Helen Broderick

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Top Hat Review


Excellent
Perhaps the definitive Fred & Ginger movie, Top Hat is a story of love and longing and... of course, dancin' galore! Some of the famed couple's greatest moments are on display here: "Dancing Cheek to Cheek" as a couple, and most memorably, Astaire's "Top Hat & Tails" number wherein he uses his cane to "gun down" a lineup of dancers, one by one, his tap shoes serving as the crack of the weapon.

The plot is thin, as is common in 1930s musicals: Astaire is a dancer that's just busting at the seams with his art. He shows off some moves one night in his apartment (and what moves they are, making excellent use of the props in the room), only this annoys the hell out of the woman (Rogers) living downstairs. It's one of the few times that a musical actually makes reference to the fact that it's not normal to break into song and dance whenever the mood strikes you, though of course, eventually, Rogers gets in on the act herself.

Continue reading: Top Hat Review

Swing Time Review


Very Good
Fred Astaire's "Lucky" really is anything but. In the opening scene he's tricked into missing his wedding due to an argument over the cuffs on his pants -- all part of a bet... you see, Lucky's got a bit of a gambling problem, and this doesn't really get any better over the course of the movie.

Maybe it's for the best, though. Missing the wedding winds him up with Penny (Ginger Rogers), who we're sure is going to be a better match for Lucky, because, you know, she can dance. (Here, in a bit of comic kitsch, she's a dance instructor and he's never danced before... though he proves to be an exceedingly fast learner.)

Continue reading: Swing Time Review

Helen Broderick

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