- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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So what if the plot is thin?
People who kvetch about the alleged thinness of the plots of Astaire/Rogers musicals irk me. They were not murder mysteries. There were boulevard farces. They were meant to be whimsical and light -- lighter than air, if you will, like the dancing of the principals, more French in spirit than American. The silliness of the plots is intentional and part of the charm of the whole enterprise. In any case, while ingenious and intricate plots can be wonderful, one can make too much of them. Hitchcock's Birds has the most rudimentary of plots (a non-plot, really) and yet is one of the towering achievements of world cinema. Shakespeare concocted some wonderful plots, but that's not really why we continue to revel in him (and, indeed, cannot live without him -- it's the words, the sonorities, the thematic depth, the levels of moral complication, etc. that make him great. We can reduce Hamlet to "a ghost and a prince meet and everyone ends in mincemeat" (to borrow Schwartz and Dietz's plot synopsis contained in That's Entertainment), but that's not why we care about it.
Still my Favorite
It was the first Fred and Ginger movie I watched, and it remains my favorite. I know the plot is rather thin and fake, but hey, it's old Hollywood. It's the world of Fred and Ginger--we wouldn't want it any other way! The dances are above anything ever done. I still watch Never Gonna Dance every day and the music and dancing combined is one of the most magical things that charms me. I'm sure I can watch the dance every day till the day I die and still be in awe. Oh, and that dress....yes, Ginger's dress. I'd die to have it.
- kevin sellers
Those Hermes Pan staged dance numbers'll cure you of your Great Depression, as will the wonderful Jerome Kern/Dorothy Fields songs, and Astaire and Rogers in the chemistry dept are a veritable Du Pont and Co. but not even the great George Stevens or the two leads can redeem the lox of a screenplay they're saddled with, and so once again we're treated to a great song and dance fest wrapped around a mediocre movie. Happy fast forward! P.S. Militating against the view that the Bojangles number is racist is the fact that it's the longest and best in the film.
Ginger Rogers perfection
" Never Gonna Dance" is the last wonderful dancing number in this film. As Astaire spins Rogers at the top of the stairs she transcends the movie and becomes simply the most perfect image ever put on film.
- David H.
I take issue with those who consider "Swing Time" the best of the Astaire-Rogers musicals. While plots were generally secondary in their films, the script in this one is so contrived and belabored it nearly sinks the movie. Victor Moore's attempt at humor was so dry that I found his character annoying. Director George Stevens' slow pacing doesn't help either with only Fred and Ginger's dancing and memorable songs keeping the film afloat. Despite threadbare plots, Astaire-Rogers movies directed by Mark Sandrich were much better with "Top Hat" the best of the lot, while for me this film is vastly overrated.
a classic musical for all times.
A delightful Musical with Astaire & Rogers. Astaire is a hoofer engaged to one girl, but falls for Rogers in New York City, both shine in their musical numbers. "The Way you Look Tonight" won the Best Song Oscar, and Astaire's slightly-offensive "Bojangles of Harlem" is unforgettable. Filled with a few unexpected moments of sorrow, this is an entertaining, energetic and enchanting Musical. I give it a 4.5/5.
Swing Time (1936)
- Mr. Blandings
As big a Ginger Rogers fan as I am, I never had any interest in seeing her in a film as the latter-billed part of "Fred & ..." I'm also not into dance musicals, but I did decide to check this one out because it was supposed to be "one of the best" of the series, if not "THE best." Well, if this represents a GOOD Astaire movie then it will probably be the first and last one that I see. The story and characterization was so forced and unnatural that how any character would react from one moment to the next was as illogical as it was artificial. It left me just not caring how it turned out, just so long as it ended soon (which it didn't). Granted, as a movie designed to show people dancing, good storytelling was probably the LAST thing on the producers' list of "things to do." Ginger, however, proves she can do it all. Not only does she sing and dance rings around Astaire--who, by reputation, I expected to be better than this (he's no Gene Kelly)--but in the acting department she completely buries him. To be frank, Astaire has the charisma of a flatworm, and if the guy couldn't put one foot in front of the other, nobody would have ever heard of him. Not even Ginger's acting talents can make up for the fact there is zero chemistry between them. He's just so goofy and bland--even irritating at times--that he makes Don Knotts look like some kind of sex symbol in comparison. My wife and I were actually relieved when the inevitable on-screen kiss between the leads was never seen (mercifully, a door opens in front of them). The best dance number was the one in the dance school (how Ginger can stamp her feet down so hard in high heels is one of the great mysteries of the universe). Except for "The Way You Look Tonight," I thought all the other songs to be laughably bad. But even on this high note (pun intended), Astaire should have only been allowed to express himself with his feet. So glad Ginger went on to bigger and better things on her own.
Ginger Rodgers and Fred Astaire
- Robert Kraynik
I can't help it; I always look at Ginger first and last, and I think she would appreciate the billing above better;undeniably,it is their best movie together, and Ginger Rodger's personal favorite. They are wonderful together, a perfect fit ; like the Beatles; Jackie Gleason and Audrey Meadows; the cast of Seinfield; IT IS JUST MAGICAL.AND THOSE SONGS BY JEROME KEARNE-beautiful, just beautiful...,
Um filme perfeito em todos os detalhes. Muito bom mesmo todas as msicas e na dana Fred e Ginger esto deslumbrantes.
- Susan De Leon
I love Fred and Ginger and this film is a perfect example of what they accomplished. I love the sets, the fashion, the choreography, the beautiful Rogers and the debonaire Astaire. If you have never seen this film, please take a peek at this gem!
Swing Time (1936)
- Jay Higgins
My second favorite Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire teaming. (Top Hat is my favorite, but not by much!) The film flawlessly blends music, comedy, drama and romance. The choreography is brilliant as well and the dancing. the stellar supporting cast does a fantastic job. A real classic.
As an African-American, I was a little torn by the "Bojangles of Harlem" routine. I loved it for the dancing itself and the genius of Fred Astaire. It was the "black face" that caused my struggle between loving that scene and being slightly offended. However, knowing that it was a tribute to Bill Robinson-and a very tasteful one at that-tipped the scales for me and I have to say it is my favorite scene in the whole movie. As for the rest of the film all I can say is, "Simply Awesome." I'm what is called a "Gen Xer" I'm just discovering these wonderful classic moviesand if there's anyone out there born between '79 and '89 reading this, I highly recommend this movie.
Note to Rose McGowan
It's obvious that Fred is "pasted" over the dancing shadows in the "Bojangles of Harlem" sequence. Check the "aura" around him.
Fred's Singing Voice
We all know about his incomparable talent as a dancer, but Fred Astaire had a pretty darned good singing voice to boot. "The Way You Look Tonight", "Pick Yourself Up", "Never Gonna Dance" and "A Fine Romance" from "Swing Time" are fine examples of his ability to handle a tune.
This is one of the two Astaire/Rogers masterpieces...along with "Top Hat". I'm in complete agreement with the other reviews. It's hard to add to what has already been said....only in that, I believe the professional critics to be wrong about the plot and the ending. Arlene Croce...is her excellent book on Astaire/Rogers....with the concurrence of Pauline Kael, believe that the ending laughter sequence is only an intellectual conceit. I don't agree....When a girl is considering marriage, a man's engagement to another woman is more than intellectual! Croce's idea that there is not "enough gag material", when that marriage collapses is laughable itself. It's beautifully played...and quite appropriate for the players to burst out laughing....especially after all the ins and outs of a courtship, that has more turns turns than the California coastal highway! And, add to this, that Stevens spent the first 25 minutes of the movie setting it up, one can classify Mueller's statement of disbelief on the same subject...i.e., "if you can believe that", to be just silly. Didn't you watch the film, John?...is my reaction. This film is an American masterpiece that will be enjoyed by viewers though the ages...Just sit back and marvel at the high artistic level of music and dance....as mute all the critics chatter. It doesn't get any better than this!
Astaire & Rogers are perfection!!!
- Vincent Wolfe
Swing Time is classic Fred and Ginger, from the fabulous art deco credits and incredible score...it's a winner all down the line. Snappy comedy, brilliant direction, hysterical Helen Broderick as Ginger's pal. Everything clicks. The dance to "Pick Yourself Up" is to me, their very best number ever. More than seventy years later, it's as fresh, fabulous and spirited as ever, and Ginger looks particularly gorgeous! Those legs!!! I saw this film in a special theatrical showing several years ago and the audience went wild after each number, but particularly this one!The all-laughing finale is a bit strained and Georges Metaxa as Ricardo is more Dracula-ish than romantic. Did he ever make another film?Anyway, make sure to watch this classic whenever you can, or even better buy the DVD set of all these important and much-loved films. Ginger & Fred's magic will remain intact for all time!
- Dominick Conforti
This movie is amazing. When you think of all the hard work & practice that went into preparing for the dance sequences you'll realize that Astaire & Rogers must've been made of steel. They make it seem so effortless & easy. If you pay attention to what they are doing, you see how talented they really were. These dances were performed under very hot lights w/ the old makeup caked on & A & R made it look like they were just going for a walk! They did numerous takes & still it seemed so effortless. Bravo to two of the most amazing performers of the 20th Century!!!!
What words can describe it?...
Down right amazing. If you only see one Fred and Ginger movie, this is the one to see- over and over again. A movie with the always seeming effortless dancing by the King and Queen of dance, paired with genus and contagious music and lyrics by Dorothy Fields and none other than Jerome Kern? Spellbinding. Just marvelous!
best dancer in the history of movies
its the best aster and roger film ever its a great movie to see with the family .
Greatest Dances Ever Performed
What can be said about a film containing the greatest dances ever choreographed or performed? This is a must see film. If you have never seen this film, then you have never truly seen dancing. The final number, "Never Gonna Dance", is the most beautiful six minutes in the history of film - regardless of the genre. This is not to be missed.