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The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle

The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle(1939)

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The working titles of this film were The Castles, The Life of Vernon and Irene Castle and The Romantic Vernon Castles. According to New York Times, RKO wanted Irene Castle to play the role of her mother in the film, but she declined, preferring to have her role limited to consultant. The New York Times notes that Mrs. Castle was pleased with the film and commented that Fred Astaire played the role of Vernon perfectly, even fitting into his old uniforms. Mrs. Castle noted that some of the episodes depicted in the film were slightly exaggreated and the character of Walter Ash, a black man who was the Castles protector in Paris, was altered to fit actor Walter Brennan. This picture marked Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire's last collaboration for RKO. Materials contained in the RKO Production Files at the UCLA Theater Arts Library add that the picture was partially filmed on location at the Russel Ranch at Triunfo, CA; Newport Beach, CA; Bel Air, CA and the Long Beach Municipal Airport. According to modern sources, in 1937, RKO paid Irene $20,000 for the rights to her story. Under her RKO contract, Mrs. Castle had approval of costumes and script treatment on which she worked closely with scriptwriter Oscar Hammerstein, II. She plagued the studio with complaints over departures from the script and Rogers' costumes and hairstyles. Mrs. Castle opposed Rogers as the lead and was particularly upset that Rogers refused to cut her hair in the style of the "Castle Bob." The studio silenced Mrs. Castle with an additional payment of $5,000. In 1915, the Castles starred in The Whirl of Life, which was loosely based on the couple's life (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20; F1.4919).