“Who says I can’t get along without her? See those girls? Any one of them has as much talent as she has.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Response to Peary’s Review:
He notes that there are many “fine musical numbers” — most notably Astaire’s “particularly exciting” solo, ‘Steppin’ Out With My Baby’, in which he “dances in slow motion while the chorus behind him dances at full speed” (impressively ‘daring’ stuff!):
and “Ann Miller’s sexy tap solo to ‘Shaking the Blues Away'” (which she unfortunately performed in a great deal of pain, though you’d never know it).
He further adds that “the Astaire-Garland numbers are special, too” (‘A Couple of Swells’ remains iconic), and he notes that “the uplifting Irving Berlin score” (fabulous!) is “first-rate and used to perfection” (though he admits to not being “a fan of Peter Lawford’s singing”, a sentiment I can get behind; fortunately, Lawford sings just one short, innocuous song).
Peary points out that the “simple storyline… is essentially Pygmalion“, given that it’s about an accomplished professional (in this case, a dancer) who dares his partner that “he can take an unknown non-professional… and make her… a big star”. Despite its familiarity, it’s handled well enough — and with enough humor — that it feels fresh and engaging. Fleshing out this central storyline is a rather pedestrian, if complicated and unrealistic, love quadrangle (Lawford loves Garland at first sight, but Garland secretly loves Astaire, who is still in love with Miller — though God only knows why! — and Miller has a massive crush on Lawford). This angle of the film is best left under-analyzed, as it’s really just a prop for the non-stop songs and dances (that Berlin score!) that thankfully dominate the screentime.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments: