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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$ 63.13
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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 Charming, Heartwarming...Together at long last! June 5 2000
By Paul
Format:VHS Tape
In this 1949 Ginger Rogers/Fred Astaire reunion, Rogers and Astaire play Dinah and Josh Barkley, a successful wife/husband Broadway act. But their constant bickering leads to a breakup, right in front of the cameras of look magazine! Dinah goes to star in a play about the young Sarah Bernhart and Josh continues his show with an understudy named Shirley- I mean, "It's Shirlene dear!" Eventually, they realize how they can't live without each other.
This movie starts with a song called Swing Trot, but it's hard to be seen behind the opening credits. Soon after, Dinah and Josh have their first fight...on stage! They argue about which one deserves the credit for the shows success in there curtain speeches. In the car to a party at Mrs. Belding's house (played by Billie Burke-Glinda the Witch of the North from the Wizard of Oz), the Barkleys have another fight, forgiven, of course, soon after. Then, when Ginger leaves Fred out on the terrace while she talks to a French playwright, Fred becomes mad at her, but at the house, apologizes in song!
Then, it's a few days later, and Ginger finds out she's getting an understudy-just incase the Barkleys get into a fight and Dinah decides not to go on one night. She doesn't seem to mind at first, but casually tosses a chair across the room when the understudy is gone!
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. This really annoys her!
Then its time for my favorite song in the movie, My One and Only Highland Fling. It's a tale of courting in the highlands of Scotland, and both Ginger and Fred have a ball with their Scottish accents, and Ginger has great facial expressions.
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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 Really good Fred and Ginger Sept. 7 2001
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This movie is the only color Fred and Ginger movie. It's really good, nice dancing, fun to see them older and in color. The dance "I've Got Shoes With Wings On" is really fun and amazing. Fred sure could dance. This isn't their best movie, it's my 5th favorite Fred and Ginger. I think "Follow the Fleet" is far more romantic, but if you're a Ginger and Fred fan, this is a must see. They made this movie after years of not working together. They were so good together, it's pretty funny, too.
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