- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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Bemusing British triffle
- Will Fox
Fred Astaire, after major successes with the ever-charming Ginger Roger (grace incarnate, a comely comedian and world-class, dancing sensation) in the proven winners: "Top Hat," "Swing Time," and "Shall We Dance" well, he takes a vacation, without Ginger. Missing Americans' favorite spice means compensating somehow. The coin of this realm is comedy. In a merry old English castle with its cast of competing characters, mistaken motives abound. Fred's friends, his publicist George Burns and Gracie Allen's special talent for misinterpreting word-meanings, lead to amusing misunderstandings. A cloistered, aristocratic heiress Joan Fontaine needs learning, too. While waiting for the "No Sex, We're British" mentality to thaw in the castle's cast, our comic American trio treats us viewers to a diverting, Academy Award winning, 8-minutes in a Fun House. Threading threw this, tying it together are George Gershwin's tunes, including "Foggy Day in London Town" and "Nice Work If You Can Get It." Mild merriment, nothing to embarrass you in mixed company.
Just go with it!
- D Mac
Now I will admit that this may not be the best musical ever recorded but I do recommend it. Yes, you'll need to get past a non-singing leading lady in Joan Fontaine and one that dances a very basic dance/stroll with Fred Astaire; but if you go into this movie knowing that, it's all good. George Burns and Gracie Allen add humour to this film which lends it a lighter tone. Fred, George and Gracie compliment one another very well and have entertaining dance numbers together. Plus Fred's "Nice Work if You Can Get it" dancing drum solo is amazing! Mr. Astaire singing/dancing to Gershwin brother tunes doesn't disappoint. So enjoy this film with an open mind.
A fun movie!
- Rhonda M
I am a huge Fred Astaire fan and since I own this movie, I have seen it more times then most and I still enjoy it every time I watch it. If you disregard the lack of plot in this movie it can be very entertaining. Joan Fontaine is miscast in this movie and not the best partner for Fred Astaire but it is compensated by some fantastic song and dance numbers by Fred, as well as George Burns and Gracie Allen, they are both fantastic. (Did you know that George Burns was once a tap dance instructor?) It's fun to watch them in this movie since this is before their famous husband and wife comedy teaming on tv and radio. This movie won an Academy Award for best dance direction so it's worth seeing it just for that aspect.
- David H.
It's easy to be to see why this film was a box-office flop when first released in theaters. It appears a lot of talent and artistry was just thrown together as if to meet some deadline. Poor Joan Fontaine seems to have been thrown in because the powers at RKO couldn't wait to get a real musical star to replace Ginger Rogers. The now-standard Gershwin songs are introduced awkwardly and it's hard to believe three writers were required to fashion such a threadbare script overflowing with misunderstandings. Finally, add a director (George Stevens) seemingly unwilling to trim overlong, though certainly innovative, dance sequences and I can hardly wait for this movie to end.
A Damsel in Distress
George Burns, Gracie Allen, Fred Astaire, Joan Fontaine, Gershwin score, PG Wodehouse story, and a silly opera-singing butler: do we NEED any more reasons to watch it!?!?! :D
Fontaine seems miscast
- Jarrod McDonald
Parts of this film just don't work for me. I can't get past Fontaine in the lead romantic role. I guess I expect the girl to be able to sing and dance with Fred in his movies, and she doesn't have the talent to do either. She's a dramatic actress, very much out of her element. It's just odd seeing him dance around her or by himself, and then he sings that great Gershwin tune, you know the one ('nice work if you can get it,' etc.) and she is nowhere to be found...he has to sing it with the other characters while she's upstairs. If Ginger could not be in this one, then they should've found someone else who could do the song and dance routines. I get the feeling that Burns & Allen were inserted into the production to make up for the glaring shortcomings of the Astaire-Fontaine pairing. The weak storyline, the awkward performance of Ms. Fontaine, and I just want to say, leave that damsel in distress and go find another damsel.
A Damsel in Distress
This is a wonderful movie. Great Gershwin score. Joan can't dance but so what! Fred has lot's of numbers and Burns and Allen CAN dance. In character! The Funhouse number is fabulous. Not to mention Fred singing the wonderful Gershwin Madrigals. Really great supporting cast.Don't miss this one!
The music, the songs!!!
How many full Gershwin scores are there? This is a hidden gem, with a full 8 + minute Gershwin number (the fun house scene), a great standard (A Foggy Day in London Town)...even the incidental music is terrific. Astaire is terrific, Burns and Allen very funny, and a nice PG Woodhouse (silly) story. Highly recommended!
A Damsel in Distress (1937)
- Jay Higgins
A really fun musical comedy - Gracie Allen is priceless, i find her so funny! some very creative musical numbers, great cast, just sit back and enjoy this classic.
IT'S ABOUT TIME!!
I've waited FOUR years for that movie to come on. I taped it because I refused to wait another 4 years for it to come on again.
A Damsel in Distress
Thanks! It made my day!
Where's Ginger ?
Burns and Allen are a great diversion, but can you imagine what Ginger could have done for this film. The film is an oddity - but still fun for the music and the cool funhouse sequence.
This is a wonderful, fun movie - come on - Gershwin, Astaire, Burns & Allen? What more could you want? Please show it soon on TCM!!
I love Fred Astaire!
Now, I think the story line of this movie is terrible, but the song and dance scenes were absolutely AMAZING! Astaire, Burns, and Allen were what really kept this movie going. Duh! And Montagu Love!! He played such a wonderful character. Joan Fontaine played an extremely unlikeable character and her dance scenes were comical. Just because of Astaire, Burns, Allen, and Love, I really believe this movie should be available on DVD.
"Tap-and-Traps" solo in closing scene
I noticed 1 or 2 edits, but the improvisation (both tapping and drumming) was superb. I love the way he tossed the sticks at the end, and "struted-off", like John Travolta in the movie "Saturday Night Fever". I had always thought he got some of his tap rhythms from Jazz drumming, and this sort of confirmed it :-)