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Follow the Fleet/Roberta - Fred & Ginger

Posted: July 20th, 2007, 12:57 pm
by mrsl
I peeked in over at TCM and for once they have a halfway decent confab going on about this subject.

The OP said some say these are two of Fred & Gingers weakest films, but I heartily disagree. One poster thought it was because they were old friends in both and didn't have to go through the usual hate and snub stuff they did in later movies, and I agree with that.

I thought the dancing in both the slow tunes, and the livelier ones were much more entertaining, mainly because of the story, they were having fun while dancing, they were laughing and smiling, whereas in other movies, Fred is aggravating Ginger and she's basically dancing under duress.

As to what Bob O said about Harriet (liked her BTW) and Randy being the stars, I don't think so. Fred and Gingy were onscreen much more than the other two, so I think it was very fitting that they got the lead names. It was kind of hard though, to realize this lady was Ricky Nelson's Mom!

Any comments from y'all?


Posted: July 20th, 2007, 1:33 pm
by feaito
Since I bought the whole collection of Astaire-Rogers films on DVD, I have been able to, at last, watch all of them, save "The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle", which I have yet to see.

"Roberta's" score is one of my favorites (I am a Jerome Kern admirer) and I had wanted to see this film since decades ago (I also enjoyed the remake "Lovely to Look At" which I wish was available on DVD-especially to enjoy Ann Miller's fantastic renidition of "I'll Be Hard to Handle").

So I liked the plot, the songs, the dancing, Irene Dunne in the title role, Randy Scott as her leading man; Ginger Rogers is great in her comedic role and so is Fred. Helen Westley is always a joy to behold, this time as elderly Aunt Roberta.

As for "Follow the Fleet", it also has a very good score by masterful Irving Berlin and the dancing is very good too. And as far as I recall Ms. Hilliard's fine and so's Randy Scott. I have trouble remembering details as some other buffs do...might be some "memory" problem :wink:

I don't remember watching any Astaire-Rogers film which I haven't enjoyed. My favorite film of them might be "Swing Time" (another great Jerome Kern score) but then "Top Hat" is excellent too.

Posted: February 23rd, 2008, 7:09 am

Roberta and Carefree are two Astaire/Rogers films i'm not to familiar with though i've seen the famous Astaire golf scene in the second film i've mentioned and To Hot To Handle in the first.

one of the things i like about Follow The Fleet (an underated gem IMO) and from what i've seen of Roberta is that it takes Fred and Ginger out of upper class socitey and puts them in working class situations, like Fred in the Navy and Ginger singing in a not to great night club. i also think while Ginger looked terrific in her evening dresses, it was great to see her dance in pants, day time dresses or in shorts. in To Hot To Handle i thought Ginger wearing pants actually showed what a great dancer she was. you could see what her legs were doing in what looked a difficult dance routine, whereas in her normal gowns her legs are covered and you can't see what her legs are doing.

i must have a thing for Ginger in pants because i think another of their great routines is I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket, where they delibretly mess up. i though Gingers imitation of a boxer looked first rate, even reminding me of Mahammad Ali, who didn't come on the scene till nearly 30-yrs after the film was made. she certainly floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee in that routine. i'm also thinking of from Swingtime where Ginger wore a daytime dress for Pick Yourself Up. that too showed not just her shapely legs, but also what a great dancer she was.

i think too it was good to take Fred out of his hat and tails and put him in
day time clothes.

i also think The Vernon And Irene Castle Story is one of the all time great Drama/Musicals, even though it died on release

Astaire / Rogers

Posted: February 23rd, 2008, 2:28 pm
by melwalton
I thought all A / R movies pretty much alike, Good music, great dancing some laughs. with a few differences.
"Flying Down to Rio' Good songs. Etta Moten did a nice job with 'the Carioca'.
'Gay Divorcee' 'the Continental' was a movie in itself. I liked Eric Rhodes and Alice Brady, they should have been a comedy team.
'Roberta' best singing ( Irene Dunne ).
'Top Hat' Best songs. 'Cheek to Cheek' best song of the 'Swing' era ( there's an opinion ).
'Follow the Fleet' Good score but no where near Berlin's best. Hilliard was a good singer much better than her son.
'Swing Time' I thought Astaire's 'Bojangles' number as good as anything he ever did, as good as anything anyone ever did,.
'Carefree' below par for A and R also for Berlin.
Good topic, boy, did I unwind. .... mel
p. s. be nice to see some other opinions.

Posted: February 23rd, 2008, 2:38 pm
by charliechaplinfan
I agree wholeheartedly with Feaito. I've bought them all and love all of them. Before buying them I hadn't seen Follow The Fleet and Roberta, they are underrated gems. My favorite is Swing Time. For me Carefree and The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle are the weakest but I know of firm advocates for both of these films.

Posted: February 25th, 2008, 2:21 pm
by Ayres

"i must have a thing for Ginger in pants because i think another of their great routines is I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket, where they delibretly mess up."

One thing that has always absolutely amazed me about that number is the tumble Ginge takes on her derriere when he lets her fall out of his grasp on a turn. She hits the floor hard! And without as much padding as some folks have in that part of their bods!

Of course there's something I like about every A&R film, but Roberta is a real favorite. Their numbers in it are wonderful, and they have a fun rapport that turns beautifully serious during "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." In fact, the lighthearted scene immediately after it, in which she encourages him to propose and they shake hands on it, always struck me as not quite believable after the way they look at each other during that dance.

Posted: March 10th, 2008, 6:10 pm
by Synnove
I am a very big fan of Fred and Ginger. When I'm feeling low for no reason, their films never fail to cheer me up. They are the perfect escapism - two great leads who always work magic together, lots of charm and humour and great songs. Of course, some of the films are better than others. My favourites are Top Hat, The Gay Divorcee, Swing Time and Roberta.

I think one of the reasons why Roberta has been overlooked before is because of the remake Lovely to Look At, isn't that right? They didn't revive the older film because of the newer one.

To me it is one of their best films, they have a great chemistry together even though they're not exactly the main couple. Their dance routines are just wonderful, particularly the tap dance conversation, and the joyful finale. Ginger is very funny, especially in I'll be Hard to Handle. I also noticed that she and Fred don't seem to argue so much in this one? I find the fashion bits interesting, these 30's gowns could look very outlandish, but also elegant.

I like Follow the Fleet, but it's hardly my favourite. I didn't enjoy the story about Randolph Scott and Harriet so much. It has been a while since I saw it of course, but I mostly remember that he behaved like a jerk to her and she just accepted it. They both ended up annoying me. I will have to watch it again though. Let's Face the Music and Dance is a lovely song and a beautiful number.

Posted: March 11th, 2008, 7:54 am
by charliechaplinfan
I love The Gay Divorcee too.

Is it just me who gets confused about which dance/song was in which film? I'm alright with the better known ones. Maybe it's age :)

Apart from the dances Ginger was always so well dressed. I could watch them just to look at her clothes.

Posted: March 11th, 2008, 12:09 pm
by Ayres
charliechaplinfan wrote:I love The Gay Divorcee too.

Is it just me who gets confused about which dance/song was in which film? I'm alright with the better known ones. Maybe it's age :)

I think it's the same as with anything--the better you know them, the less likely you are to confuse the films. I might have a bit of trouble naming what Charlie Chaplin bit came out of which movie, for example--although I'm learning.

My boss keeps telling people that I'm an expert on Gene Kelly--he invariably confuses Gene with Fred, as he's never even seen anything they were in (well, maybe Singin' in the Rain... ).

Posted: March 11th, 2008, 2:53 pm
by charliechaplinfan
I'm just about there on the Chaplin. I'll get there on the Fred and Ginger movies, eventually.

My small daughter can tell Gene Kelly from Fred Astaire :D

Posted: March 11th, 2008, 3:14 pm
by Ayres
charliechaplinfan wrote:I'm just about there on the Chaplin. I'll get there on the Fred and Ginger movies, eventually.

My small daughter can tell Gene Kelly from Fred Astaire :D

Please give her a big hug for me!

My favorite is when someone asks me, "What was that movie where Fred Astaire is wearing tails and dancing with a lady in a white dress?" Yes, that really narrows it down!


Posted: March 11th, 2008, 5:47 pm
by melwalton
I'm doing this from memory, you could probably get lists from books.
'Flying Down to Rio' : Orchids in the Moonlight .... the Carioca ...Music Makes Me ....Title song. Youmans wrote the music. I don't know who wrote the lyrics.
the Gay Divorcee : the Continental ....Night and Day ( Porter, used first in the Broadway production ...Let's Knock Knees ...Looking for a Needle in a haystack ... Don't let it Bother You
Roberta: ( Kern / Fields ) Yesterdays .... Lovely to Look at ....I Won't Dance .... Smoke Gets in Your Eyes...Not all of these were new, I don't know which ones.
Top Hat ( Berlin ) Cheek to Cheek ... Isn't This a Lovely Day ...No Strings ...the Piccolino ... Top, Hat, White Tie, Tails. All five songs were in the Lucky Strike Hit Patrade.
Follow the Fleet : ( Berlin ) I'm Putting all My Eggs in One Basket ....Let Yourself Go ....Let's Face the Music and Dance ....We Saw the Sea...Get thee behind me, Satan...I'd Rather lead a band ... Here Am I but where are You
Swingtime ( Kern / Fields ) A Fine Romance ... Bojangles of Harlem ...the Way You Look tonight ....Pick Yourself Up ....the Waltz in Swingtime
Shall We Dance : ( the Gershwins ) They Can't Take That Away From Me ...They All Laughed ... Let's Call the Whole Thing Off .... I've got Beginner's Luck
Carefree : ( Berlin ) Change Partners ... I ued to be Color Blind
I don't recall the ones in the Castles except they used some very old songs,
Doing this has shown me My memory isn't as good as it once was . ... mel

Posted: March 12th, 2008, 10:04 am
by charliechaplinfan
Mel that's really good. Some of the films I've seen more than once like Swing Time, Shall We Dance and Top Hat

I saw this book on Amazon. I might get it for my birthday.

Posted: March 15th, 2008, 2:11 pm
by charliechaplinfan
All this talk about Fred and Ginger made me want to watch them again. I watched Follow The Fleet because I've only seen it once before. My copy has an introduction by Ava Astaire, Fred's daughter. Follow The Fleet has more songs in it than any other Fred and Ginger movie. They are some of my favorites. I love Fred and Gingers dancing to 'I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket' and 'Let Yourself Go'. All topped off with 'Lets Face The Music And Dance'.

Of course now I'm going to have to watch the whole collection. :D

Follow the Fleet

Posted: March 15th, 2008, 10:49 pm
by EleanorPowellFan
I think Follow the Fleet is a great film of the two, when the both of them perform "I'm Putting all my eggs in one Basket" it's really emotional and beautifully iconic.