire suffers badly, saved the minute he begins to tap his feet or open his mouth to sing. Two legends in a mediocre film make it a must see if you are a fan of either or both of the legends.
  • This movie begins well with Betty Hutton singing a fast brassy comedic song that is very much in her style. Unfortunately that's the only really notable song in the movie. Also unfortunately Hutton and Astaire don't have a lot of chemistry; her energetic brassiness just doesn't mesh well with his casual stylishness.

    The high point of the movie is a very funny Astaire dance number on a piano. I promptly found it on Youtube and posted it on Facebook for all my dancer friends.

    The story is rather uncomfortable, covering too long a period of time, feeling a little convoluted and requiring sudden, inexplicable changes of heart to keep it going. It's still kind of fun, but the lack of good musical numbers and the weak story keep it from being as much fun as it should be.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Annie Get Your Gun" was a hard act for Betty Hutton to follow, but she makes a valiant effort to equal it here, despite lacking Irving Berlin's memorable songs. However, Frank Loesser did compose 6 new songs for either Betty or Fred to sing and/or dance to. An additional song was composed by others for Fred to dance to.

    During the opening London air raid siren scene, the Blond Bombshell explodes with "Can't Stop Talking About Him". Fred chimes in later with song and dance, although clearly it was composed with Betty in mind. Quite an energetic and fun routine! They have 2 other musical numbers together. In the middle, they perform the comical "Oh, Them Dudes", impersonating a couple of western gunslinger caricatures, shooting up the saloon. In general style, it much reminds of the skit in "Easter Parade": "A Couple of Swells" in which Fred and Judy clown around dressed as a pair of hobos. Their final musical number together occurs in the finale, when they are riding in a gondola, singing and later dancing to "Tunnel of Love", when they are considering an imminent marriage. Betty has a solo song "Why Fight the Feeling"(Help! My dress is burning!) Fred has 3 solo songs or dances. In the "Piano Dance", he dances around, on, and in a piano, as well as some chairs, disturbing some cats hiding in the piano. He sings and cavorts around the bedroom to entertain Betty's son Rickie with "Jack and the Beanstalk". Lastly, he cavorts around the pool area by himself, having visions of Betty and pretending he's dancing with her. In function, this reminds me of Gene Kelly's ballet in "On the Town", in which he is expressing the fear that he has lost his new love. Here, the situation is that another man has announced that he and Betty will be married soon.

    The drama largely relates to the question of whether Betty or her socialite grandmother-in-law is going to raise Betty's boy: Richie, the son of her deceased husband, who died in war soon after they were married. The grandmother argues that, as a single working mom, Betty can't properly take care of Richie. This conflict ends up in court, where Richie demonstrates he's been learning languages and math, even though not attending school. The other question that continues through the film, is whether Betty is going to respond to Fred's inquiries of marriage. Twice Fred announces that they will soon be married without consulting Betty, to her disapproval. In the finale, it's Betty who makes the announcement.

    A few reviewers claim that Betty and Fred had incompatible acting and singing styles, thus were a mismatch as partners in such a musical comedy. In theory, this might be so, but I didn't detect any major problem in their relating to each other. We had two great talents, who largely complemented the talents of the other.

    As another reviewer mentioned, the finale did seem a bit rushed, with Fred, Betty and grandmother suddenly resolving their differences, grandmother relenting on her claim that Betty was an unfit mother because of her poverty and lack of husband.

    See it in color at YouTube.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    While Betty Hutton and Fred Astaire are certainly talented artists, they are mismatched here, even though they both give the old college try. The rambunctious Betty tries to bring it down a notch, but she would have better luck working with Paramount's stable of leading men rather than Fred, loaned here from MGM. Betty scored huge the same year in MGM's "Annie Get Your Gun" opposite Howard Keel, but Fred seemed out of step with her large talents even though his talents were pretty huge as well, just in a different way.

    Certainly Fred had some partners in his time who seemed to be a contrast to his "white tie and tails", but in the case of Ginger Rogers, their differences complimented each other rather than show how different they were, and Rita Hayworth (his most magnetic partner) could heat up Frosty the Snowman. Betty dominates the storyline here as a widow with a young son who goes against her late husband's grandmother (an imperious Lucille Watson), determined to raise her great grandson in her home with or without Betty present. The future "Phoebe Tyler Wallingford" (Ruth Warrick) plays Betty's likable sister-in-law who dares to stand up to her grandmother, but her character lacks the punch of her future legendary "All My Children" matriarch who was ironically pretty much like Watson is here.

    Musically, this isn't one of Fred's best, and his big number with Betty ("Them Dudes Were Doing Our Dance") is embarrassingly corny. They do better with the carnival finale ("The Tunnel of Love") which is interrupted by dialog wrapping up the plot. Betty has a great opening number showing off her loud mouth ("Can't Stop Talking' 'Bout Him"), showing how her voice can be threatened to be heard over a bomb signal. She also has a sweet love song, and Fred gets one of his typical prop-driven dance numbers to the tune of "Hold That Tiger".

    There are some great comic moments, such as Betty's two attempts to get her son out of Watson's mansion, one during which she has the poor kid in a pillow case then is forced to chase the cab all the way to the theater where she is performing. Astaire's character is combination dancer and legal counsel (an odd combination of professions) and isn't as well developed as Betty's. Any of Paramount's second string leading men could have played this role, but then, you wouldn't have the dance numbers Fred does do.
  • Even a lesser Fred Astaire film is worth watching still, and, like The Belle of New York and Yolanda and the Thief, Let's Dance is one such example of lesser Astaire still being worth a look.

    Let's Dance falls down the most in the story, which is particularly weak in the final third where it really does drag and over-caked in overworked sentiment. The subplot itself is one that is easy to identify with, but didn't seem to fit in with the rest of the film and just bogs it down and more interesting could have been done with it. The ending felt incredibly rushed and tacked on, like the writers didn't know how to end it and came up with the most convenient ending possible regardless of whether it made sense compared to the rest of the film.

    Personally also didn't care for the Them Dudes routine, the song itself isn't bad but it was in this number where the film betrayed two different performing styles not meshing well with one another, Astaire's more graceful approach with Betty Hutton's brasher, more comedic one. It's also repetitiously choreographed, and while Hutton comes off well the choreography does nothing for Astaire's talents and he doesn't look entirely comfortable doing it.

    On the other hand, as aforementioned, Let's Dance is by no means a bad film. It's shot in nice Technicolor, and has some beautiful costumes and sets. The score is musical and energetic, and the songs, while none of them classics, are more than pleasant, Jack and the Beanstalk and Tunnel of Love have a lot of charm. Choreographically, the highlight is the Piano Dance, not spectacular but still entertaining and inspired and shows off Astaire's skills more than the rest of the songs. Jack and the Beanstalk comes off very attractively as well.

    The script is witty, allowing for some genuinely amusing moments, and well-intended, and the two-thirds of the film have a decent amount of energy. It's directed reasonably neatly, until flagging in the final third, and the performances generally come off well, though Hutton and Astaire(while hardly disastrous) don't match as well as some of Astaire's other partners and there could have been more of Astaire and a little less of Hutton. The supporting turns are solid, with some funny comic turns and a splendidly stern Lucille Watson. Astaire is as graceful and charming as ever, and Hutton really does look like she's enjoying herself, her 'mugging' being nowhere near as painful as it could have been.

    All in all, lesser Astaire but has enough strengths to get a partial recommendation. 6/10 Bethany Cox
  • jhkp7 January 2015
    If you like Betty Hutton, or you like Fred Astaire, you'll get some pleasure from Let's Dance, because both stars are in top form, even if the movie isn't a smash. It's too plot-heavy, for one thing. It's the old one about those blue-blood in-laws who look down on show business folk, and want to keep our heroine (a war widow) away from her little son. Fred plays the guy who performed in USO shows with her during the war, and who's been crazy about her ever since.

    Let's Dance presents Fred as somewhat subordinate.. The plot is all about Betty's character; the numbers play to her strengths rather than his. Paramount knew all about how to present Hutton. But they seem to spend little time devising strong numbers or a strong character for Astaire.

    Nonetheless, there are some enjoyable song numbers. There are five, but the film could have stood more. A wonderful ballad, "Why Fight The Feeling", is not given enough of a showcase. Could've been a highlight, particularly if it had been sung to Betty by Fred, with an accompanying dance number.

    Lastly, who thought Hutton and Astaire would make a good team? Not that it was impossible, but more cleverness was required in presenting this odd couple. Their hugely different images - brash vs. subtle, brassy vs. classy - needed to be addressed. We should have been eased into it, given reasons why they belonged together despite their seeming incompatibility.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    We open "Let's Dance" with Betty Hutton and Fred Astaire, who are entertaining the troops during the war, and they just happen to be an item, too. In fact, he announces their engagement to the boys, but she won't marry him, unless he gives up gambling. Unbeknownst to him, she has fallen in love with a soldier and is engaged to him. So, she splits up the act and marries the soldier, who later is killed in action. But, wait she's now pregnant. The movie wastes no time in setting up the dramatic framework. Do Fred and Betty get back together? Will Fred quit gambling? Will Betty's uppity rich mother-in-law let her keep the boy? While the movie is involving to a point, its major flaw is its length, with the plot really drawn out, and its almost silly, quick resolution makes the viewer feel like they've wasted two hours. (It could have been at least 10 to 15 minutes shorter.) If not for Betty and Fred's musical numbers, which of course are the highlights, you pretty much have. One particular highlight is Fred singing about Jack and the Beanstalk to Betty's son. If you like the stars, you'll like the movie. But you may tire of its dramatics which feel like they're only going in circles, instead of dancing.
  • As a time-filler, this musical is okay, but far from the best of Fred Astaire's work. Teamed (unwisely) with the raucous Betty Hutton, the film plays better when they're apart than when they're sharing screen time - you just can't imagine them teaming in any stage act, then or now.

    Best musical number of all in a poor selection is the Piano Dance, where Fred gets to do a routine in a bar involving dancing round and over - yes, pianos. He has to sing Jack and the Beanstalk at one point and it just doesn't seem right. As for Ms Hutton, despite her sterling work as Annie Oakley the previous year she quickly wears out her welcome in 'Let's Dance'.

    Musical bits aside, this programmer flounders badly in a tedious subplot concerning Hutton's battle to keep custody of her son. Lucille Watson plays her mother-in-law the way she has played loads of mothers-in-law in previous years, but most of the others in the cast don't register.

    Only recommended for keen Astaire fans, then, but approach with caution. Better than this, made a little later, was 'Belle of New York' in which Fred was teamed with Vera-Ellen and danced on a tram, then into the clouds - a far more interesting scenario than disappearing into the tunnel of love with Betty Hutton.
  • It is interesting to see Betty Hutton and Fred Astaire competing for center stage, with Hutton the clear winner. Unfortunately, the songs are mostly forgettable, and Hutton's antics are embarrassingly over the top. "Jack and the Beanstalk" is Astaire's finest moment in the film, sung to Hutton's movie son, played by Gregory Moffett, who must have taken shouting lessons from his movie mom.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I take a back seat to no one in my admiration of Fred Astaire and Frank Loesser and on paper the idea of Loesser writing a score for an Astaire movie was irresistible. Alas, this has to be the weakest score Loesser ever turned in. He was, in the thirties, forties and early fifties a staff writer at Paramount and worked on several Betty Hutton movies including the Perils of Pauline whose fine score included one of the great ballads of the twentieth century, I Wish I Didn't Love You So. Part, if not all of the problem here is the casting; matching Astaire with Hutton is like matching cashmere with denim, it's never going to work and was, in fact, a misconceived 'deal'; when Judy Garland wasn't up to completing Annie Get Your Gun MGM turned to Paramount who agreed to 'lend' Betty Hutton in return for MGM 'lending' Astaire. Not a lot wrong with that, it was done all the time but having secured Astaire's services Paramount squandered them in this pedestrian effort. The optimum co-star for the manic Hutton would be a cross between a fire- cracker and a Mexican Jumping Bean, not the urbane, sophisticated Astaire, the epitome of Style. Watchable for Astaire but that's the best you can give it.