“John, everyday you act worse — but today you’re acting like tomorrow.”
An American football player (Randolph Scott) visits his aunt (Helen Westley) at the Parisian design house she manages (known as “Roberta”), and begins to fall for her lovely young assistant (Irene Dunne); meanwhile his bandleader-friend (Astaire) meets up with his childhood sweetheart (Ginger Rogers), a singer posing as a Polish countess.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Fred Astaire Films
- Ginger Rogers Films
- Irene Dunne Films
- Love Triangle
- Play Adaptations
- Randolph Scott Films
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary accurately advises viewers to “forget the dull, convoluted Dunne-Scott plotline” of this “third Astaire-Rogers musical” — based on a Broadway play by Jerome Kern and Otto Harbach, which was itself based on a novel by Alice Duer Miller — and instead “watch [the] supporting players”. He argues that Astaire’s “Huck… is the least abrasive, most likable character he played in his films with Rogers”, and that “Rogers’s fake Polish countess… is refreshingly not deceitful or antagonistic”; he points out that “the two are actually playful and seem to be enjoying each other — even when they are not dancing”. He enumerates some of the film’s dancing/musical highlights, including their duet to “I’ll Be Hard to Handle” (“during which Rogers wears pants for the first time” — not something I would have really paid much attention to!), and their “magical reprise of ‘I Won’t Dance’, to which Astaire did a simply marvelous solo tap earlier”. Unfortunately, while there’s no arguing that the Astaire/Rogers dance scenes are quite enjoyable, the overlong movie spends far too much time with Scott (playing an annoying, incomprehensible character) and Dunne (whose operatic solos seem entirely out of place here).
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Astaire and Rogers improv dancing to “I’ll Be Hard to Handle”
- Astaire’s piano solo and dance to “I Won’t Dance”
- Astaire and Rogers dancing to “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes”
- Some lovely ’30s gowns (the feathery one below is showcased by none other than young RKO starlet Lucille Ball)
No; despite some fun dance numbers, this one is only must-see for Astaire-Rogers completists.