Wednesday, February 17, 2010

review: Swing Time

It is so easy to love this movie. I'm in my element with this movie. I love Astaire and Rogers films. They are not dramatic films, but they are very good. They kind of say: sit back, let us entertain you the best way we know how.
And they are wonderful!
The story focuses on a gambler/dancer names Lucky (Astaire) who bargains with his fiance's father that if he comes back with $25,000, he can marry this girl. So off to New York he goes where he by chance meets a beautiful dance instructor named Penny (Rogers). They begin to dance together, and obviously fall in love.
I would love to sit with a cinema critic to discuss this film. I'm sure there are aspects that I can't see. But the thing is, this movie is for an average person. You don't have to be a critic to appreciate its beauty.
First of all, its a bit of an escapist film. It was made in the 30s when the world was in the Depression, so depictions of glamour were very popular. And if nothing else, Fred and Ginger were glamour. Not to mention the design of this film is just gorgeous. The club set is spectacular in the beginning, and gets a make-over midway through. Then there is the scene in the country. Which is the best outdoor winter wonderland I think I have ever seen in a movie. It is too beautiful.
The songs are fantastic. Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields won an Oscar for best song with their gorgeous song which has become a standard known to almost everyone "The Way You Look Tonight" Also in this movie is "Pick Yourself Up" "Bojangles of Harlem" "A Fine Romance" and "Never Gonna Dance" Not bad.
Then there is the dancing. Need I say more than it is Astaire and Rogers? No, but I will anyways. It's so beautiful it looks effortless. This movie is at the height of their popularity and their skill. (well - they never really go down in skill, but you get the point) The dances are more than just that, they tell stories: getting to know you, falling in love, saying good-bye. Then there is the Bojangles number. An excellent combination of cinematic tricks and wonderful dancing. Some people criticize it because the dancing style is not Bojangles, but rather Astaire and Hermes Pan's homage to Mr. Robinson. I don't find fault with that at all - and besides, it is wonderful to watch.
This movie is wonderful! Aside from the Oscar for the song, it also is distinguished by being on AFI's Top 100. Can't think of a reason that everyone should not enjoy this film. So pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and Go See It!
4 out of 5 stars

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