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Follow the Fleet

Fred Astaire , Ginger Rogers , Friz Freleng , Joseph Henabery    Unrated   DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 28.89
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Of the nine films Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers completed for RKO Pictures, Follow the Fleet falls short of the top echelon. Coming between series peaks Top Hat and Swing Time, Fleet repeats the mistake (à la Flying Down to Rio and Roberta) of casting Fred and Ginger as the comic couple, while the romantic roles went to Randolph Scott and Harriet Hilliard (before she went on to fame with her husband, Ozzie Nelson, in Ozzie and Harriet). Fred puts down his top hat to become sailor Bake Baker (yet another of his alliterative screen names), while Ginger plays old flame Sherry Martin. The two are reunited when Fred takes shore leave in San Francisco, and soon their efforts turn to helping Ginger's sister Connie (Hilliard) land Fred's shipmate Bilge (Scott). (Look for Lucille Ball and Betty Grable in small roles.) Too much screen time is spent on Hilliard and Scott, but Fred and Ginger make up for it with plenty of laughs and some classic musical numbers, and Irving Berlin's score is one of the best of the series, with cunning lyrics and melodies that linger in the memory. Highlights include Fred and Ginger in a dance contest, a Ginger solo tap number, and "I'm Putting All My Eggs in One Basket," their best comic dance. The pièce de résistance is "Let's Face the Music and Dance," a show within a show in which Fred and Ginger don their customary evening formals. Effortlessly flowing from pantomime to song to dance, this sublime piece of storytelling is one of Fred and Ginger's defining moments. --David Horiuchi

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Scott and Hilliard take up too much Screen time. July 10 2004
Format:VHS Tape
"Follow the Fleet", the fifth movie in the Fred and Ginger RKO series, will always remain an enjoyable movie, worthy of atleast 4 stars, but it does have a few bad points to it, which would obviously be better off without. Another one Directed by Mark Sandrich. Released in 1936.
The basic plot of the story is, Bake (Fred Astaire) and Bilge (Randolph Scott) are two sailors, who's fleet has just stopped off in San Francisco. Bake goes to see his old dancing partner, Sherry (Ginger Rogers), and tries to get into working again, but he, throughout the film, keeps on ruining his chances, and making her lose jobs -- by accident. Bilge finds himself meeting up with Sherry's sister, Connie (Harriet Hilliard), which brings about an annoying, and unwanted romance story between the two of them, which isn't working out too well, since Connie is more keen on ideas of marriage, whereas Bilge can't keep away from other women.
So as for the real reason for watching a Fred and Ginger movie, the songs and dances. A highlighted title would be "Let's Face the Music and Dance". It's brilliantly shot, and it's among one of the best (although not THE best) dances Fred and Ginger ever did. It's certainly the main reason to watch this movie. There's also an amusing "practice" dance to "I'm Putting All my Eggs in One Basket", where the two find themselves unprepared, and completely lose what they're doing, but its all the more a fun scene. Unfortunately, you have to put up with Harriet Hilliard singing the terribly annoying "Get Thee Behind Me Satan". There are a number of others, that are worthy to note aswell, such as Ginger singing "Let Yourself Go". Overall the musical scenes are the things that keep the movie going.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The one-take wonder of "Let's Face The Music." Oct. 31 2002
Format:VHS Tape
This film is nice because there are *two* love stories (something of a plot departure), and the second couple (Randy Scott and Harriet Hilliard Nelson) are given the bulk of the dramatics, which allow our stars to be looser, more comical. Astaire chews the gum a little too severely, but he was anxious to make a departure from his customary tuxedoed playboy. Rogers is much more at ease in the role of struggling dancer-singer, and plays well opposite sister Hilliard. (The history is that Ms. Hilliard had to darken her naturally blond hair to distinguish her from Ms. Rogers. But wouldn't they better resemble sisters if they were both blondes?) The Irving Berlin numbers are quite good, ranging from light ("Let Yourself Go," "I'd Rather Lead A Band") to torchy ("But Where Are You?") to elegant. In terms of elegance, "Let's Face The Music And Dance" is the film's bewitching finale (performed on a marvelous, Art-Deco style rooftop) and illustrates Astaire's penchant for full-frame, single-take dancing; it is one of the duo's most glamorous duets ever performed on film. A bit of trivia: The gorgeous gown worn by Ginger Rogers in this scene was made of metallic thread and had weights in the sleeves and hem to make the skirt wind and unwind. Not unlike the feathered dress from TOP HAT, this dress was difficult to perform in because, from take one, its sleeves kept hitting Astaire across the face- and after many reshoots to cover up the hits, they had no choice but to go back to the first take (apparently the best perfomance of the dance, but you can still see the sleeves brush across Astaire's face). It loses one point from me, based on Randy Scott's robotic acting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If only there had been more Fred! Aug. 11 2001
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
"Follow The Fleet" is not a Fred and Ginger movie like "Top Hat" or "Swing Time". Fred and Ginger are the supporting couple in this film and after the success of their films together where they were the starring couple, their supporting role in this film was beefed up. Fred and Randolph Scott (good friends in real life) play two sailors. This casting gives Fred a chance to escape the usual white tie and tails, but don't worry he does eventually wear them! Fred plays a former dancer, his partner being Ginger. Randolph Scott is his good friend, a ladies man with no plans on being serious about any one lady. Together, they go on shore leave where Fred meets Ginger and Randolph meets Harriet (later to be the Harriet in "Ozzie and Harriet"). The main story involves Randolph and Harriet's romance, complicated by the usual 'other woman', Randy not wanting to commit, etc. Its the standard stuff. Its only when the movie shifts to the second couple that it gets cookin'. Fred and Ginger dance like we've come to expect them to, perfectly. They both get individual chances to shine apart from their dancing, Ginger sings and Fred plays the piano. Some of their dances are fun and some very romantic. They also liven up the 'straight' scenes by making wisecracks, livening up the dull story of Randolph and Harriet. This is a must for Fred and Ginger fans. If you are thinking of getting your first Fred and Ginger ones, I'd recommend "Top Hat" or "Swing Time" since those two best showcase their combined talents. However, if you've seen those, "Follow the Fleet" is a must see. Also, I must mention that I am a big Fred and Ginger fan, hence this review. If you are a Randolph Scott or Harriet Hilliard fan, no doubt you will love this film.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Relax, Let Yourself Go
Ginger Rogers singing that song, and with the closeups shows her beauty. This is a fun movie with misunderstandings and mixups. It is entertaining! Read more
Published on March 12 2004 by CEF
5.0 out of 5 stars More Great Singing and Dancing by Fred and Ginger
In FOLLOW THE FLEET two sailors (Fred Astair and Randolph Scott) go ashore on liberty after completing a long cruise. Astair looks up his old dance partner (Ginger Rogers). Read more
Published on Aug. 5 2003 by Peter Kenney
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Astaire & Rogers Movies Iv'e Ever Seen!!!!!
I am a big fan of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and thought that "Follow the Fleet" is one of their best films. I especially like the comical plot. Read more
Published on April 23 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars And He Can Play the Piano, Too!
Fred Astaire is known, of course, as a dancer, but he was sadly underestimated for his skills as a singer and a musician. Read more
Published on Oct. 6 2000 by Ignacio Blade
4.0 out of 5 stars Let Yourself Go
Some of the best Rogers/Astaire dances, and some great music. But you'll be glad you have a fast-forward button, because this is the Fred & Ginger movie with the worst script;... Read more
Published on April 12 2000 by "laddie5"
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT FUN
The deliciousness of this film is all solidly on the legs of Astaire and Rogers and the subplot could have been lost with no detriment. Read more
Published on Jan. 18 2000 by "scotsladdie"
4.0 out of 5 stars You Will Want to Dance and Sing Along!
A sailor, Bake Baker (Fred Astaire) looks up his former dance partner, Sherry Martin (Ginger Rogers) while on leave. Read more
Published on Jan. 9 2000 by Nancy K. Grimes
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favourite Musical
Follow the Fleet is my favourite Ginger and Fred movie. The plot maybe thin, but the music and dancing is second to none. Read more
Published on Nov. 28 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming
I've loved Ginger and Fred ever since I was five. I could not say which of their movies is the best: I like them all. Read more
Published on Nov. 22 1999 by Gemma
4.0 out of 5 stars Wretched story, but utterly awesome dancing
Of all the Astaire/Rogers films, this one features one of the very worst stories. On the other hand, it features some of their greatest dancing. Read more
Published on Nov. 11 1999 by Robert Moore
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