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Barkleys of Broadway, the

Fred Astaire , Ginger Rogers , Charles Walters , Edward L. Cahn    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 66.37
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The MGM reunion of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, 10 years after their last RKO picture, happened by accident. The Barkleys of Broadway was meant to pair Astaire with Judy Garland as a follow-up to their 1948 hit Easter Parade. Garland, however, had to drop out due to health problems and was replaced by Ginger, who had gone on to a successful career in nonmusical drama and comedy. As it turned out, the plot probably suited Ginger better than it did Garland. Josh and Dinah Barkley are a veteran song-and-dance couple whose routine bickering turns into a complete breakup when Dinah decides she hasn't received enough credit for her talent and leaves Josh to take a straight dramatic role as Sarah Bernhardt. Fred and Ginger are as charming and comfortable together as a veteran couple should be, but this film is not a return to the RKO days--its elements are trademark MGM: splashy colors, Fred in a gimmicky solo number (playing sorcerer's apprentice to a line of unoccupied shoes), Oscar Levant providing his usual dynamic pianism and acerbic personality, and a score that is at its best when it borrows songs from a previous generation. In fact, Harry Warren, who provided the music for Ira Gershwin's lyrics, was upset that the film's big ballroom number recycled George and Ira Gershwin's "They Can't Take That Away from Me," which Fred and Ginger had introduced (but did not dance to) in 1937's Shall We Dance. Frankly, though, "They Can't Take That Away" not only works well thematically, but is one of the greatest songs ever written for the screen, while Warren's score is merely adequate and unmemorable. All in all, The Barkleys of Broadway is a warm, welcome, and not completely satisfying reunion. Watch it, then watch Swing Time again. --David Horiuchi

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars better than what people say June 25 2004
Format:VHS Tape
people say that this is the weakest of the A/R bunch but I strongly disagree. It may not be their strongest (Top Hat & Swing Time) but it's not their weakest. It may even be in the top five. I agree with the other reviewers that the first time you watch it you're like "Ok, that was just fine." the secind time you watch it you say "that was actually very good" and the third time "that was wonderful!" This is a better than average MGM movie, and quite sophisticated too. JUdy annd Fred were fine in "Easter Parade" but who could beat our beloved Ginger Rogers with Fred? The direction is wonderful, some of the best they'd had. The acting is excellent, it's funny witty and the dances I think are superb. The technicolor is also beautiful, and it's nice to see Gin's blue eyes and deep red lip rouge. Ginger is no longer a lithe little thing with a delicate baby face, but she's beautiful and very grown up looking. She is in a woman's body now, and after not doing a real musical for almost 10 years (!) she is in incredible form. Her dancing is really up to par with Astaire.
Some intersing technical notes, in the Barkley's house. They have one bed that they share. Nowadays that seems like nothing, but back then the censors were still hot on the idea that married people shouldn't share a bed in movies, because it suggested sex. (So where DO babies come from then.) (At one point Fred does think Ginger's pregnant, but by 1949 the censors still couldn't read between the lines.) Another interesting thing is that they have their own bathroom, divided by a shoulder height wall. It comes to principal use when Roger's is undressing and we (including astaire only) see her shoulders and up.(God forbid she take off her shirt in front of her husband!)
The dance number are really exceptional in this.
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5.0 out of 5 stars way of thinking May 26 2004
Format:VHS Tape
If you think of this as an ASTAIRE_ROGERS movie, then you will have some trouble. However, If you think of this as a movie WITH Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, then you will enjoy it. I thought it was very nice, especially when they did the "they can't take that away from me" and dance to it. Ginger doesn't look a day older than 30. (she's 38, and still adorable)We also have to remember, that this was after the depression, after the war, and ten years of different audiences since thier last picture. not to mentio MGM instead of RKO, so of course it will be different. The magic is still there, but in a different way. Don't look for it, but accept it as it is, and you'll find that Asaire-Rogers chemisrty never left.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Finale in Color March 12 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Fred and Ginger put a cap on their careers together once more.
Its silly to spend words on what is so pleasing to see...so
Comden and Green, Harry Warren and Ira Gershwin under the hat of the unique Arthur Freed. Wonders never cease
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great musical! Nov. 19 2001
Format:VHS Tape
I highly recommend this musical. Fred Astaire and
Ginger Rogers are great in it. After some years of working with other people they reunited to do this film. I'd give it more stars if I could. The songs are delightful, especially "They Can't Take That Away from Me"
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