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Shall We Dance

Fred Astaire , Ginger Rogers , Friz Freleng , Mark Sandrich    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 24.95
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Shall We Dance + Swing Time
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The chemistry between Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers was still going strong in their seventh spin around the dance floor, Shall We Dance? And this time--amidst the usual improbable plot confusions and on-again, off-again flirting between the two--they were backed up by a song score provided by the matchless George and Ira Gershwin. Among the highlights are "They All Laughed," "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off," and the Oscar-nominated "They Can't Take That Away from Me." Director Mark Sandrich, the most frequent helmer of the Astaire-Rogers pictures (including Top Hat), creates a gleaming showcase for his stars. He also brings back two devilish character actors, Edward Everett Horton and Eric Blore, to repeat their support from previous outings. Ginger is kicky and fun; she was one of the few partners who didn't look intimidated onscreen by Astaire's incomparable dancing skills. Fred is in great form himself--so good you almost believe it when he pretends to be a Russian. --Robert Horton

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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The epitome of 'glorious black and white' July 7 2001
By traseru
Format:VHS Tape
What I want to know is... why couldn't they have been born now? They're funny, it's all in good taste, they dance and sing. What more can you ask for in a musical? I am a teenager and this is one of my favorite movies; tell that to Leonardo along with the fact that Titanic was an awful film. Fred and Ginger dance wonderfully, my favorite scene is when the butler is locked in jail and he has a spelling bee over the phone. I want to watch it all the time, and don't forget... it's in glorious black and white!
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5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite of All the Fred and Ginger's July 7 2003
Format:VHS Tape
"Shall We Dance" is perhaps the finest example of the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers partnership. Set to the music of the Gershwin brothers, Ginger is a musical comedy star and Fred is a famous "Russian Ballet Dancer" from Penn. He sees her and falls in love, she doesn't like him, everyone thinks they are married, then they really are - and it keeps getting better.
The dance scenes are elaborate - imagine roller skates and 30 dancers with Ginger's face - and extremely well done. The supporting cast also help to make the movie. Even though the movie is good, it would be nothing without the help of Eric Blore and Edward Everett Horton (did I get that right?).
The plot is contemporary, the scenes are funny and everything is totally relatable - not counting the fact that everyone spontaneously bursts into song and dance at least once every 7 minutes.
If you have never seen a Fred and Ginger movie, this is the one you should see either first or last. Get your feet wet with the best or save it for last. Definately don't miss it.
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Format:VHS Tape
Fred Astaire, especially when paired with Ginger Rogers, is probably my favorite movie performer. I once kept a list of how many times I had seen each of his films, and had seen his 30-plus musicals over 130 times when I lost it. Despite my love for Astaire's films, this is far from my favorite Fred and Ginger film. It is by no means a bad movie, but it definitely falls short of such classics as TOP HAT or THE GAY DIVORCEE or SWING TIME.
SHALL WE DANCE is a somewhat frustrating film, because so many of the elements for a great film are there, but so many opportunities are missed. The movie has a great score, and several great classics of popular song were introduced in it, but this in part points out the problems in the film. The two finest songs are "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" and the extraordinary "They Can't Take That Away from Me," but neither is well utilized. Instead of dancing to the former, Fred and Ginger do a novelty dance with roller skates, upon which they are stiff and which produce an irritatingly loud rasping sound. The latter song is one of the two or three greatest songs in any of their films, but an unspeakable outrage occurs: they do not dance to it. What could have provided the occasion for a great dance along the lines of "Never Gonna Dance" from SWING TIME or "Let's Face the Music and Dance." Instead, Fred sings this heartbreakingly beautiful song, and the music unexpectedly ends with no dance. When Fred and Ginger reunited in THE BARKLEYS OF BROADWAY, they try to correct this wrong by dancing to it, but this hardly corrects the error in the earlier film.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A vision of loveliness. Oct. 25 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Critics and fans frequently cite this one as a falling-off of the A-R series. I once thought that too, but I bought the video and gave it a significant second look. Plotwise, it's an improvement on that mistaken identity nonsense that usually permeates these films (though you could make an argument that this plot- which has the central characters presumed married, then actually married so they can get divorced- isn't much better). But the nonsensical fun is still there- from Astaire's tap-happy ballet dancer (whose exaggerated Russian accent is hysterical), to the Gershwin score of songs, to the tasty dance numbers: "Slap That Bass" (part tap exhibition and part engine room jam session); "They All Laughed" (the duo's incredibly late first duet); "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" (eether/eyether- need we say more?); to the glorious "They Can't Take That Away From Me;" the film's only misfire (but it was a big one) being that this beautiful ballad by Astaire was not danced by him and Rogers. (Reprising it later with ballet contortionist Harriet Hoctor might've been consistent with the plot, but watching her back-kick herself in the head is one of the unintentionally funniest things I've ever seen in any film.) The Gershwin score- more than anything else- takes this one up a few notches.
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3.0 out of 5 stars "Dance Whenever You Can" July 3 2002
Format:VHS Tape
There's a special place in my heart for the films of Astaire & Rogers, and I think most people feel that way too about them. There was an innocence to their films. There was charm, wit, wonderful music (from the likes of Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, or, as in this movie George & Ira, and don't you dare ask George & Ira WHO?!)and there were great dance numbers. There was all of this and more. The chemistry between these two was unbelieveable. They played off each other so well. And their films clearly show this, watch any of them to find out.
"Shall We Dance" was directed by Mark Sandrich, the team's most trusted director, he directed 5 films with them ("Top Hat", "Carefree", & "Follow the Fleet" to name a few). And this film is just as good as any other film with Fred & Ginger. The plot in this one could border line on screwball comedy, and I suppose that's what makes it all the more enjoyable, we don't see movies like this anymore. "Shall We Dance" is about a great American dancer, Pete Peters (Fred Astaire) who happens to fall under the charms of Linda Keene (Ginger Rogers) when Peters finds out that Keene is going abroad, he gets a wonderful idea, perhaps he should go abroad too! But wait, more is added to this, Peters, pretends to be a famous Russian ballet dancer, the Great Petrov. Which of course means nothing to Linda. Then the usual "mistaking idenity" bit is played, but, it works.
As I stated before, all the Astaire & Rogers films offer great music, and the score by George & Ira could be one of the best score's Fred & Ginger ever sang and danced too.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fred & Ginger Meets the Gershwin Brothers
Great Music and Great Dancing! The storyline is funny and entertaining, one of the finest Astaire/Rogers Films. Read more
Published on March 12 2004 by CEF
4.0 out of 5 stars Featuring Songs By George and Ira Gershwin
The emphasis in SHALL WE DANCE? is even more than usual on the dancing of Fred Astair and GINGER Rogers. Read more
Published on Aug. 5 2003 by Peter Kenney
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Astaire & Rogers films
I think this is one of my favorite movies of all time. Fred Astaire as the famous ballet dancer, Petrov, is hilarious, especially when he meets Linda Keene (Rogers) for the first... Read more
Published on April 23 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Quantum Astaire / Rogers !!
It might not come to you as soon as one would think. I can say that I envy any person who will watch this film for the first time. Read more
Published on Dec 27 2001 by charles pope
5.0 out of 5 stars the best of the best
This is one of the finest of the Fred & Ginger ouvre, and a good start to your collection. It features the best on-screen foxtrot ever, a farewell dance when Fred loses Ginger... Read more
Published on Oct. 22 2001 by Graham Charles
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting.
Its like watching ghosts. This film was made a long long time ago, and that in itself is reason to see this film.
Published on Oct. 24 2000 by Jess
4.0 out of 5 stars Top-Notch Astaire & Rogers Musical!
While not in the same league as 'Swing Time' or 'Top Hat', which are the duo's best musicals. This one still holds surprisingly well and is among their best. Read more
Published on Aug. 2 2000 by Bertin Ramirez
5.0 out of 5 stars my FAVORITE Astaire-Rogers musical
I've seen all ten of Ginger and Fred's movies a hundred times each, and this one is still my favorite. The music is wonderful! The plot is a light and breezy romance comedy. Read more
Published on May 22 2000
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