The Barkleys of Broadway [Import]
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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
It's weird the things that get stuck in your memory. I never thought of this as an inferior film just because the formula separates itself from the RKO depression-era 30's (the... Read morePublished on Nov. 19 2002 by Chris Aldridge
Fred and Ginger put a cap on their careers together once more.
Its silly to spend words on what is so pleasing to see... Read more
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