Also featuring: Joe Niemeyer
Produced by: Pandro S. Berman
Written by: P.G. Wodehouse, Ernest Pagano, S.K. Lauren
Choreographed by: Fred Astaire & Hermes Pan
Cinematography: Joseph H. August
Words and Music by: George and Ira Gershwin
Production Company: RKO
Premiere: New York, November 24, 1937
Synopsis (from VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever 2001): Astaire falls for an upper-class British girl, whose family wants her to have nothing to do with him. Features memorable songs from the Gershwins. (3 out of 4)
This would have been a great movie but for one thing and we all know what that is. Argue as much as we all like, Joan Fontaine was not suited to being Fred's partner. Don't get me wrong- she's a fine actress, and looks the part of the fragile English rose. But then they have to go and ruin it by making her dance... if there is one moment that encapsulates it, it's her imitation of Fred when she jumps over the stream in "Things Are Looking Up." Ouch!
This movie could've been a contender. This movie could've been somebody. Of all of Fred's movies, it has the best score and the best sidekicks- who are enhanced even more by the presence of Reggie. His interactions with Gracie are a side-splittingly hilarious. It even has some great Italian music. But oh, why couldn't they have gotten a dancer? It was always all about the dancing. People didn't go to see "Swing Time" for a social commentary on the depression or for a gripping portrayal of a down-on-her-luck dancer by Ginger, they went to hear the music and watch the dancing. They could've gotten away with wooden acting from a good dancer, but the other way round is absolutely unforgivable.
Still, this movie must be seen for Fred's solos, as well as a romp through a funhouse that won Hermes Pan an Academy Award for Best Choreography. Also the music is incredible. If you just close your eyes during "Thing Are Looking Up", you'll have a great time.