Thursday, September 24, 2015

Swing Time (1936)

IMDb plot summary: A performer and gambler travels to New York City to raise the $25,000 he needs to marry his fiancée, only to become entangled with a beautiful aspiring dancer.
Directed by George Stevens. Starring Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Victor Moore, and Helen Broderick.


I watched this for week 2 of the Letterboxd season challenge, for 30s musicals week. Overall, this movie was pretty entertaining, though, as with all Astaire/Rogers pics (and most musicals from this time period), the story winds up being pretty thin and really only serves to provide great dancing scenes -- which are lovely and really spectacularly done. And, really, the first 2/3 of the film has a pretty decent script too, with some very funny moments and clever set-ups for dances. But the motivations of Astaire's character are REALLY unclear until the final moments. Has he fallen for Rogers? Is he just playing with her? Does he realize how much she cares? Does he intend to leave his previous fiancee? We really have no idea until he casually announces it toward the end of the third act, at which point, the movie pretty much falls apart anyway. With both Astaire and Rogers engaged to the wrong people, the movie frantically tries to finagle them back together, but the pacing is weird and we get about 10 minutes of characters giggling madly at nothing in particular before cheerfully announcing new relationship statuses. It's strange and abrupt and unsatisfying given the previous buildup. Most of this movie would earn 4 stars from me, but the incredibly odd ending would get a 2, given how sloppy it feels. So let's land it in the middle.

3 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
Swing Time > The Sunshine Boys (1996)
Swing Time < Rurouni Kenshin
Swing Time < Nothing in Common
Swing Time > To Rome With Love
Swing Time > Splash
Swing Time < Suspicion
Swing Time > Nine Lives
Swing Time < Seven Chances
Swing Time > Adam
Swing Time > A Separation
Swing Time < Lyle, the Kindly Viking
Final spot: #939 out of 2377.

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