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. 0We see Swing Trot through the credits, but we catch the end alone, and it's really swell, then, Astaire croons to Rogers back at their house after bickering (again) while they're in bathrobes. (almost like the famed scene in Swing Time when he sings "the way you look tonight" and she come sout with shampoo in he hair) this time he sings, "you'd be so hard to replace" as if to remind the audience that for ten years, his partners haven't been up to the par as Ginger was. then there's 'Bouncin' the blues' i think one of their best taps together. it's a rehaersal number, and it's just adorable, sweet, and loads of fun to watch. It's that old Astaire/Rogers magic. It's almost like a grown up version of "I'll be hard to handle" Ginger and her liquid hips make a stripper's exit at the end of the number, with Fred leaning on her exended arm. Later that day, Josh and Dinah go to an art museum, where they are to see the unveiling of a new portrait of them. It shows Dinah as a pancake, and Josh, as the plate that molds her, (which is the common conception people had of A/R throughout their careers.) Ginger retorts at the sculpture in deadpan style. "Why is my face a pancake?" It's quite a funny scene. "my one and only highland fling" renews teh comical stuff they could do together. Ginger had a knack for putting on accents and mocking people. which is seen throughout her 73 movie career. 'MOAOHF' is a delightful number, and the ending is sweet. "A day in the country" is sund to Oscar Levant, as they take a trip to the country for a while, while he wants to go back to NY" Ginger's voice is extremely good in this song, it seems to have develpoed a bit. "Shoes with wings on" is Fred's customary big solo and it's very good. what else can you say about the man who defied dancing? It's really quite good. But we can''t waut for his reunion with Gin. (They'd split at this pouint) Possibly the best number in the fil, "They can't take that away from me" a reprise from their 1937 movie "shall we dance?" it's one of my favorite songs period, and he sings it beautifully to her on stage. If you watch Her face expressions, you'll realize how much this number really means. The dance is gorgeous too. After the song is over, Ginger starts to cry, which she has always done with such emotion. Manhatten downbeat is their last dance together and it's a big splashy finish, with beautiful costumes. The very end show a close up of the greatest dancing team's faces.
20 years after Barkley's, they reunites at the academy awards, where they presented an oscar. They did a swirl and dip for old times, and the applause was so overwhlmind, the forgot to stop holding hands. :-)