“Gosh, you’re glad to see me.”
A sailor (Fred Astaire) on leave visits his former dance partner (Ginger Rogers) in hopes of rekindling their romance; meanwhile, his shipmate (Randolph Scott) falls for Rogers’ sister (Harriet Hilliard), but is scared away by her desire for marriage.
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary accurately points out that the “hackneyed” subplot between Hilliard and Scott in this fifth Astaire-and-Rogers musical — an adaptation of Hubert Osborne’s 1922 play Shore Leave — “slows down the film and [unfortunately] becomes more important than the Astaire-Rogers romance”. With that said, the fact that Irving Berlin “contributed seven songs” to the soundtrack — including “We Saw the Sea”, “Let Yourself Go”, and “I’d Rather Lead a Band” — nearly makes up for the boring and predictable storyline. As Peary notes, the film’s “highlight” may be the “most playful number in the series,” when Astaire and Rogers dance to “I’m Putting All My Eggs in One Basket”, “during which Rogers intentionally dances out of synch with Astaire, as if she were a little girl… who imaginatively finds silly things to do with her feet and body each time they begin a new series of steps” — it’s a true delight to watch. While the “plot has been criticized for making Astaire and Rogers into the comedy team”, I agree with Peary that this is “okay for a change because they’re funny” — at least up until the unexpectedly somber final number, Berlin’s “Let’s Face the Music and Dance”, which takes the characters completely out of their storyline but remains an “elegant and romantic” finale.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Fine dancing and/or singing by Rogers and Astaire, to numerous classic tunes by Irving Berlin
No, though it’s definitely worth a look simply for the dancing and songs, and is must-see for any Astaire/Rogers fans.